If you’re a blogger, a marketer or someone who wants to write content, you most likely know writing takes a lot of effort. But here’s the reason it’s so important:
- Marketers who maintain a blog get a return on investment (ROI) 13 times greater than marketers who don’t blog (LauroMedia, 2021).
- Content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing and costs less than half (Showpad, 2020).
And there are over 400 more statistics to back that up. But why do so many people not want to invest in content?
From a survey of over 400 business professionals, 93 percent of them answered, “Too much time (required).”
So, what if there’s a way you could speed up your content creation process? What if I told you there are several tricks to improve your writing and make it faster?
We’ve created the top list from start to finish on writing content. Everything included in this article will show you the best tricks to reduce your time spent writing content.
Let’s dive in!
Create a Fact-and-Benefit Chart
Let’s say you’re writing content for a pillow company. Lay down facts about the pillows. What are they made of? How are they different from other pillows? Include basic product information.
Fill in the “facts” section of your chart with answers to your questions.
Then, come up with the benefits based on the facts. Suppose the company made the pillow out of horsehair. The benefit would be: Horsehair ensures your head doesn’t move at night, giving you a perfect, restful sleep.
Now, fill out the rest of your chart with benefits to match all your facts.
Note: I would recommend coming up with at least 20 facts and benefits.
Create an Outline First
Once you’re done creating your chart, you can now create your outline. I recommend leaving out the intro for this step.
Don’t trust me? Try this: Write an introduction before writing the content. Next, write the outline and fill out the rest of the sections. After you’re done writing everything, write another introduction. Compare the two. Most times, you’ll find the second introduction is always better.
You should always start with the outline but exclude your introduction.
Most people will start writing once they know what their content is about, but it results in sections that have nothing to do with their main idea.
So, first, start with your idea. Then build out sub-topics as subheadings underneath your main idea.
Once everything’s laid out, you’re ready to start!
Write Like You’re Talking to Someone
Be helpful and personable – that’s the rule in content writing for most industries, especially if your target audience is regular, everyday folk.
If you’re having trouble writing in a friendly manner, write two paragraphs as you normally write. Then record yourself speaking about something you’re passionate about for a minute. Finally, isten to your recording and write exactly what you say.
Then read both written statements back to yourself out loud.
See the difference between your normal writing and how you speak?
The next step is to copy how you speak. It might take a while to get used to. But, in the end, you’ll find it easier to write like this in the future.
Know Your Word Count
The next step is to know how many words your content should be. Is it a quick sales-focused landing page only comprising 300 words? Or is it a long-form guide with 3,500 words?
Knowing how much you need to write makes the difference between concise and run-on content. You don’t want to bore your audience.
Once you know your content’s purpose, have a facts-and-benefits chart and determine its appropriate length, you can get started on writing.
Write Your Introduction Last
Most people always start with their introduction. However, I have observed that, in most cases, this isn’t the best way to approach your blog. Writing your introduction last allows you to present the meat of your article without going into specifics and immediately hook your audience.
How To Write an Introduction Quickly
A strong introduction should always include a thesis statement and 1-3 sentences as your hook.
Here’s a good example of a strong introduction:
“Are you looking to gain an edge in SEO? If your image optimization isn’t up to snuff, you could be missing out on traffic, user engagement and sales.
Google looks at over 200 factors when deciding which website to rank for a specific search query. While having a well-optimized image won’t help sub-par content rank number one, it can help you stand out from other sites that don’t optimize their images.
The good news? Image optimization isn’t particularly complicated. Just a few changes to your current image process could help your site gain more traffic and leads, resulting in more sales.” (Neil Patel, 2022)
Neil Patel starts with an immediate question that acts as a hook. He begins with the problem his audience wants to solve. And then, he introduces the problem by talking about Google. The final thought is a solution that acts as another hook.
Another way of looking at it is through the formula called “Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS).”
Neil introduces the problem: “Image optimization isn’t up to snuff.”
He agitates with: “You could be missing out on traffic, user engagement and sales.”
And the solution ends with: “Changes to your current image process could help your site gain more traffic and leads, resulting in more sales.”
Wait 15 Minutes Before You Edit
Editing is the most important part of writing. But most bloggers and marketers I know spend a day waiting between edits. The problem is so much time has gone by, and if you’re under tight deadlines, it could cause problems.
Instead, you could reduce the time between the first draft and the first edit.
Ideally, you should relax and wait 15 minutes until your brain is ready for that first review of the content.
Edit Your Content At Least Twice Over
The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard about editing is “edit for a 10-year-old.”
You want to edit for someone who has never heard of your subject, is impatient and only cares about themselves.
During the first edit, go through your introduction, subheadings and conclusion. Take out anything that isn’t necessary and add anything that’s missing.
The next step is to go through line-by-line, reading each one out loud to make sure the paragraphs and sentences sound correct by ear.
For a strong line-by-line process, start with these questions:
• Am I saying what I want?
• Is it to the point?
• Can I make it shorter?
Ask yourself these questions as you go through each section. If something doesn’t work, change it. And don’t be scared to cut your sentences.
If All Else Fails, Let Someone Else Do It
If nothing else is working and you’re having trouble writing content, you can always outsource your work.
Here’s a list of pointers you should give to your freelance writers:
- How to address the audience (second-person singular)
- Samples of previous content
- Long-tail keywords
- Short keywords
- Preferred writing style
- Target audience
Once you fill out all the above, your writers will have a much easier time fulfilling your content requirements.
With these steps, I’ve been able to reduce my typical 8 hours of writing, editing and formatting to 3 hours, research and graphics included.
The number one rule is to figure out what you’re writing about and come up with as many ideas as possible. Once you’re done figuring out the meat of your content, it’s much easier to write and let your ideas flow.