14 Tips You Need to Know if You’re New to Creating Written Online Content

So, you like to write and want to create online content? But . . . you have no idea where to start.

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Well have no fear, HowTo350 is here!

As a beginner to creating online content, it’s overwhelming to think about where and how to even start thinking about making something of your own to put out there. Maybe you think creating a weekly blog could be fun, or maybe you want to get a job creating online content. Or maybe you have absolutely no idea what kind of content you want to create, and that’s okay! But this leads into the first tip . . .

 

1. Do your research.

The only way to figure out what kind of written content you want to create is to look into other content already out there online. You won’t know what you want to make until you’ve sorted through plenty of blogs, e-magazine articles or social media posts that tickle your fancy. Although it may seem nerve-wracking to just research written online content if you have no specific direction. Begin by searching general blogs, articles, to see what other people have been creating and soon enough you’ll start to narrow your interests.

 

2. Use other online content as inspiration, but DON’T copy.

As you do your research, you will very likely find articles or posts that inspires you or make you think about your own posts. You should never copy anyone else’s content, but you can use it to your advantage. It’s almost impossible to create completely original online content as most of it will have used other content as sources and so it’s okay for you to do the same. You should cite other online content to give credit if you mention it, use a quote or even just think it relates to your own post. If you ever feel your post is directly copying another, you’re probably right and should figure out another way to incorporate their content into yours.

 

3. Don’t get worried if you’re still confused.

Maybe you’ve been doing your research, reading blogs and watching videos, but you still have no idea or inspiration. Don’t give up! It takes time to figure out exactly what kind of content you want to create. Instead of researching general blogs and articles, look into how-to articles and videos. They can give you more tips and tricks into what steps to take when deciding how to create online content (like the blog you’re reading right now!). YouTube is a good resources to use as it offers many how-to videos such as Max Simon from the channel Big Vision Show. He gives you four basic tips to get you started:
  • Find your medium (which you already have: writing, yay!)
  • Pick a topic YOU feel excited and passionate about
  • Share your personal stories
  • Speak to what’s broken (meaning don’t be afraid to talk about the problems with your topic and what you or others could do to fix them)

4. Don’t forget basic grammar rules.

Just because you’re writing online doesn’t mean you should write like you’re texting. U wuldnt wanna read a post lyke dis wuld u? Of course you can keep your writing informal and fun to read, but keep your grammar correct. Don’t overlook punctuation or capitalization! The Content Factory gives some grammar tips to keep in mind while writing a post:
  1. Semicolons are pretentious
  2. Never put two exclamation marks in the same paragraph
  3. Always put punctuation inside exclamation marks but outside of parenthases
  4. Don’t be afraid to use commas
  5. Always write out numbers from one to ten
  6. DON’T capitalize insignificant words (the, of and etc.)

 

5. Find your voice.

You want to be able to create content in your own unique style. You are an original person and you want to convey who you are and your originality through your writing. Professional writers Neil Patel and Kathryn Aragon provide a nine-step exercise to help you find your voice:
  1. Find five content writers who you enjoy reading
  2. Select a piece of their work
  3. Then select your favorite out of the five and read it slowly
  4. Study how the writer does it: format, structure, etc.
  5. Now try to write an article of your own in a similar format
  6. Do this for each writer
  7. Review the articles and choose the one that sounds more “like you”
  8. Write a sixth article and change one small aspect making it more your own
  9. With each article you write, tweak more and more until it sounds like your own unique voice
In addition, author David Wright gives ten more tips to help find your writing style. This may seem excessive but it will help you to find your own personal style of writing. It’s this little unique touch that will keep an audience coming back to your content.

 

6. Don’t disregard the title of your post.

Sometimes we can be so focused on creating good content in the actual post that we forget about making a good title. But the title is what draws the reader in to your content. You wouldn’t click on an article or blog that didn’t sound interesting to you. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline of online content, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest, so you’ll need to create something that a reader will actually click on and continue to read. You’ll want to use catchy adjective words,use popular search queries such as “how-to” and “what is”, but always keep it short, sweet and to the point. In addition, if you use numbers in your title, studies have shown that digits work better than words, so instead of “five”, write “5”. If you’re stuck thinking of a title, here are some popular and attention grabbing title templates:
  • How to ___ in # Easy Steps
  • # ___ to Consider for ____
  • Why You Need to ___  for ____
  • Why ___ beats ____
  • You Won’t Believe ___
  • Secret to ____
  • # Most Popular Ways to ____
  • How to ____ the Right Way
  • # Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again

7. Keep the reader’s attention with a killer opening sentence.

Okay, so you got a reader to click on your content. Hooray! But now you need to keep their attention with a catchy first sentence. There are a number of strategies to get the reader hooked.
  1. Create a question that can only be answered by reading on
  2. Asking the reader a question directly (Did you know that there are 7 writing mistakes that a spell checker won’t spot?)
  3. Use a quote or an interesting statistic
  4. Try create a sentence that surprises your reader or “swerves them away from what is norm” to keep them interested in where the article is going
  5. Simply try deleting your first paragraph
The last one may seem surprising but an introduction paragraph sometimes can be windy and take too long to get to the point. Deleting it can often get rid of unnecessary padding. This strategy won’t work for everyone and every article, but it never hurts to try.

