We get it. As great as the benefits of content marketing may sound, finding the time to write impactful and engaging content for your website can be a challenge.
Of course, you could outsource your content marketing to an agency, but if you’re on a tight budget or you’re used to doing things on your own, then it’s easy to write off the idea of handing over your brand voice to a third party.
The good news, though, is that you can improve your copywriting practically overnight. You don’t need to attend journalism school or splash out on an eBook filled with ‘content marketing hacks’ to become a better writer – you just need to be willing to learn.
Today, we’re discussing some of the best ways that you can improve your copywriting skills.
Read every day
Whether you’ve got fifteen minutes at the end of the day or an hour before lunch, you should make reading part of your everyday routine. Yep. That means you need to read content. Every. Single. Day.
Subscribe to the best blogs in your industry, follow your favourite authors on Twitter and always be on the lookout for interesting blogs and resources that you can look through. The more content you’re exposed to and the more blogs you read, the more you’ll learn about how to structure your blog posts and the more confident you’ll be as a writer. Simple.
By reading relevant news and content in your industry on a regular basis, you will:
- Be inspired: You’ll see what’s working and what’s not, and you’ll be able to take the best parts of other blogs and bring them to your own
- Be more knowledgeable: We hate to break it to you, but you don’t know everything about your industry. Reading the latest goings on in your field will give you more ideas for new content and help you become a better business owner, too
- Broaden your vocabulary: Reading can enhance your vocabulary and make your own writing more varied and relatable
- Understand blogging: Following popular bloggers not only gives you access to useful information that you can take back to your own blog, but it can help you understand the structure of a good blog post and make it easier to organise your thoughts when putting together your next piece of content
Reading won’t make you the world’s best blogger overnight, but it can teach you a lot about how bloggers work and how to write content that your readers will want to read.
Write every day
Just like reading is important for broadening your vocabulary and helping you learn more about how to put a good blog post together, writing every day is essential if you want to become a better blogger.
Not everything you write is going to be great. Not everything you write is going to make sense. But getting into the routine of writing new content every day will allow you to flex your skills and become a better writer – especially if you maintain writing as a new habit and give yourself time to develop your skills.
Even the world’s biggest blogs were started by novices. Take Mashable, a technology and entertainment news website. Their first blog posts, written by Pete Cashmore, weren’t the best, and they certainly didn’t follow the blogging practices we’re all used to following today. Fast forward ten years and the blog reaches more than eight million people every month and is one of the most well-respected and most-read names in digital media.
Instead of waiting for the day you magically become a better writer, you should start practising today and publish content that you’re proud of. Here’s a good routine to follow:
- Monday: Write this week’s post for your business blog. 2-3 hours.
- Tuesday: Write notes and ideas for next week’s blog. 20-30 minutes.
- Wednesday: Write a 500-word guest blog and submit it. 1-2 hours.
- Thursday: Write social media posts for Twitter and Facebook. 20 minutes.
- Friday: Publish this week’s blog after proofing, editing and formatting. 20 minutes.
- Saturday: Write a status update for your LinkedIn profile for next week. 10 minutes.
- Sunday: Write a couple of posts in an industry-relevant forum. 20 minutes.
If you follow that routine, you’ll be able to fit in at least four hours of writing a week, and you’ll have lots of great content that you can use as part of your content marketing efforts. Plus, forcing yourself to write every day will boost your productivity, motivation and numbers. Just check out this Medium article from Shaunta Grimes if you’re not convinced.
Publish stuff you’re not proud of
If you really want to become a better blogger, then you need to accept the fact that you’re not always going to produce work that you’re proud of. And that’s okay. Not every post on your business blog needs to be a masterpiece – nor does it have to stay live on the internet forever if you want to go back and make some changes in the future.
One of the greatest lessons you can learn as a digital marketer is that you’ll make mistakes. And they’re okay to make. In fact, in one of our recent posts, we actually encourage them.
By publishing content you’re not totally proud of, you’re making the first step on the journey to becoming a better writer. Simply put, if you spend too long on a single post and spend forever making tweaks and changes, then you’ll never grow as a writer.
Putting out content in any form is the right step. That way, you’ll not only be giving Google and other search engines content that they can index, but you’ll be giving your users something to read and you’ll also be opening yourself up to criticism and feedback.
Plus, if you have the pressure of hitting deadlines and publishing content on a set time and date, you’re more likely to spend time on writing content and less time procrastinating.
Start guest blogging
We’ve already spoken about the importance of guest blogging. Not only does it expose your brand to more people and help you gain backlinks to your website, but it also gives you a chance to write more and learn how to become a better blogger. Plus, most guest blogging websites have strict guidelines that you must follow, which will challenge the way you write, and they offer feedback so that you can improve and get your content published.
Do not underestimate the power of guest blogging not only as part of your wider digital marketing strategy but also in the aim of improving your copywriting skills.
On top of writing at least one blog post per week for your own website, you should aim to guest blog at least two or three times a month.
A slow and steady approach to building links and improving your writing ability makes sense, so save the hard-hitting guest blog opportunities on high authority websites until you’re confident you’ll be able to submit something that will blow people’s socks off.
Rewrite someone else’s work
Some digital marketers will say that rewriting other people’s content is wrong – and, to some extent, it is. While we’re not suggesting that you rip off work from somebody else and pass it off as your own, we do think that there are lessons to be learned by rewriting blogs in your own style and learning from their research, structure and tone in the process.
Of course, if you write a blog post that’s very similar to one of your competitors, you’re not going to be able to outrank them, but you’ll be able to learn lessons and become a better copywriter in the process. Plus, not everything that you write has to be published. However, if you do rewrite someone else’s content in your own style and with your own research, you could use it to outrank your competitors and become the resource in your niche.
In fact, that’s exactly what Brian Dean from Backlinko suggests. The ‘Skyscraper’ content marketing technique was designed to help you produce better content than competitors by using their work and making it better – perhaps by doing more research, repurposing their theories in a new niche or just updating the stats and resources to meet today’s standards.
There are many more ways to become a better copywriter than what we’ve mentioned in this blog post. Simply put, we’ve only scratched the surface, but we wanted to delve deeper into five methods and give you some idea of how to execute our recommended strategies.
The free content marketing certification course from HubSpot is a great resource. It’s a free digital course that includes hours of videos and written learning materials and provides you with an actual certification when you’re finished. Downloading software like Grammarly and asking your friends and family to proof and edit your work before publishing are two other ways to become a better writer; the more resources you have at your disposal, the better.
What tips do you suggest to somebody that wants to become a better content marketer? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, and check back soon for more digital marketing tutorials and how-tos.