Here’s a little secret about me: I’m a slow writer.
If I’m writing an email or a work note, I’m as fast and as precise as they come, but when it comes to a feature or anything with a little bit of creativity my brain gets in the way.
It doesn’t matter that I know exactly what I want to communicate or how fast I type, I will always pause and waste time thinking about how I can write a given sentence better.
I only recently discovered that I’m not alone. In fact, it’s the plight of every writer out there.
The good news is that recently I also discovered a couple of tricks that have helped me and will help you get things done a little bit faster.
1- Pick one goal
Why are you writing this copy?
- Do you want to promote the variety of your services?
- Illustrate how effective your solutions are?
- Announce something
- Build backlinks for SEO
- Attract subscribers
Narrow down your reasons for developing a piece of content to one specific goal.
2-What are your target keywords?
If no one is searching for what you are writing, it doesn’t matter how good it is. That’s why before you begin writing any article you need to do some keyword search.
The point here is to use keywords and phrasings that people are searching for, ideally finding the set of keywords that don’t have strong traffic but generate enough for you to top their search results, but that’s for another article.
For now know that despite SEO being a form of a deep-dive content tool, you can still do some research and stick with safer, high-ranking words.
As a start, search for some seed keywords. Brainstorm with your team about common keywords you will probably use when writing about your topic. Now enter these keywords into any SEO keyword generator, make sure you narrow down the search with your location and play around with it a bit. (This is the point where I realize I probably should post a more detailed guide on the topic)
Now that you know what your goal is and the right keywords to sprinkle in your content, it’s time to set your edge.
3-What is your USP?
In a world where we are swarmed with content, Why would your ideal audience click on your article? The answer is your unique selling point (USP).
Please don’t say there’s no specific reason; if there aren’t any develop one. Otherwise, why are you writing this article then?
There’s a school that suggests you write your headline at this point to narrow down your focus and make sure your title clearly highlights your USP, but I always write my title last.
At this point, you know what’s the overlap between what people are searching for and what your content can offer. And you determined what your USP is, it’s time to build the foundation that will deliver just that.
Write a list of points you want to address, the order at this point doesn’t matter. Just jot down the key points.
For example, in this article, I want to highlight the few tricks that worked for me and how I go about them. My main bullet points would be:
- Key tricks, add random thoughts as one-liners
- Setting a goal for the article
- Write haphazardly without thinking of quality
- The importance of keywords
- SEO basics to get you started
- Remind everyone of the awesome content marketing ideas and other content tools on this website
- The value of the headline
- How to clean up your writing using a structure
- Remove everything that doesn’t feed your core purpose (aka the goal you want to achieve) and the value you intend to provide (USP)
Before you move to the next step, go through the points you listed and remove anything that will shift focus off of the core point, which for this article is: How to develop good content faster. From the above list, I removed SEO. If I delve a bit deeper that may distract the reader from the specific benefit I want them to get.
Now arrange the final list into a linear journey (from point A to point B). Please don’t jump around, once you reach a point address it to the fullest and move on.
To save you time, the above random points are now the structure of this article with the titles written to be specific and as brief as possible.
6-The one trick that worked for me
Let’s pretend you are sitting in front of me and want to explain something. You’ll end up adding a lot more details to give me context. When developing content for strangers, we invest a lot of time developing the context and then review it to make sure the reader doesn’t get lost somewhere in the middle. This inevitably wastes time when writing the article.
If you are a brand, you probably have a target client profile. You also know what they already know about the topic you are writing about.
Pretend one of your target audience is sitting in front of you and you are explaining the above points.
Just write it as if you are speaking to them. Don’t think too much about it.
Once that’s done, remove the fillers.
Next remove anything that elaborates on non-necessary details, or any point that expands beyond the core point you want to make.
Make sure your content isn’t everything to everyone, it’s one point to one person.
At this point, your article is ready, now it’s time for three editing rounds.
- In the first editing round, focus only on fine-tuning the tone of voice to your brand.
- For the second round, add and replace your words with SEO-friendly keywords and longtail keywords (I promise a more detailed guide is coming your way)
- The third round of editing is the touch-up round. Go through your article and make sure everything is clear, to the point, and there are no missing links where you jumped over from one point to the next without transitioning.
8-My final trick
Save this article as a draft for a few hours or even a day. Come back to it and read it again with fresh eyes. I guarantee that you will spot a few logic or language errors.
This is also when I add my headline. It’s always the last thing I add to the article as I try to make sure it spells out the benefit you’ll get from this post.