Writing good content is not easy but not impossible.
That being said, there’s a learning curve to write good content and this can vary from person to person.
Fortunately, I’ve compiled all my insights and expertise from writing over 100,000 words of content into one nifty guide.
Now, I don’t expect you to write perfectly from the get-go but I’d like to train and help you get there.
But remember, writing good content is not just banging out words in a content:
1. You need to write with empathy for the reader aka be relevant.
2. You need to write for humans aka keep things simple, easy but witty.
3. You need to be actionable aka insightful articles #noBSlisticles.
What’s on the agenda:
Resources – Essential
Step 1: Understand the content goal 10 min
Step 2: Create a well-researched outline 20 min
Step 3: Write the first (shit) draft 60+ mins
Step 4: Ruthlessly edit that first draft 15 min
Step 5: Submit but expect at least one revision Varies
Goal: Shoot for 2 hours per article
Before submitting your article, make sure to use these two writing resources in the following order:
- Hemingway Editor. This will help ensure your content is readable. It will help you avoid complex sentences
- Grammarly. This is a lifesaver and will catch a lot of grammar mistakes.
Step 1: Understand the content goal – 10 minutes
This might seem like an obvious step, but so many writers (including myself) don’t spend enough time here.
Completely missing the point and having to do tedious reworks (trust me you don’t want to be here).
So, here’s a few tips to understand content goals:
● Thoroughly read the content brief (provided with every article) specifically the ‘format inspiration’ which is going to inform the structure of your article.
● Once again, read the format inspiration and try to understand how the sentences are structured, flow, formatting (think: punctuation, images, anchors). This is important as you’re ghostwriting, so you need to try to mimic my content style.
● Ask a lot of questions, seriously I’ll really appreciate it if you do.
● Highlight or bold parts of the content brief to help with the outline.
Step 2: Create a well-researched outline – 20 minutes
After you’ve clarified doubts and gained a firm understanding of the content goal, create a content outline.
Here are a few ways to research articles:
● Start by googling the query of the article (this is the title).
● This will give you a list of competitor articles. Then pick the best of the bunch and use that as inspiration.
● Use data, studies, and statistics from the latest sources (not later than 2017).
When you’re done, send it over to me and I’ll share my feedback and advice to help you structure the article better.
Step 3: Write the first (shit) draft – 60+ minutes
Once you’ve got the green signal, start writing that first draft. Now, this can be tricky for beginners so I’ve decided to share insights I’ve gained from writing 100K+ words of content.
1. Don’t expect to write perfectly from the get-go, instead, just write based on your outline. Also, there’s no such thing as writer’s block if you write without expectations.
2. Avoid writing the intro and outro at the start as these sections are usually tricky—and you’ll have better ideas later anyways.
3. Instead, start with the easy sections which are usually the informative parts. This is usually everything between the intro and outro.
Here’s an example of a good informative section:
And here’s a template to do the same:
1. Start with a (relevant) compelling statement.
2. Talk about the problem.
3. Pitch the solution.
4. Talk more about the benefits of the solution.
5. Provide actionable steps to apply the solution.
Note: I’ve started out the format for you so you can build up on that.
6. Finally, write the intro and outro, and here are a few best practices:
– Start your intro with an opening hook (read: intriguing question), data-driven statistics to lure your readers into your article.
– Keep the intro light, simple but witty as your ready is only just getting into your article. You want to take it nice and slow 😉
– reemphasize your core content goal
– Avoid using “wrapping up” or “conclusion” header and instead try to go for an intriguing outro title (here’s an example, scroll down to the last part).
General formatting tips:
Flow is Holy:
Pay attention to ‘flow’ of content. Check my articles and find instances where I’ve written ‘what’s more’ ‘however’ ‘instead’ to find how I connect different paras.
Keep content scannable
● Use italics to emphasize points.
● Keep paras under 3 lines and break it up with compelling single ling connectors.
