There are many ingredients that go into a successful content marketing recipe. However, just as when you’re making a cake, you need to perfect the basics before worrying about fancy techniques.
The key to creating great content is being a great writer. We’re not all blessed with natural writing talent. But this is definitely a skill that you can develop with practice and by actively taking steps to improve your writing.
Luckily these days you don’t need to pay thousands and spend years studying for an English degree to learn how to write well. There are numerous free and affordable websites, online courses, and software packages that can help improve your writing. And all of them are instantly available to anyone with an internet connection.
Word processing packages like Word are okay for checking spelling. But they’re usually not so great at correcting grammar. They also can’t always pick up typos.
Grammarly excels at correcting and improving your grammar and picking up common mistakes such as using the wrong version of there/their/they’re. It also flags unnecessary or overused words that weaken your writing. This trains you over time to write in a more concise and compelling way.
Additionally, if you’re writing for different markets or audiences, you can switch between American, Canadian, British, and Australian English. This will help you to correct spelling and grammar errors across these different variants of written English.
You can use Grammarly at the website, or you can download plugins for your web browser and MS office to check your work as you’re writing.
2. Hemingway Editor
When you’re writing for the web, it’s a good idea to keep things as simple as possible. People who’ve been trained to write formally often overcomplicate their writing with long sentences and difficult words. This makes text harder to read.
While it will vary depending on your audience, it’s a good rule of thumb to make your writing suitable for 7th or 8th grade level. This means that it will be readable and easy to understand for the majority of people who read it.
Even when you’re writing for a highly educated audience, simplifying your writing means that your readers can get the message you’re trying to convey with your content more easily. There’s also evidence that a more readable website is better for SEO.
Writing at a high reading level can be a difficult habit to break, and that’s where Hemingway comes in. This free online tool grades your writing and gives it a readability score, highlighting where you can simplify it further.
3. Grammar Girl
Once you’ve discovered Grammar Girl it will soon become your go-to source for answering quick grammar queries such as “is it ‘sneaked’ or ‘snuck’, and “when should I use an em-dash?”
Grammar Girl’s tips are published as a series of blog posts on the Quick and Dirty Tips website. As well as improving your grammar, her blog is a fascinating insight into the history of slang and language differences.
She also publishes a podcast covering topics such as the language of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the history of the spelling bee.
4. Daily Page
Like most skills, your writing will improve the more you practice. Daily Page offers creative writing prompts every day so that you get into a daily writing habit. You’ll get an email reminder each day at a time that you choose. You can keep track of how many words you’re writing each day to see your progress.
They also offer structured writing courses covering topics such as storytelling and blogging that have been created by professional writers and editors.
5. Power Thesaurus
Varying the vocabulary you use throughout a piece of content can make it more interesting to read. Using the same words over and over again in your writing will make it appear unprofessional and dull.
If you need an alternative to a word you’ve used too much in your text, a thesaurus will give you several different options to choose from.
Power Thesaurus is crowd-sourced, with suggestions added and rated by other users. It’s also completely free and easy to use.
6. Copywriting 101
Copywriting requires specialist skills to be successful. If you’re writing your content with the aim of promoting your brand or driving conversions, improving your copywriting skills is essential.
Copywriting 101 is a free book produced by the team at Copyblogger. It includes simple lessons covering all the essentials of successful copywriting such as crafting compelling headlines, writing persuasive copy, evoking emotions, and using “power” words.
7. Hubspot’s Blog Post Templates
Successful blog posts tend to follow the same formula. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel every time you start writing, using a template provides a proven structure for your post that will help you to craft a compelling article.
These free blogpost templates by Hubspot provide guidelines for you to write blog posts in a format known to promote engagement and attract links.
The 6 templates include:
- The “how-to” post
- The “what-is” post
- The newsjacking post
- The list-based post
- The pillar page post
- The infographic post.
8. Twinword Writer
You know those moments when you get stuck while you’re writing and you can’t figure out exactly how to express what you want to say?
Twinword is an online word processor that automatically detects when you’re hesitating when thinking about the perfect word to use, and pops up a box with suggestions. You can also click on a word to get alternative suggestions.
Crafting high-quality content takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re currently writing all your own content but it’s not quite up to scratch, outsourcing to a professional can be a great business decision.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books.
Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.