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29 Aug

Since most content starts with written words, it doesn’t matter what type of content you produce, you can benefit from knowing the secrets of professional writers. One of the biggest struggles content marketers have is producing enough content and simultaneously keeping the quality high. That’s something professional writers must work through on a daily basis. So, here’s some tips that help them consistently produce a steady stream of high-quality content.

Stay in research mode at all times.

In order to keep your queue filled with great content ideas, you need to stay in research mode at all times. Research shouldn’t be reserved for planning or writing sessions only. The quality of your content will increase substantially if you do it on an ongoing basis, as ideas pop into your head.

Write in your own unique voice.

Don’t try to copy someone else. Your content should have an individual style that is unique to your personality or brand. Once you develop your own voice, you aren’t done. (Writers never stop working on their writing skills. As a content writer, you need to continually hone your skills too.) Style is your most prized possession as a writer, and it should continue to evolve over the lifetime of your career.

Talk about one thing only.

Each piece of content should have one point. Only one. The first thing you should do when you sit down to write is to figure out what your bottom-line point is. After you write, the first round of edits is to make sure your writing stays on point. You need to be ruthless. As William Faulkner said, “kill your darlings.” Any word, sentence or paragraph that breaks this one rule must be deleted — no matter how much you like it.

Find a unique angle to cover your topic

You may cover a trending topic that other content marketers are also writing about — but only if you add to the conversation, not repeat it. Try to make a new point or find a unique angle for talking about the topic. Otherwise, find something else to talk about.

Spend as much time on your title as you do writing

Even the most valuable, interesting content will be ignored if the title doesn’t connect with readers. Your title should create interest and forecast the information people will find when they click through.

Make the first sentence your best

You have about three seconds to hook your readers and get them reading. After your headline, it’s up to your first sentence to do the job. Never mislead. Your headline and first sentence should take the reader smoothly to your main point. But do say something that makes people pay attention.

Craft an irresistible lead (introduction)

The lead (or as journalists call it, the “lede”) is what writers call the introduction to your content. For very short articles, it could be the first paragraph or two. For books, it could be the first chapter. But for most content, it’s the first 100-600 words: the intro and your point. Your lead must be compelling without being overly long. It must be tease about what’s to come without giving away the gold.

The Close is as important as the lead

Good content tells who, what, where, when and why. Great content also tells “so what.” Don’t let your content lose steam just because you ran out of ideas. At the close of every piece of content, summarize your main point, then tell your readers how they’ll benefit from the information you provided. If at all possible, go full circle by tying it back to the main point you made in the lead.

Edit

Great writing never happens in the first draft. The first draft is usually a good effort at figuring out how to put your ideas into words. As a result, they’re almost always badly written.

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