Writing does not come naturally to all of us. Yet many people who are less than facile with words are responsible for creating blog posts, press releases, and other marketing materials for their company.
So how can you compose killer content without laboring for hours over each piece? Here are a few tips to get those words flowing:
Always start with a plan.
Too often, novice writers sit down, open a Word document, and start typing. An hour later, they end up with a page of text that lacks a clear main idea. Along the way, they get stuck, unsure where to turn. You can avoid that by starting with a plan. It can be something as simple as a few bullets with your main points, or even a flow map that shows you where to start and where you should end up.
Skip the complex sentences.
Another newbie mistake is attempting to craft long, scholarly sentences. Keep your audience in mind. More than likely, they’re pressed for time. They want the language direct and easy to read. Sticking to simple sentences will help you write faster and make your content more effective.
Make your main point obvious.
You don’t want to be repetitive, but make sure your reader—especially if they’re just skimming your piece—can easily grasp the message. Make sure they know what action you want them to take next. Want them to click through? Tell them. Want them to buy? Say “BUY NOW!” Want them to call for an interview? Give them the number, and tell them how to use it.
Let it sit before you edit.
It’s usually a bad idea to edit immediately after you finish a piece. Let’s face it: By that point, you’re tired and want to move on. Don’t wear yourself out. Your piece will suffer. Instead, revisit it once you’ve cleared your mind. You’ll notice a number of things that may have slipped past you the first time.
Most important, let your true voice shine through. You’ll produce a better piece and have an easier time writing it.
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article first appeared.