Improving your own writing can be a challenge, especially if you already have a system for how, when, and why you write your posts. Experienced content marketers may fall into the trap of repeating the same process and the same ideas or losing track of the established brand voice, while new content marketers might struggle to get established with a solid foundation. Either way, if you want to improve, you’re going to have to work at it.
The best way to get better at anything is to practice, but sometimes practicing the same thing over and over can actually make your writing suffer even more. That’s why I’ve come up with these seven “content hacks,” which can jumpstart your content campaign and make you a better writer:
Writing in the same voice on the same topics can get repetitive. Even if you enjoy the work, you may find that your writing naturally addresses the same recurring themes in the same predictable ways. It’s happened to all of us. One of the best solutions to this is finding another voice to add a fresh, unique layer to your writing. This can come in a variety of forms: you can ask around the office to generate new ideas for your blog you hadn’t considered before, you can offer guest posts from new writers on your blogs, or you could simply have a new face give feedback on your work. However you choose to do it, getting outside perspective can help.
Your competition can be your greatest allies when it comes to content marketing. If you’re looking to infuse your content with some new ideas and a new direction, your competition can serve as the perfect platform. See what they’re writing about, and how they’re writing about it, then figure out a strategy you can use to incorporate those themes into your own strategy. Don’t mirror them exactly; instead of mimicking one of their posts with a similar one of your own, take a different stance or a different approach. It’s a perfect opportunity to refine your abilities and adjust your overall direction.
Read the news. Read as much of the news as often as you can, both within your industry and on a national and international level. This is going to help your writing in two ways. First, you’ll have greater exposure to the events going on around you, and as a result those themes and concerns will naturally find their way to your writing. You’ll appear more up-to-date, you’ll appeal to a modern audience, and you’ll appear more authoritative as well. Second, you’ll be able to incorporate more of an authoritative tone in your writing by exposing yourself to higher journalistic standards. You may not need to adjust your tone, but it should help you write more confidently about your subject matter.
Instead of looking at everything currently going on in the world, you can take the opposite route by taking a long look back. Go through your older blog posts, analyzing the types of topics you’ve covered and how you’ve presented the material. Hopefully, you’ve evolved as a writer over the course of time, and you’ll be able to rediscover and re-present those topics in a new, better light. On the other hand, discovering your old writing style could help you refine your voice to a more consistent, more clearly defined state.
One of the best ways to find great topics to write about is to address the problems your customers and readers face. It’s more valuable to the people reading it, and it’s going to attract more people naturally as they search for solutions to their specific problems. However, finding problems to address in itself can improve your abilities as a writer. Do some research on your current and prospective customers, discovering their major pain points and what problems they currently face (related to your industry). This can give you a deeper insight into your target audience and a better understanding of how your industry works, which in turn will improve your writing style.
It seems counterintuitive that using images, videos, or other alternative mediums could make you a better writer, but it is true. Incorporating different mediums into your writing forces you to think about your subject matter in new ways, giving you the opportunity to craft a more specific, more comprehensive message around the presence of an alternative source. It also has the nice side effect of attracting more readers, keeping them engaged for longer, and improving your domain authority in the eyes of search engines.
Finally, use your blogs and other forms of content to invite discussion amongst your readership. Cover a subject to the best of your ability, and open up some questions to your audience related to that subject. This, by itself, won’t improve your writing, but it will open the door for your readers to share their thoughts on your selected topic. Over time, you’ll gain insights about your audience and new perspectives on your usual range of topics. As long as you can incorporate those insights in meaningful ways in your own writing, you’ll see improvement in your content strategy.
Put these content hacks to good use; you’ll find that the more you diversify your outreach and shake up your routine with new tactics, the more agile and comprehensive your writing will become. Of course, as you continue to sustain your writing efforts, you may find yourself falling into a rut. If this happens to you, reintroduce these hacks into your process and get your creative momentum back.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.