Home Affiliate Marketing Blog 5 Content Writing Hacks Every Marketer Should Know

5 Content Writing Hacks Every Marketer Should Know

5 Content Writing Hacks Every Marketer Should Know

By now I am sure you’re ready to tar and feather the next person who tells you “Content is King.” But as much as we’re tired of hearing it, it’s always true.

Content writing is just part of the job description if you want to be a successful online marketer. For some people it comes naturally, and they can crank out content like rabbits have babies. For others it’s a hair-pulling, eye-gouging, fingernail-pulling torture session that they wouldn’t wish on their worst enemies.

Those who loathe the process but know the power of good content writing will often hire it out to others. But good content costs money and especially if you’re just starting out, that is something that is often in short supply.

To help ease your content writing woes, we’ve assembled our top five content writing hacks. These will save you time and money (if you were thinking about outsourcing), plus make you actually look forward to putting fingers to keyboard.

Hack #1: Find the Flow by Eliminating Distractions

To really start cranking out content, you need to get into the flow.

You know the flow; it’s that state of mind where the words are just flying out of your brain onto the screen and everything is rainbows, sunshine and puppy kisses.

It’s not a phenomenon only reserved for writing. Everyone from athletes to professionals enter this magical zone of extreme efficiency and proficiency.

The easiest way to find this pot of leprechaun's writing gold is to eliminate distractions. Study after study has proved that people do not function as well when they multitask or are distracted. It might not seem like a big deal to glance over at your email, check your Words with Friends game or answer the phone but it kills your productivity. Spotting your writing, doing something else and then coming back to it will reset your mind and you’ll waste time having to find your place again. 

Yes, you can write with a hundred other things going on, but you’ll write a whole lot better if you just focus on the task at hand.

Here are some key flow killers that you need to put the kibosh on today:

  1. Things that Chirp, Vibrate and Beep: Email notifications, text messages, app updates and phones have been scientifically designed to get our attention and yank us away from whatever we were doing before. Don’t tempt fate by even having the option available. Close distracting programs, mute or turn off your devices and do your best to shut out the world for a bit.
  2. Consuming Content: Consuming content while creating content is very hard. That means don’t try to write while watching TV or movies. The only exception to this rule is music. Many people find music the perfect agent to block out the outside world, motivate and help you focus. If you are going to listen to music, have a playlist setup or something you don’t have to constantly change. This will take you away from your writing and kill the flow.
  3. Block Out the World: If you’re a digital addict and just can’t help yourself from being distracted while writing, use distraction killing programs like Darkroom or WriteRoom. These programs give you a full-screen writing environment that blocks out everything else.
  4. Write at the Right Time: You know your life and yourself. You know there are times that you work better than others and when distractions are at a minimum. Maybe it’s before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Maybe you’re a night owl and work best at the witching hour. Everyone is different so figure out when you’re the most productive and work then.

Hack #2: Dealing with Writer’s Block

No matter how awesome of a writer you are, there are going to be times when nothing is coming out. Or maybe it is coming but it’s complete rubbish.

Something’s not clicking and all you want to do is toss your laptop out the nearest window. It’s the dreaded writer’s block! But don’t fret, you can destroy this deadline killer several ways.

  1. Do Some Research: Maybe things are flowing because you just don’t have enough info to put all the pieces together. Go back a couple of steps and do some more research to see whether anything new jumps out at you.
  2. Reorganize: Often writer’s block is a symptom of not organizing your research and thoughts well enough. Make sure you have an outline for your piece and that it makes sense.
  3. Write Anything: As silly as it might seem, I learned this trick from the movie "Finding Forrester." Sean Connery plays a famous writer who becomes a shut-in and eventually tutors a young writer from the neighborhood. During a bout of writer’s block he gives him a magazine article to type out. The act of putting fingers to keys can often clear the mind and get you over the hump. Likewise, if you’re having an issue with one section of your piece, like the opening, skip it and start on another part. Come back to the problem areas later.
  4. Go Do Something Else: Get up and partake in some activity you enjoy. Go play with your  kids, the dog, fire up the Xbox, go to the gym or something that gets you away from the computer screen and gets you out of this funk.  

Hack #3: Write Scannable Content

Once you are actually writing always remember to keep blocks of text short.

When people consume online writing, they usually don’t truly read it the first time around. They scan it instead. To be more precise, they scan it in  "F"  or "E" shaped patterns. That means they start at the top section, read the next section and then scan the rest. Sometimes they read the last section.

In order to take advantage of this behavior, do the following:

  • Use strong hooks and other engaging content in the beginning of your piece to get them to continue reading.
  • Break up your content into small blocks. This will give your piece the illusion that it is easy to read and not dissuade the reader from continuing.
  • Use sub headlines to break up the content even more.
  • Bullet points and lists make it very easy for people to scan. Just look at this post!

