5 Simple Yet Effective Content Writing Hacks
Lucky are those who seldom face the proverbial Writer’s Block. For some content writers, though, it can at times be challenging to create content quickly and keep it interesting enough to grasp the attention of readers or viewers. It especially holds true when you are new to the field or just starting, where completing and publishing your write-up might seem like a daunting task. If this resonates with you, then let’s together explore some simple yet effective content writing hacks to become a prolific writer.
Why is it important to contemplate your approach to content writing?
Irrespective of which stage you are at in your writing journey, there will always be a lot of super-productive days when you manage to exceed your expectations, and perhaps everyone else’s too. However, effortlessly coming up with new and engaging topics to write on and penning endless words does not happen easily.
At least not daily. If you write occasionally because you enjoy the process and are not working towards a deadline, then time is a luxury you have on your side. Where that is not the case, i.e., you have a fixed timeframe within which to communicate your thoughts or specific information, then there is benefit in mapping out the direction you wish to take.
This article will highlight simple yet effective content writing hacks that can prove useful to you or can even act as a guide to come up with your structured approach. Aside from the obvious benefit of helping you become a prolific writer, the other reason to think about your approach to writing is that not all content that is produced gets its due attention.
Take the example of blogs or articles – millions are in existence and more are being churned out each day, and yet a sizable number of them probably do not get read fully, i.e., get skimmed by readers at best. To grab and retain the interest of consumers requires skilled content writers who understand their audiences and cater to what is needed by them.
If you work out where to look for help and how to utilize resources to the maximum, then you have more time on hand to focus on the more important elements that can differentiate a mediocre piece of writing from one that stands out. Becoming proficient doesn’t happen overnight, but is a gradual process that takes time and effort.
If there is help available in the form of articles like this one that covers simple yet effective content writing hacks that you can utilize along the way, why not read through to see if there are good takeaways? Although this article does not touch upon effective writing techniques, it will endeavor to arm you with tips and tricks for increased productivity.
Now, let us learn some hacks for effective content.
1. Keep those ideas flowing and titles enticing
Is it possible to never run short of topics to write on or words to use when someone else has done the needful? Perhaps not. Can you then identify a list of actions or resources that can act as a source of finite ideas? Definitely yes. That’s what you can look at as a first stage in identifying simple yet effective content writing hacks.
Remember that not everything that is written or published is original, so it is ok to draw inspiration from successful people and places who have been there and done that.
- Stay informed: Read the work of peers in your line or people you admire. Subscribe to blogs, sign-up for newsletters, etc. You never know where your next viral content can come from. Take note of headlines or titles, the topic of discussion, and the writing style for future use.
This does not necessarily mean that you duplicate someone else’s work, rather, use that information to formulate your own. It is also a great way to stay informed of what is happening around the world and get different perspectives on various subjects.
- Pay attention: To comments, questions, or discussion threads, be it elsewhere or on your website or blog. Consumers of content are looking for answers, inspiration, suggestions, entertainment, etc. There is no better way to get a sense of what people want and deliver than to listen!
E.g., if in response to this post on simple yet effective content writing hacks, there are comments to include best practices that worked for others, then that can turn into another article or a top-up version.
- Repurpose content: Following on from the previous point, give your previous posts a new life or use portions of them to create entirely new content. You can be your idea genie by recycling content and reaching new audiences, as rarely do people peek into archives. This is also important as the information contained within old posts is outdated so re-writing them is a chance to include the latest data and trends.
- Keyword & idea generation tools: Ranking higher on search engine page results is easier if SEO practices are applied and chief among them is careful keyword choices and inclusion. Aside from gaining an understanding of frequently searched queries and trends, reports generated by such tools can spark content and title ideas for you as well.
A basic example would be when you key in “Become a prolific writer” on the idea generator tool, and one of the options that are generated is “How becoming a prolific writer can make you sick”. This might then suggest to you that you can perhaps create a section around the importance of taking breaks, avoiding repetitive strain injuries, and in general, not neglecting your health while chasing deadlines. Popular sites to try would be Google Trends, Answer the Public, HubSpot, Portent, etc.
2. Be clear on what you wish to achieve
As with anything else people do, forethought and due consideration of the task at hand are essential for superlative content creation. It does not mean you need to have everything worked out before you write. Experts suggest that you write first and then edit, to keep the flow of thoughts going.
It does mean that having a framework or outline should have prominence in the list of simple yet effective content writing hacks. This is useful to organize your thoughts on how to construct the draft, what to include, etc. Among other things, you can cover off –
- Intent or message: Have clarity around the purpose of the piece of content you are developing. Think about whether your intent is aligned with that of the readers. It is tempting to write from your perspective and that is fine, but the finished product is more likely to receive wider acceptance when you give consumers what they are looking for.
If this sounds limiting, it is not. It can also be viewed as an exercise in creativity, as alignment of goals with those of your client is needed even for freelancers or content writers employed by companies.
- Variation in the coverage: Depending on the purpose and platform for which you are creating content, be clear about what needs inclusion and how to do so. A simple example would be that blog posts will differ from social media updates. The visuals you use, tone of language, and other aspects vary.
- Call to Action or CTA: Would you like readers or viewers to take a certain action? If yes, strategic placement of the call to action needs to be thought out. Although different forms of content writing might need different approaches, it is possible to identify and generalize a consistent framework to follow for each of them.
