Writing killer content on your website has nothing to do with magic. In fact, sometimes it’s more science than art.
If you can write a couple of simple sentences that go together, you can write an article. It’s just a matter of organising your thoughts and keeping them focused.
Here’s our 9-step guide to the writing of killer content for your website. If you have problems putting together a clear , coherent piece of work, try it out and see if it helps.
1. Track your thoughts
The first thing you need to do is to get something to help you keep track of your ideas. Buy your notebook. Download the app now. Do something about it.
Keep whatever it is convenient for you. Always. Always. Now, forever. Then, when the idea flashes across your brain, BAM! , write down your puppy.
Once you get in the groove, you ‘re going to come up with more ideas than you’re ever going to find time to explore.
2. Check concepts for utility
Before you take a random idea and run with it, try your idea. Is that your best as-yet-unexplored idea? And will your audience find that useful?
This is where we need to talk about the ideal readers. It’s a concept that writers have used for ages.
We don’t write for ourselves as authors. If you do, you can stop reading this article right now and start a diary. But if you want other people to read your brain nuggets, start thinking about who these people are.
On this one, you don’t need to go overboard. Some fiction writers are creating their ideal reader’s fully-fledged backstory. You don’t have to do that. Just imagine who you’re going to be on the other side of your conversation and start writing to that guy.
Chances are you’re not going to be far away from the mark. People like your ideal reader are likely to be the ones who most resonate with your writing.
Who is my ideal reader?
3. Do some kind of research
Even if you think you know all about your subject, do some research. Hit Wikipedia to make sure you’ve got your facts right. Otherwise, your readers will call you out.
Also, it’s a good idea to know what the others had to say about the same subject before. Google’s theme and read the top three blog posts. Do you have anything else to say they neglected to mention? Do you have a new perspective? A new interpretation, huh?
Well, hopefully, you do. But if you don’t, there’s a fast tip here. Please read the post. See what other readers have found to be missing from each article. Or what kind of questions they asked that still remain unanswered. Then see if that helps you approach the subject in a new direction.
4. Write the killer’s headline
Whole books have been written on this subject. A couple of great blog posts, too. You might want to take a minute to read Copyblogger ‘s Writing Headlines That Get Results.
They’ve got better advice than I could ever give on the subject.
Still I’m going to say this.
They talk a lot about the promise of the premise in fiction workshops. This means that the setup of the story must leave the reader with certain expectations. You let the reader know what the story is about and give some hints about where the story might be going.
Is this the mystery of murder in space? Is this a character-driven piece of historical fiction? What’s the whole thing about? The reader must know, or else there is no motivation to read.
In a novel, the premise is laid down in the first chapter. With a short story, you’ve got to do it in the first scene.
All you get with an article is the headline. That’s why most of the killer headlines are variations on:
How to Win Friends and Influence People
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Simple, time-tested formulas that make specific promises to attract curious readers.
5. Write down the first draft
Here’s where you ‘re starting to deliver on the promise of the premise.
Some good advice is to write the first draft without any care in the world. Don’t think of your ideal reader yet, just write for yourself. No one else gets to see this version, so it’s all right.
Just take your first pass for yourself. Attack it with careless abandonment. Do this like no one’s watching. Or to judge.
6. Edit the chainsaw
We divide editing into two major steps, each with varying degrees of precision. Level one is for structural issues. The chainsaw is my metaphorical tool of choice for this step.
This is where you are:
Break off unwanted digressions, and
Move around blocks of text to make sure your argument has a logical flow to it.
Imagine that you are now your ideal reader. Is it all going to make sense to them?
Here, start reading aloud. You ‘re going to spot your errors better that way.
7. Edit the scalpel
If you have something that seems like it makes sense to other people, lower the chainsaw. It’s time to use the scalpel. Here, you need to do some refined, delicate surgery.
This is the stage referred to as the editing of a line in the publishing world. You ‘re going through your sentence of work by sentence, word by word. Are your sentences too long? Do you use needless words? Is your spelling atrocious, huh?
This is also where you turn the spellcheck back on. You ‘re going to need that.
Bonus tip: If you have used any words that are not in your spellchecker ‘s dictionary, add them manually. Now! Now!
8. Run it through a text-to-talk app
Take a moment to let your machine read your story back to you before you go online.
Computers are advantageous to human readers. They were reading the words that were actually on the page. It’s every time. Humans don’t do that sometimes.
This is particularly true when we read our own work. That is the peculiarity of the human mind. If we tell ourselves that we type one thing and make a typo in the process, our brains convince us that the typo is right. We can’t see the error that’s looking at us in the head.
Take your time to do this, every time. Newer versions of Microsoft Word have a Read Aloud function on the revision tab. Or there are a lot of free browser extensions that do a decent job as well.
9. Publish and move on to
Do you have all your ducks in a row now? Very. Very. Publish Struck. Choose the most important tags to help people find your work and then find something else to write about.
If you’ve gone through all the steps, you’ve put a little bit of time and effort into your post. But here you don’t write a book. New when you’re done with that. There’s only so much shine that you can put on the apple. Anything else is starting to be a waste of effort.
Need assistance with your content marketing strategy for your website? Get in touch with us and we’ll help you write killer content that sells your products and services for you.