● Break up long sentences with periods.
● Use humor (think: memes, witty jokes, etc).
Bonus #1: Use paint the picture technique to explain vague statements (see the previous example). Here’s a format to follow “vague statement (think: explainer)”. Replace with ‘read’ for other cases.
Bonus #2: Play around with words. For example, use connects instead of connections or paras instead of paragraphs.
(You don’t have to follow all these pointers but keep this in mind when writing articles.)
Step 4: Ruthlessly edit that first draft – 15 minutes
Once you’re done with the first draft, ruthlessly edit your content and tone it down a notch. This is the point where you want to convert that shit draft into a decent draft.
● Lose your darlings: don’t be afraid to completely remove chunks of text if it seems irrelevant (I’m serious about being ruthless).
● Remember, less is more so try to pack a punch with less content.
● Also, avoid wordiness i.e. writing a sentence so long like really long without any periods in between to make the sentence readable and, instead, just overwhelming the reader with content that requires a ton of content to read, you know what I mean? (Psst… That was an example of a wordy sentence).
Step 5: Submit but expect at least one revision
Once you’re done with the first draft, send it over.
Now, depending on your experience, revisions will vary but you need to have patience and use this opportunity as a learning experience.
● Document and record everything during the rework phase.
● Keep backups of your old drafts
Remember, we’re all human here so I don’t expect you to be perfect, I expect you to make mistakes. What’s key is to learn from them.
Here is a sample 500 words content targeting the keywords “idea sharing at work”.
How Managers Can Create a Culture of Ideas Sharing at Work
Every organization desires a team of satisfied employees who are motivated and invested in the business’s vision. Well, the secret to achieving that is to cultivate a culture of ideas sharing at work.
A workplace that encourages knowledge sharing sees an increase in collaboration. This shows employees that their opinions matter and raises productivity. So, how can managers create such a culture?
Here are some practical strategies to create an environment where team members freely share opinions.
What Is an Open and Idea Sharing Culture?
The collective knowledge possessed by your employees is one of your company’s most priced assets. However, their ideas can only become collective when they actively and consistently share them.
Knowledge sharing at work is the process of brainstorming and collaborating with other employees. The aim is to improve processes. In an open culture, team members feel safe communicating their thoughts with their managers and colleagues.
Alt text: ideas sharing at work
This kind of organizational culture believes that everyone has something important to contribute.
Also, it fosters creativity and innovation within a company. Everyone, including top managers, works to create an open policy where the free flow of ideas becomes the lifeline of the organization.
Why Your Organization Needs It
A firm that desires to grow and stay ahead of the competition needs a motivated and loyal workforce more than ever. They can only achieve this when they collaborate effectively. Let’s consider some advantages of knowledge sharing.
Psychological Safety at Work
Psychological safety is a shared expectation held by team members. They expect that their managers or colleagues will not reject or embarrass them for asking questions or speaking out. Everyone is free to voice their thoughts and share feedback.
Employees who believe their workplace is psychologically safe are more willing to collaborate. This can significantly contribute to innovation or the success of a project and build employees’ trust in their employers.
Prevent Knowledge Hoarding
A team member can decide to hoard knowledge for various reasons. It may include fear of competition, an attempt to maintain control or job security. Creating a culture of ideas sharing at work helps prevent this. Since team members don’t see one another as competitors, they will share information freely. Aside from that, it will prevent the loss of vital information should an employee decide to leave.
Eliminates a Silo Mentality
In business, the silo mentality refers to a situation when team members don’t share ideas. This lack of communicating organizational knowledge will impact productivity and collaboration. Also, employees might be kept in the dark when important decisions are made. Cultivating a communication culture breaks down silos, encourages cooperation, and leads to success.
When employees are able to pass ideas freely at the workplace, they come up with better solutions to issues in less time. They also become more productive when they see and talk to one another. This builds team spirit. It makes team members more committed to the organization and increases individual output.