3. Plan of action to optimize output
You have organized your thoughts while drawing up an outline. The next course of action when it comes to simple yet effective content writing hacks is to start converting those thoughts into words while keeping a watch on the deadline.
- Stick to a schedule: As far as possible, consistency is key in anything we do, and that includes churning out content. Write every day, and at the same time when that can be done, so you are conditioned to keep to the schedule.
- Timekeeping: Time yourself – this could be breaking up your days into dedicated chunks for the task at hand or keeping a check on how long it took you for your last piece of content and trying to better that. Be cognizant of how much time you spend on different activities.
For example, it is important to research and edit before putting the content out there, but try not to digress or go overboard.
- Maintain a repository: Of power words to use, things that stood out from something you saw or read, or even your work. This could also include a journal or list of sorts where you maintain notes of any thought or idea that strikes you on the go. You can later use portions of this repository as a reference point, thus saving time. The emphasis here is again to draw inspiration or infer, and not copy over.
- Stay focused: With 60 minutes of uninterrupted writing, you can get a lot more done instead of hours of intermittent effort. Avoiding the temptation to check messages or emails, not browsing through social media accounts while working, choosing to work in a space without commotion, etc, will all help give undivided attention to writing.
Keeping a check on wandering thoughts and bringing them back to the task at hand is also part of staying focused. Planning, therefore, is not just for when you sit down to write but doing so continually can be deemed as another one of the simple yet effective content writing hacks that will help make optimal use of your time and give you better results.
4. Use the convenience of the Internet and technology to your advantage
Data and images play an important role in content creation. They can convey a lot and lend credibility. Including infographics and images has never been easier than today, with multiple platforms that make this process seamless for content writers.
You will also need facts & figures, citations, grammar, and punctuation checks as you progress through your writing. Companies who spotted these opportunities and came up with a solution abound in this world. When they’ve done all the work for us and even made their basic services freely available for use, why not leverage?
So, next on the list of simple yet effective content writing hacks is taking advantage of innovative products and services to ease the writing process.
- Graphic design platforms: Graphic design software providers offer simple and easily customizable choices for visuals to blend into your content. You can make your own or choose from a wide range of ready-made templates that are available for logos, graphs and charts, flyers, posters, etc, and customize the graphic to suit your needs.
It’s a great way to get creative without having to acquire graphic design skills as all you need is a clear idea and imagination. Do try out Canva, Crello, Inkscape, etc, if you have not so far already.
- Writing assistants: Save time in proofreading with writing assistance tools. These tools or apps can fix grammatical errors, suggest alternative texts, detect plagiarism, and much more. Aside from editing, there are all sorts of helpful and interesting writing assistance tools available on a need basis for increased productivity.
Some of these tools can help you organize a large amount of information quickly, help you meet your word count targets, convert plain text into a professional document, improve the readability of your write-up, etc. A few examples of such service providers would be Grammarly, Hemingway, Small SEO Tools, or 750 words.
Check out these Best Grammar Checkers
5. Habits and traits
Last but not least on the list of simple yet effective content writing hacks is to consciously develop the mindset and habits that will help you become a prolific writer. Everyday behaviors influence your writing and success at it, so pay attention to and cultivate habits that give you the push and stimuli that are needed to surmount obstacles.
- Positive outlook: Letting your previous experiences shape your outlook can be a deterrent. If the previous submission did not receive expected traffic, use that experience to do better. All feedback or comments are important, whether positive or not so complementary. Where you concur with the advice or comment, let it guide you, and where you do not see merit, just think of it as a different viewpoint compared to yours, and move on.
- Be your critic: A critical self-review of your construct is vital. Read what you’ve written, out loud, if necessary, as a make-sense checkpoint. Compare the completed piece of writing against your initial outline to answer questions on clarity of messaging, tone, audience appeal, etc, so you can confidently move toward the publishing stage.
Frequently asked questions
Q1. Can you become a content writer without experience?
Entrants to any field start as freshers, so yes, you can become a content writer without prior experience. Writing samples that can speak for your abilities would be a good starting point when stepping into this field.
Q2. Can language be a barrier for content writers?
Not unless you let it be. If writing in English, take steps to improve language skills where necessary. There are also foreign or local language content writing opportunities that are available to explore as an option.
Q4. What topics can you choose for content writing?
Depends on what you are good at, what interests you, or what is trending if you wish to take advantage of the latest buzz. Having a niche means you are regarded as an expert and you can choose more than one area to focus on too.
Q3. How can you become a confident writer?
Write. The more you write, the higher will be your confidence. Do not strive for perfection as a beginner, that will come later because practice makes perfect. Keep at it even if there are very few takers for your work at first, and perseverance will take you places.
Q4. Is being creative a prerequisite for content writing?
Not a must, but a degree of creativity is needed to bring in your spin to a topic or weave a story that can speak to audiences. You can develop this quality as you make progress.
This article has covered pointers on where to look for ideas when you struggle to come up with them on your own and how to convert those ideas into impactful writing. In bringing the list of simple yet effective content writing hacks to a close, the key point to remember is that getting good at anything comes with experience and you have to work towards it earnestly.
Having a can-do approach coupled with a willingness to learn is more important than skills – which can be acquired. A lot of what is discussed here will become second nature with time and until it does, take external help and inspiration from articles like this one.