8. Be consistent with your posts.

As a procrastinator myself, I know how hard it is to stick to deadlines and schedules. But as an online creator, you should be posting quote regularly. As your doing your research, you will be noticing that all the bloggers, people on social media, and article writers are very frequent with their posts. This is what keeps an audience with you. If you create a piece of content that gains an audience, as great as that is, you won’t keep this audience around unless you start posting regularly. Author Victoria Schwab uses a trick to keep her on schedule called the calendar method, explained in her youtube video, where she puts a sticker on a calendar each day to correlate to how much she wrote. This can be used by online creators as well to keep you on schedule and posting regularly until you get the hang of things. You don’t have to use a sticker, you can just write on a calendar or planner and keep track of how much you write each day, what still needs to be done, and when it needs to be done by.

 

9. Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you don’t want to write.

As with all writers, if you’re a novelist, a poet, an online creator, they all get bored or annoyed with having to write consistently. But you have to push through. Being an online creator, your audience will demand you keep a consistent schedule, so you can’t just disappear off the Internet one day and come back a month later and expect you’ll still have your audience. You won’t. They will have moved on to the next best creator. But if you accept that as an online creator you have to keep creating work or you will lose your audience, you will push through. Watching videos with vloggers/writers such as Bookish Pixie and Joshua Voiles can help you as well, knowing that others just like you feel the same way you do and succeed in the end. They talk about how they struggle with this problem as well but force themselves to move past it because of how good it feels to finish your work and to satisfy your fans.

 

10. Keep your content readable.

This may sound obvious but when it comes to online readers, you’ll want to keep things short, sweet and easy to read. Unless you’re marketing towards a certain niche, you’ll need to make your content easy to understand for the majority of the population. Short paragraphs, sentences and syllables will be the most readable. You also want to get to your point right away. If you drag your writing on and on, the reader will lost interest. People searching for content will want their answer quickly, so don’t make them search a sea of words. An easy way to do this is to follow the Classic Essay Composition format:
  1. Tell them what you plan to tell them
  2. Tell them
  3. Tell them what you told them
Introduction, body and conclusion. Simple enough!

11. Design is important.

A reader isn’t going to want to read an article or post that looks ugly. Even if the title and first sentence grab their attention, they want to look at something pretty and easy to read. A nicer layout will not only look nice but will also look like a more credible source than a messy one. Bloggers Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman from A Beautiful Mess share their own tips on how to layout a blog that apply to all online content:
  1. Keep things lined up and neat
  2. Don’t overcrowd your page and embrace the white space
  3. Keep your personal info (social media accounts, email) accessible for your audience to contact you as interaction between a content creator and their audience is very important
  4. Limit your number of fonts to three or less
  5. Dabs of color here and there place visual markers of importance for the reader, but don’t use too much color as it will become a distraction
  6. Background patterns are great and can add to the overall look, but if you use one make sure it fits correctly on the web page

 

12. Don’t be afraid to push yourself.

Sometimes we’ll get “content goggles” when we write in the same style day after day. Although it’s important to keep your unique voice in all of your content, you don’t need to use the same exact format and structure. This will bore your readers. They don’t want to see the same content every time you post; they want to be entertained, taught and excited. That won’t happen from repeated and boring content. Try to see it from your readers point of view. Does this interest me? Does this grab my attention? Do I want to keep reading this?  Don’t let yourself be trapped by false limits. This will crush your creativity. Once you look past what you know and what you’re comfortable with, you will be able to come up with new ideas and try new things for your content.

13. Connect with your audience.

The goal of creating online content is to gain an audience and hopefully, in the long, a returning one. Along with looking at your posts from their perspective, grabbing their attention and keeping consistent posts, you’ll need to interact with your audience. Create social media accounts and an email where they can talk to you. Let them comment on your content and give their reactions. Bloggers Zontee Hou and Megan Gilbert from Convince & Convert which is an online digital marketing advisory recommend that you spend some time getting to know the psychographics of your intended readers. Learn about why (or why not) they’re reading your content or how they feel about the topic you’re writing about. Learn their demographics and really see who you’re creating content for. Interaction with your audience and learning about them will allow you to create content that you enjoy and that your audience wants to read.

14. Don’t stop here.

Continue on with your research in creating written online content. There’s always more tips, tricks and suggestions to be found in a plethora of forms whether it be a blog like this one, a video, an audio, etc. Even when you’ve starting creating your online content and feel comfortable in your style, there’s always going to be more to learn and expand on. Never forget that!

 

Sources:

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