How to become a Master Content Writer in 2020
Good content is always appreciated, but great content is irreplaceable. Writing content, and writing in general, is a very exciting and rewarding profession. However, it also requires a lot of effort and willingness to learn from the content specialist. Writing is not as easy as it seems, especially when you have to consider factors such as target audience, readability and other technical details.
Nevertheless, becoming a content expert is a great way to improve your writing, research and marketing skills, while also gaining essential connections and exposure. Writing content is both profitable and enjoyable, as long as you love what you do and do it right. This is why writers should always be willing to learn new content marketing tips to improve their writing and move up the content marketing ladder, and – as a result – improve a company’s content marketing strategy.
Below we list all the necessary tips, tricks and factors that you should consider if you want to become an expert in your field. Ready to become a master content writer?
As with any journey to success, you need to master the basics before climbing further up the ladder. If you are a professional content writer, we assume that you already use all these tips regularly. However, let the advice below serve as a short reminder.
Enjoy the process
First and foremost, you must have a penchant for writing. We’re not saying it should necessarily be a strong passion, but at least you should enjoy the writing process enough to look forward to writing new articles. Likewise, it is best to write about topics that really interest you, as you will certainly be more passionate about researching and reporting on a topic that arouses your curiosity. We understand that sometimes your interests and the requirements of your company / customers do not coincide.
While it may seem tedious to write about a topic you’re not really interested in at first, curiosity and a willingness to learn often appear during the research process. Take everything with a grain of salt and see if you can work with what you currently have – after all, you never know what useful information you can learn along the way.
Think of cool ideas
Being able to come up with good ideas is a key requirement of the content writing profession. Not every idea needs to be groundbreaking, but you should always strive to write messages that are both informative and interesting to read. If you’re stuck, or as if you’re about to be hit by the writer’s block, look for trends in your field. No doubt there will be a trend that is both relevant to your content and interesting to write about, even if it takes a little longer to discover. In this day and age, when we are inundated with information at our fingertips, it is almost impossible to have a writer’s block for a long time.
Look at language and grammar
When it comes to writing, the best content is often produced in the mother tongue or a language in which they speak fluently. Excellent knowledge of the language you are writing in improves vocabulary, improves flow and ensures that spelling and grammar are likely to be at a higher level. But even fluency doesn’t protect you from typos or a strange grammar mistake. Make sure you edit your work thoroughly; read carefully and watch for anything that doesn’t sound right. Sites like Grammarly can also be of great help in that sense, so don’t hesitate to use such resources.
Focus on Headlines and Hooks
One of the most important aspects of engaging messages is a striking headline. It should explain the essence of the article while leaving behind a degree of uncertainty for readers to want to know more.
Likewise, an effective hook is no less important than a striking head. You have about 5 seconds to engage a reader before they jump off your page to look for answers elsewhere. The first few sentences should draw the reader in, while also leaving something to the imagination (ie questions you’ll answer later). In addition, the reader should get the general impression that you will answer their question in the article – an extravagant hook may sound cool to you, but to the reader, it just seems useless information.
Produce high-quality content
“What’s even high-quality content?” you may ask. Well, it consists of a combination of aspects, but the main ones are summarized below:
- Good language and grammar
- Logical structure and breakdown of ideas
- Appropriate use of subheadings
- Appropriate ratio of text to media (ie don’t overweight your messages for text or images)
- Make sure to answer the reader’s question
- Write in a way that makes your words flow and is easy to read
- Don’t exaggerate with the fancy jargon and buzzwords
- Put your heart into everything you write – give it 101%
The above points are the foundation when it comes to being a good content writer, but since you’ve clicked on this article, you’re probably aiming for more than just “good.” Let’s discuss that, shall we?
To master the art of content writing
To go from “good” to “great”, you need to go a step further and work smart during all stages of the writing process. You might wonder why we said ‘work smart’ instead of ‘hard’, but that’s exactly the point. All the hard work usually goes into the basics when you are just starting out. In order to achieve a level of mastery when it comes to writing content, the following points should gradually change in habits.
The first step is quite simple; if you want to write well, you must first read well. And no, this does not mean literary classics or major novels every week. If you are not a fan of books, search for blogs that interest you and go from there. Spend a small percentage of your daily time reading blog posts that really grab your attention and allow you to learn something new. That way, you essentially kill two birds with one stone, both expanding your vocabulary and stimulating your mind at the same time.
Become a research god
Research doesn’t just do a short Google search, click the top link and collect all your information there. After choosing a topic, it is absolutely crucial to spend a lot of time researching all aspects of it. Change your search several times and dive deep into the topic when it comes to research.
Can’t find anything on Google? Try YouTube. If it’s a tutorial, get in touch with people who have more information in the field than you do. For example, if you are writing an article about web design, it is best to first ask the web designer at the office to get a general idea of what needs to be discussed.
