Writing is an important communication skill that we use every day. Clear writing helps others understand your content’s message, avoids confusion or mistakes, and in many cases reaches a much larger audience.
Improving your writing skills can, like any skill, be achieved through learning and practice. Learning writing techniques, tactics, and tips and regularly applying them through practice will help you improve and perfect your content writing.
Here are four techniques you can use to help you write better content:
Make a plan
Before you jump into writing content, two good techniques to use are planning and outlining. These create a structure, a roadmap for you to follow as you write, and a framework to give you direction.
Use bullet points to create a structured outline of your content. Each main topic can be a bullet point. Details can be added as indented sub-bullet points beneath the main bullet points.
This technique will help you remember to include all your main content points without missing any at the end. You will add the details along the way as you use your plan to progress through your writing.
As you plan and outline, keep your target audience in mind. The target audience is the reader or group of readers for whom a piece of content was written.
A writer needs to choose the proper tone, correct format, and level of writing complexity that will make the most sense to their target audience. This writing skill will help your readers connect with and understand your content better.
Focus on quality over quantity
People are busy and everyone’s time is valuable. Someone who decides to read your content is investing their time with the expectation that they will derive some value from this investment. If a reader feels that their time is being wasted by what they are reading, this will often cause them to stop reading and move on to other things.
Here’s how to avoid this: write for quality, not quantity. Keep it short, get to your point as quickly as possible, and avoid over-explaining. Eliminate filler words, repetition, and anything else that detracts from your message.
This is especially important when writing sales content. Not concisely getting to the point of a product’s features and advantages can turn a potential buyer into a lost sale.
One of the most important of all writing skills is proofreading. Checking your writing after you’ve finished your first draft will help you catch errors.
While most word processor programs and proofreading apps can catch spelling and common grammatical and punctuation errors, they are not foolproof. For example, they often don’t catch mistakes like words that are spelled correctly but are being used improperly in a sentence.
Whether or not you use an app to help you proofread after you’ve finished a draft of your content, it’s good to set your writing aside for a bit, then come back and give it at least one careful re-read. Making a habit of this writing skill will help you catch errors. Reading it out loud can also help catch additional errors that you might miss if you only read it in your head.
If possible, ask at least one other person to review your writing for you. They can review it with a fresh set of eyes which often helps them catch things that your own careful review may have missed.
Upskill with writing courses
One way to boost your writing is by taking online writing courses. Many online courses teach advanced writing techniques, such as copywriting, content writing, creative writing, and more. Whether you are starting as a writer or already have a writing career and would like to write better content, you can find courses that will get you there.