Hack #4: Stop Being Self-Centered

I know your parents, kindergarten teachers and therapists told you that you are a unique snowflake and the greatest thing since sliced bread. And though I don’t know you all that well, I’m sure it’s true.

But here’s a secret…. No one else cares.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the people reading your content only care about what’s in it for them. They want to know about the benefits of your product or service and get the information they came for. 

They don’t care about you, so don’t waste valuable space writing about yourself. Interjecting personality is fine or if a personal story helps sell your product (ex: I weighted 300 pounds, took this pill and now I weigh 150) that is OK. But don’t prattle on about yourself — that’s what your Facebook page is for. Also make sure you’re not just listing features of the product/service without tying that into a benefit for the customer.

Hack #5: Give Clear Calls to Action

You have to tell people what you want them to do or they won’t do it.

It’s not that people are dumb or that you have to write for some sort of lowest-common denominator. Often they just need to be reminded, guided and prodded to take the action you want them to take.

Don’t expect that just because you have a nice big opt-in form in your sidebar that they will naturally find it and sign up. Tell them, several times if possible, that they should sign up. Pound it into their minds that the next step is to sign up.

Bonus Hack: Spinning

Please note, the following hack is only to be used in very specific circumstances. Misuse this and you can find yourself with very unhappy readers and even more unhappy search engines.

If you need to create large amounts of content for link-building purposes, then spinning is one heck of a time saver.

For those who don’t know, spinning is a process where you take a single piece of content and use a program to add variations which are then combined together (spun) to create new content.

Example:

  • Original Text: Blue widgets made in Chicago are the best.
  • Spinning Syntax: {Blue|Navy| widgets|cogs made|manufactured in Chicago are the best|ultimate}
  • Possible Output: Navy cogs made in Chicago are the best

That one sentence will produce several variations. You can also spin sentences and paragraphs together and literally create thousands of variations from one article.

The down side is that the quality will not always be the best. The more variations you put in, the more likely some combination isn’t going to sound right. Spun content should be heavily edited when possible to make sure it’s readable.

The best place for content of this ilk is places where you need content to build a link but most likely your clients will never read it. Deep links, social bookmarks and other link sources at the bottom of your  link pyramids is where this stuff belongs.

Never put spun content on your main site!

Get Paid to Practice

The great news about content writing is that most people don’t like doing it and will pay others to do it for them. If you have the slightest bit of skill you can easily get a freelance gig writing content and hone your skills even more.

The quickest way to explore this market is to sign up for a freelance community like Upwork. Here you can list your skills, verify them by taking some easy tests and then apply to jobs that other people post.

Writing is a skill like anything else; you get better the more you do it. Flex those writing muscles by picking up some freelance work and you can improve your craft while also making a few extra bucks.

Avoid Perfection

Now that you are armed with our favorite writing hacks, you are well on your way to creating quality content consistently without completely dreading it.

We harp on creating quality content, but quality doesn’t mean perfection. Don’t get down on yourself if you’re not tossing word salads like Stephen King or Dan Brown. You’re providing information online about products and services you’re trying to sell, not win the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to good enough to convince your reader to do what you want them to do.

What are your favorite hacks for producing good content? Let us know in the comments! 

3 Comments Add your comment
  • Reply Wayne Akins • 1561 days ago

    Adam,
    This has been very helpful. I am just getting started with affiliate marketing and though I like to write, I have found it a bit daunting to post on a regular basis. Your suggestions about focusing by eliminating noises really resonated with me. I find noise distractions particularly hard to ignore especially when I am having writer's block. I will use your tips to assist me in becoming a more prolific writer.

    Keep up the good work. I will be listening.

  • Reply Shaishav Sood • 1559 days ago

    You are very right in saying that multitasking can distract you to write a good post. It happened with me many a times.. I start writing than suddenly a call comes and the flow is broken.. It becomes very difficult for me to bring those words back into my mind.

    Spinning can be good but you still need to play with words manually...

    the first hack for me is the best hack .. finding the flow and once your in flow, you can write beautiful stories, posts or whatever you want to ...

    But otherwise altogether good post and good hacks ..

  • Reply Ewritingpal 1547 days ago

    Hello,
    Is Spinning good to do for SEO content? As Google is now very strict regarding to content so We need to more aware. I liked your line "quality doesn’t mean perfection".

    Thanks
    ewritingpal.com/

    Melissa Johnson1543 days ago

    Hey, there!

    Spinning should only be used on content that you are using primarily for creating back links. It should never be put on your main or "money" site.

    If you do decide to spin, make sure you do the following:
    1. Provide value
    2. Make sure it's readable and makes sense
    3. Spin it so it's more than 75 percent unique... the more unique the better.

Post a Comment Sign in