content creation

4 steps to becoming a much better content creator in just 60 days

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Let’s face it, creating content is not exactly easy, and if you’re looking to excel at inbound marketing, you have to be able to create remarkable content and lots of it. Creating this content is a skill just like any other. That means that some people will be better at it than others. But like any other skill, you can get better at it with practice.

The key is to be attentive to your own strengths and limitations and to strive for continuous improvement. The core skill in creating content is writing. If you write well, you’ve got a leg up on your competitors. If writing is not your strength, that’s okay. You can get better at it with practice, but it’s going to take some work.

You might be thinking to yourself, Why should I work to improve a skill I can outsource to someone else? Shouldn’t I be spending my time doing something else? If you can scale your business up and delegate content creation to someone else, then, yes, you can probably muddle through with marginal writing skills. But most of us are going to have our hands in the content creation business for some time long into the future. Either we’re going to be writing and contributing content ourselves, or we’re going to be assessing the work done by others. In either case, having well developed writing skills can only lead to the production of better content regardless of its form.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend years acquiring and improving your writing skills. You can make a quantum leap in skill development within just a couple of months if you take just four steps. Here is what you need to do.

1. Read as much as you can, as broadly as you can.
That includes fiction, non-fiction, store signage, restaurant menus, and even a few technical articles. Pay attention to words and how they are used. You’ll begin to get the feel for how good writers use the language. The more you read, the better you’ll become. If you’re not reading every day, your writing will be bland.

2. Invest in the tools of the trade.
Get a good dictionary, a thesaurus and the Associated Press Stylebook. Your goal as a writer is clarity and understanding. Never write to impress people with your vocabulary. Remember to keep it simple and straight-forward. Sure, you can access some of these resources online, but I recommend having a physical dictionary to thumb through.

3. Start putting together a swipe file.
If you’ve never heard that phrase, let me explain. A swipe file is a collection of folders into which you collect things that grab your attention. I have folders for headlines, testimonials, envelopes, postcards, donation appeals, and great opening paragraphs. When you come across something that captures your attention, stick it in your files. Later, when you need an idea, go through your swipe files and the ideas will start coming. There is nothing unethical about this. And despite the odd name, you’re not going to plagiarize or steal someone else’s words. The idea is to use these remarkable snippets of writing as a way to tap into your own creative vein.

4. Get a writing coach if you need one.
If you’re into golf and you can’t cure your slice off the tee, what do you do? You take a lesson or two from a pro and then you hit balls at the driving range until you correct your swing. Take the same approach with your writing. Search online for writing coaches in your area and meet with one or two over coffee. Make sure you tell them you need help with business writing.

Are you satisfied with the results of your marketing efforts? If not, give us a call at 330-342-1255. We can help you sort out what’s working and what needs to be improved or even eliminated. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

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