In my last blog, you learned about the golden writing principles: People (or businesses or leaders) who write well, do well; Don’t mumble; and Practice every day.
In this piece, I’m going to show you how to put it into play with five easy tips that will improve your writing.
1. Start with a simple outline
In order to write effectively, you have to think effectively. Start with a rough outline to lay out your main points and jumpstart the writing process.
The outline example below comes straight from this book, and you can use it for any type of writing – from blogs and articles to white papers and case studies.
Tell the reader where you’re going
Your first sentence for any piece (that’s longer than a few paragraphs, like a blog, article, or ebook) should tell your reader where you’re going. The rest of the intro should address why the reader wants to go with you.
Know where you’re going
Nail the message and the call to action for the reader. Outline your major points, list important details under each one, and underline and number each important section. These are your headers—or chapters if you’re writing a book.
Sum it up and let it sink in
Briefly summarize the points you’ve made, so the message sinks in. Avoid adding new ideas and keep the language familiar and personal.
2. Use it every time
Use an outline like this or one of your own every time you write. Identify effective headers, fill each section with the most important points, and then start building around the meat of your message. Add full sentences if you don’t have them, connect the first point to the next, and pay attention to grammar and sentence structure.
One more tip: I suggest focusing on the body and saving the introduction and conclusion for last. For me, it speeds up the process since both can be the most nerve-racking parts.
3. Use the simple, simple, simple rule
Keep your words simple, keep your sentences simple, and keep your paragraphs even simpler. Yes, it’s that simple.
4. Sign up for free (or invest in) training
Whether you want to become a better writer or publish more content, you can find free and affordable training online. Here are a few ideas:
- Copyblogger is the first copy blog and business I fell in love with. It has incredible information, knowledgeable contributors, and certified training.
- Talking Shrimp is a business and blog run by Laura Belgray. I’ve downloaded her free offerings, and each one provided solid tips for writing punchy copy.
- Udemy has a free copywriting class with tools and hacks to jumpstart your writing.
5. Hire a ghostwriter to write for you
If creating writing topics, producing drafts, and editing content are not in your bandwidth, you can hire a ghostwriter to accomplish your content marketing goals. So, you can finally give up the burden of writing and start focusing on the most important thing: running your business.
Now, it’s time to put your new knowledge to work. Use outlines to improve your thinking. Keep it simple. Use free training, hire an expert, and of course, practice as much as and as often as you can.