Less than five years ago, creating copy was more about rewriting content from competitors. Now, the stakes are much higher, the competition is even tougher and the noise from the internet is deafening. Now more than ever, websites are looking for consumer-friendly content that is innovative and compelling.
Such writing is difficult. Just try to be creative, and you will see that someone else has already been there, done that, and many more writers have tweaked and rewritten the idea.
If you are a writer trying to navigate these rough waters, below are five battle-tested writing hacks that will transform you into a kick-ass writer.
Read like a writer.
In the 14 reasons why writers need to read, Jan Fortune starts by asking readers to imagine chefs who hate food or artists who have never been to a gallery. Where is their credibility?
The same goes for writers. To be a writer you must love to read. Love to learn and to comprehend what you read. Take notes, assess and expand on them. In return, reading will provide you with an endless source of information, ideas, and inspiration.
Reading also enhances your vocabulary for more powerful content. It strengthens your creativity and ability to develop compelling copy. If you encounter multiple challenges and roadblocks when developing content, that’s a sign you are not reading enough.
To receive you must give. By reading other people’s work, you encourage them to read yours. So remember to leave a note to writers whose writing resonates with you. It might tempt them to read your work. You never know, one day you might encounter an editor who will give you a gig that will set you for life.
Last but not least, every form of writing is a storytelling opportunity. To be a good storyteller, you must consume and read stories written by other people.
Watch movies or series and listen to music like a writer.
Movies, series, and even music are excellent sources of creativity. They will feed your imagination and vocabulary and help you structure words and sentences compellingly.
Listen to your favorite music and see how strategically placed the words are. Everything is blended uniformly and harmoniously into a tune that resonates deeply with you. That’s how the content you deliver to your client should be, thoughtful and engaging.
Have a more in-depth look at how movies and series develop plot and characters. See how parts are interwoven to create a compelling story that glues you to the screen. That’s how persuasive and naturally flowing your writing should be.
If you are a novelist, scriptwriter, or writing personal narratives, there is no greater nourishment than that got from watching movies, series, and music with subtitles. Even for content writers and copywriters, seeing how scriptwriters fuse words and frame sentences could help you write content with a hypnotic punch.
Everybody wants to be the noun, but few want to be the verb.
In writing, everyone wants to be a writer but very few wannabes write. So, if you cannot put in the actual hours and draft something, edit, and publish, you are only thinking and wishing to be the noun but unwilling to do what takes to be the verb.
To be a successful writer, you must write. Real writers write. Wannabes fantasize about being bestsellers but they do nothing about it. It is also not just about creating and hoping for a miracle to happen but writing as often as possible. Writing on a daily basis is recommended.
Note that writing every day does not mean publishing every day. Writing day-in, day-out is a gateway to forming a habit. Making writing a habit gives you a genuine connection with your craft. Your commitment will ensure that even when the odds are against you, you will drag to your space, get in the mood, and draft something. You can always edit later and develop the idea into an excellent read for publishing (Write from your heart and edit from the head).
Successful writers do not just write regularly. They develop real high-quality content that compels people.
Writing gold is about creating copy with the consumer in mind: answer their questions, affirm their suspicions, make them question their beliefs and strengthen their knowledge. Whether it is a personal journal or copywriting, writing gold is about producing authoritative ideas that will compel readers to come back for second helpings.
Webmasters want consumer-friendly copy that will satisfy the search intent of prospects and enhance their ranking on search engines results pages (SERP). With so many similar sites competing for the first placements, the need for more authoritative, informative, and optimised content is higher now than ever before.
Writing golden articles is your gateway to success.
Rinse repeat. Rinse repeat.
Writing greatness is all about rinsing and repeating the process; read like a writer, watch like a writer and if you love music, that too could work. Read how Leila Green learned how to write from listening to a song by Kendrick Lamar. Then, write gold and do it all over and over again.
The industry wants proficient and experienced writers with strong writing portfolios. They want copywriters who have been published on authoritative sites such as Forbes, Huffing post, Medium, Fox, and CNN. So, aim to post quality content in as many highly reputable blogs as possible. Prove that you are it with a strong writing portfolio.
Keep reading more of Joyce’s articles: The 4 most essential writing hacks for writers
To be a great writer, you must read and practice writing. You don’t even have to create golden articles to write. Start with what you have by regurgitating content from the web. Then step-by-step, enhance those ideas by giving them a different punch. Plus, the more you read and write, the more informed you get, the greater your exposure to great writing, and the higher the chances of encountering an profoundly excellent idea that is worth writing and publishing. To be a writer, write. To be a great writer, make excellent copy and publish them. There is no shortcut.
About the Author.
A Writer on Medium, Joyce Mwangi develops online content such as news articles, articles, blog posts and social media posts. Mwangi also writes personal statements and statement of purpose. She is flexible and capable of working on any niche. Last but not least, Mwangi is a Microbiologist. She has worked with the Walter Reed Project, Kisumu and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Nairobi.