Creating content is an incredibly rewarding experience. Many writers would say that nothing beats the feeling of finding the perfect word or crafting a sentence that flows off the page (or screen).
But copy doesn’t always just flow effortlessly from our brains to the keys.
As satisfying as it is to get everything right, writing can also be an extremely tricky and difficult process. Whether you’re a copywriter, blogger, or content creator, you know that coming up with fresh and exciting ideas isn’t always easy. From writer’s block to procrastination, there are plenty of obstacles that can make content creation a difficult task. Here, we’ll be exploring six of the most common problems that writers and copywriters run into while creating content and providing tips on how to overcome them.
One of the most difficult, yet essential, parts of content creation is the initial research stage. Before you can even begin to put your ideas into words, you need to have a thorough understanding of the topic. Depending on what type of content you’re looking to create, it’s important to look beyond the basics. This means delving deeper into the subject matter to make sure your content stands out and provides readers with valuable insights.
And of course, keep your audience in mind when researching. Ask yourself:
- What specifics do they want (and need) to know about the topic?
- What questions might they have? How can I answer them proactively?
- How can I provide unique insights and solutions?
Make sure to record where you got each piece of information from so that you can cite it correctly later on. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to stick to one source when researching, but rather, create an interdisciplinary approach that combines different perspectives.
Outlining Your Content
Next, we’ll talk about a step in the writing process that is sometimes easily forgotten — but vital to creating clear, effective content. The step? Outlining your content.
Put simply, this means organizing and structuring your ideas to turn them into a cohesive narrative. But in practice, it’s a bit more in-depth than that. The first step in outlining your content is to decide on the primary goal of your piece. Are you trying to inform? Educate? Convince? Once you determine this, you’ll have an easier time knowing what to research and how to formulate your main message.
Now it’s time to actually create your outline. Break up your content into sections that focus on different aspects of your main point. A little tip: create subheadings as your main outline sections to get a better idea of how your blog or article will flow once you’ve started writing.
We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at your computer, trying to write something, but nothing comes out. Your mind is blank, and you just can’t seem to make any progress.
It’s frustrating, and no writer is immune.
As annoying as we find writer’s block, there are a few tactics we can use to combat it (and prevent it from happening. For example, as we mentioned above, planning out and outlining your content ahead of time helps you have a clearer picture of what the final product should look like. Next, it might seem simple, but getting some fresh air and taking a walk does wonders for our creativity. Get your blood pumping with a short walk around the block, and see how refreshed you feel when you return to your computer.
Finally, if you are still stuck, look for inspiration. Read blog posts, books, magazines, or articles related to the topic you’re trying to write about. This will help get your creative juices flowing and can even provide valuable ideas to use in your writing.
Editing (And Re-Editing)
Writers often get frustrated when trying to fine-tune their work, which can lead to stress and unwanted delays. It’s easy to get stuck on one word or sentence, trying your hardest to make it absolutely perfect. Because of this, editing can become a time-consuming process, requiring extreme attention to detail, careful re-reading, and even multiple drafts.
To make editing a more seamless process, we recommend testing out a few of these editing tactics.
- Read for the flow of your content. Sure, when editing, you want to pay attention to grammar and spelling mistakes, but it’s also important to be mindful of how your content sounds when read out loud. This allows you to pinpoint any areas or sentences that sound disjointed or confusing.
- Don’t be afraid to use grammar checkers! Even the most seasoned writers need a little grammar helping hand. Install Grammarly or use any other helpful grammar checker as a second eye for any punctuation or modifier mistakes you may have missed.
- When in doubt, shorten. A key part of the editing process is cutting extra fluff from your writing. If you can make your point without it, lose it!
Lastly, it’s also important to give yourself some distance from your work before beginning the editing process. If you automatically jump back in with a fine-tooth comb without first taking some space from your writing, chances are you won’t be in your best editing mindset. Take at least a few hours (if possible) before diving into editing mode. This allows your brain to look at your content with fresh eyes and perspective.
Bonus Tip: Always be sure to save anything you cut in the editing process. You never know when you might need to use those insights later!
Once you’ve completed all of the hard work of researching, outlining, writing, and editing your content, it’s time to publish. Depending on where you’re publishing your content (blog, website, etc.), this can be a relatively simple process. However, there are some potential snags you should be aware of before you hit “Publish.”
First, you want to think about design. It’s important to have visuals to accompany your expertly-written copy, and depending on what platform you use to publish your content, this can take time and planning.
Another important step before going live with your blog or article is to think about SEO. Have you used the proper keywords within your text? Have you written a meta description and put alt tags on your images? These are all factors that will affect your SEO rankings, so if that’s a main goal of yours, be sure to get this settled before publishing.
Finally, think carefully about when you publish your post. You want to make sure that it’s going out at a time when readers are most likely to see it. Check out analytics from previous posts to get an idea of when traffic is highest and use that information to plan your publish date.
Knowing Where (And How) To Promote Content
Once you have created the content and published it, it’s time to get it in front of your audience’s eyes. But how do you know where and how to promote your content?
First, it’s important to consider which platforms you should use for your promotion. Naturally, our minds first go to social media, and different social platforms work best for different content types.
For example, did you just write a well-researched think piece about changing office dynamics in a post-pandemic world? Try LinkedIn. Or what about a product roundup of all the best wintertime moisturizers top beauty editors are using? Facebook and Instagram would be your best bet.
Knowing your audience is not only important in the writing process, but it’s also vital when putting your content out into the world. Where does your audience scroll in their free time? Once you’ve nailed that down, it’s a lot easier to determine where different articles and blogs should be promoted and why.