It was a pleasure to teach the Content-Writing Session at the ReadyForWork Career Accelerator last Saturday, 28 September 2018.
The students were indeed ReadyToLearn, and had great questions and a collaborative team spirit.
SFAN was an excellent host, and the other moderators and teachers had so much to share, we, at Week of Saturdays, became students too.
Below is a concise list of some of the tips and resources we shared during our session.
Some content-writing advice:
1. Read a lot
Read at least one article or page of a book a day.
Ensure that your daily reading goal is small, achievable and measurable.
Measuring your daily streaks will keep you motivated to keep going and growing, and even though you can’t tell if or when your brain finally understands something, you can be rest assured that your subconscious will always pick and store memorable bits of information which overtime make you wiser, and a better writer.
Your reading influences your writing so if you want to be a great writer, you MUST read.
2. Let personality seep into the content that you create
As a freelance content writer, it is key that you understand the brief of every job that you’re assigned.
Sometimes the client will ask for some of your personality to enrich the piece, and sometimes they want theirs to inform the piece.
Whatever it is, make sure that you are clear on what is asked for, so that you do not write something out of tone with the client’s brand and ruin a good working relationship.
Either way, write like a human being and slip in some personality – this makes your writing more readable and enjoyable.
A trick I use to make sure my writing sounds like me is to read aloud what I have written. It is always easy to spot when you sound like a robot when you read out loud.
3. Always add a little something more to your content
An illustration, a graph, a chart, or an extra section on the topic that no one else (or few writers) have touched on before.
You always want to bring something new to the table, even if you are writing about an over-flogged topic.
Ask yourself the simple question: Would you read this post to the end? And why should anyone else do?
4. People have less time, so keep it short and simple
Few people care for long reads these days, even when relevant. If you’re writing about 10 ways to boost your social media,” get right into it. Put the most important information first. And leave all the fluff out. Especially if what you are writing is not interesting to you; it definitely won’t be interesting to many other people.
5. Do your utmost best to deliver what the client wants
It’s amazing how many content writers I’ve met who just want to get the job, do the bare minimum, submit it, and get paid in full.
The only way to keep your clients coming back is to keep them satisfied by feeding them with quality work. You can’t write anyhow you like, and expect clients to hire you for a long period of time.
Ask for feedback after every job. Show interest in your clients’ businesses beyond just giving and taking jobs.
Sometimes, the only thing hold you back from making huge bank is showing the clients that you’re in it for their eventual success, not just a one-time thing.
6. Keep your writing folders organized so you can reuse things you’ve written in the past
As you write more often, you’ll sometimes need to reuse some of the content you’ve written before.
Keep them where you can find them, name them appropriately, and tweak them for each use.
Every time you write something, it can become one of your templates, whether email, introductions, bios, etc.
7. Eliminate filler words from your writing
To go from 0 (amateur) to 100 (professional), eliminate filler words from your writing. Words like: just, only, that, the fact that, very, and so many others, make your work unnecessarily verbose.
Removing them when you edit gives your readers a cleaner, more professional and experienced experience.
8. Write and then rewrite before you edit
Last but not least, write, give your work room to breathe (12-24 hours), rewrite, give room to breathe again, and then edit.
When you give your work room to breathe, you’re able to look at it with fresh eyes and notice your mistakes, especially when you read slowly and intentionally.
Learning to edit your work will put you far ahead of the pack. You can also exchange and peer-edit with someone whose writing, you believe, is better than yours.
Always make sure you’re sending in the best version of your work.
Now everything I’ve shared above, so far, is tips to make your writing better.
9. But what I’m about to share next is one tip make your writing profitable i.e. make more money
Guest post! Contribute to other blogs, especially, reputable ones.
This not only creates more exposure for you, it also gives you access to these portals, more credibility as a writer, and an asset to sell, thus increasing your rates.
The highest content-writing job I got paid for was because I had access to websites and communities like Business2Community, TechWebSpace, TrueAfrica, BellaNaija and others.
So when a client comes to you and says: I want to start writing to grow my Medium following and industry leadership. You can say to them, “I can write you that great piece and also get it published in this publication and in that magazine.”
Almost everyone is eager to get in front of a wide audience, and they’ll pay you for it because you’re providing them, not only content but also distribution.
Medium publications are a goldmine that gets plenty of views and traction.
This is one tactic we haven’t optimized on here at Week of Saturdays but we’ll get to it soon because it does add up.
If you write a good, relevant post and know publications that publish articles like that, send it in for their review. They just might publish it. And you’ll be amazed how your views skyrocket.
It was a lovely day working and teaching with the team at SFAN. We look forward to sharing so much more of our experience and those of our contributors.