Let’s break the fourth wall for a moment. I’m a professional content writer myself and would like to share a few research hacks when it comes to organizing the material you’ve collected:
Browse the search results and choose the information relevant to your topic. Open a separate Google / Word document and paste the key points from the articles there. Then read through the research you collected and decide on the structure of your message. Once you do that, organize your material with the appropriate headings (H2, H3, H4 etc.) and you are good to go.
It’s important to note that you should only use reliable sources, especially if you rely on statistics, as spreading misinformation can damage your reputation as a writer. To avoid plagiarism, you should paraphrase expertly and always quote the source when using specific ideas or direct quotes; internet etiquette is very important if you want people to respect your profession.
Often as content writers, we are spontaneous and start writing right away. However, that’s not always the optimal action plan, especially if the post is long. This is why you should always make an overview. For me, the best sketching process is the one I mentioned above: create a file with all your research material under subheadings and go from there.
However, others may find it more effective to create a plan prior to the research process and build on that schedule later. Either way, it is best to make a sketch before writing your piece; it helps keep you on track and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed when writing long-read pieces.
Write first, edit later
As tempting as it is to completely proofread and edit every new paragraph you write, it can actually harm your writing process and disrupt the flow. While writing the first draft of your piece, it’s best to let the words and ideas flow. Not only will you produce content faster, but you won’t be as distracted and focused on perfection as content. Give yourself plenty of time to edit after the first draft is done, but don’t try to perfect your text before you even finish it.
Don’t be annoying (no, really)
This may seem like a point we just brought in for fun, but it’s actually legitimate advice. What do we mean by “not being annoying”? Well, first of all, avoid repeating words over and over again, especially in the same sentence. As a content writer, synonyms should be your best friend, in addition to proofreading and reading aloud. If you notice too many iterations in your text, it’s time to do some good old edits!
Also, don’t fill your text with too many keywords. At the moment it is actually a writing sin! Keyword overuse is one of the worst things you can do for text readability as these keywords can come out of context and disrupt the entire flow of the piece. There’s no denying that SEO is a critical aspect of content writing, but it needs to be done in a more humble and smart way. You don’t have to yell at your readers’ LOOK! I know writing SEO content! “.
And last but not least, don’t be pretentious. Good vocabulary is invaluable, but using beautiful words all the time will annoy your readers and click them off. There are several reasons for this:
- The reader is forced every second of the word because you have used the most extensive vocabulary available
- The reader cannot see the message behind your text because they are too distracted by the grand language
- The reader understands what you are trying to achieve and concludes that they would rather read a simpler article than an essay on English literature
Keep a balance when it comes to your choice of vocabulary. Sure, you can throw in a strangely elaborate word here and there, but don’t overcomplicate your text. The average reader doesn’t want to read a novel, they are here to learn.
Edit like a pro
You wrote your first draft, everything is great. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, spring has arrived early … but the first trip is just the beginning. The time for editing has arrived.
First and foremost, it is crucial to do the first global proofread and edit your piece. Go through grammar and spelling, check for typos, shorten sentences that are too long, and so on. As mentioned above, watch for repetitions of words and phrases and use synonyms and alternative sentence structures to diversify the content.
Next, you need to analyze the structure and see if the flow makes sense. Swap some paragraphs if the order doesn’t make perfect sense and make sure the overall structure goes smoothly. If there is anything you think is missing, add it. Likewise, if some of your content seems extra – delete it!
The final stage is to read your piece. When people read aloud, they are more likely to notice errors (both grammatical and contextual), notice incorrect punctuation, and even structural inconsistencies.
The importance of SEO-driven content
Writing content is not only creative – it is also quite mathematical. If you really want to master the art of writing good web content, being a good writer isn’t enough these days. After all, you have to consider the most prominent members of your audience – search engines (especially Google).
Increase your organic CTR
Clickthrough rate refers to the number of times people click on a link to your page when it appears in an organic search result. To increase this number, it is necessary to understand what your users are really looking for and then edit your metadata to adapt it to the search intent.
Lower the bounce rate
The bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who click on a link to your page and then leave the website without visiting another page. There are a number of reasons why your bounce rate can be high, but the most important are:
- Content that contains too much text
- The opposite; content that is too short
- Lack of links to other pages on your site
- Absence of a good CTA (call-to-action)
Since we’ve already discussed the text-to-media ratio, let’s talk about linking. Whether you’re writing content for a company blog or other web texts, it’s always a good idea to find internal links related to your content. For example, even previous blog posts can be very relevant to your current topic, so you can link them in the new piece. Likewise, a strong call to action not only increases sales of whatever product / service you sell, but also lowers the bounce rate because it directs the viewer to another page (e.g., a landing page of your new listing).
Increase the residence time
Wait time is the amount of time people spend on a page of your website. To encourage people to stay on your website longer, provide users with the information they need. As mentioned above, an extravagant introduction can flow well, but it can be harmful to dwell on time. Keep your piece introductions clear and current.
So there you have it – a complete introductory guide on how to become the content writer you’ve always dreamed of. Save this article to your favorites and read it every now and then to remind yourself of all the steps to take. We hope this was helpful and we wish you the best of luck in your quest to earn the title of Master Content Writer.