Remember when your English teacher told you that you’d need to be able to write in order to succeed in your future career? And remember when she deplored the rise of email and texting and the accompanying decline in spelling and grammar skills?
Well, she was right about one thing but wrong about the other.
Writing well is an essential skill in today’s business world – but it’s precisely because of the rise of technology that this skill has become so all-important.
Websites need compelling copy written for each page, carefully crafted to guide visitors through the sales funnel. Blogs are a non-negotiable part of any solid online marketing plan, providing both the fresh content needed to satisfy search engines and the high-quality articles necessary to get social media engagement. And guest blogging, even according to Google’s Matt Cutts, is still one of the best ways to gain credibility as an industry thought leader.
But for all the necessity of writing large amounts of great content regularly, for many, one major stumbling block still remains.
What on earth should you do if you absolutely, positively, undeniably can’t stand writing?
Maybe you’re a solid writer, but you just don’t enjoy the process. Or maybe writing isn’t your strength, and sitting down to a blank computer screen brings flashbacks of high school angst.
In any case, you can breathe easy now, because help has arrived. We’ve put together a list of 7 simple, no-sweat ways to write fantastic content to support your online marketing efforts, even if you hate writing.
1. Speak your blog.
There’s just something about having to write to get your message across that can shut down even the most creative of minds. Everyone gets writer’s block at some point or another – but have you ever heard of anyone getting talker’s block? Once you have a topic in mind, it’s easy to talk about it – writing is what makes it hard.
So don’t. Invest in some speech-to-text software, and talk your way through your blog. Just explain your topic the way you’d explain it to a friend, and voila! Not only is your blog post written, but you’ve even got a friendly, conversational voice built in, to boot. If voice recognition software isn’t your thing, try dictating your blog into a recorder instead, and then transcribing the result. Either way, you’ll be done before you know it, and it’ll be a surprisingly painless process.
2. Hijack other forms of content.
Videos or podcasts may be more your style, and that’s great – but written content is what gets mined by search engines, and as such is crucial in online marketing. Text is necessary – but that doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to text alone! Go ahead and make those videos and podcasts – just be sure to include a transcription underneath. That way, you reap all the benefits of written content, with none of the blood, sweat, and tears.
3. Interview industry influencers.
There’s no form of writing that endows you with more prestige for less work than an interview. All you have to write are some basic questions – which you can reuse time and time again, by the way – and your interviewee takes care of the rest! You end up with an interesting, informative post with expert insight that makes you look good, and all you had to do was put some questions together, and then write a brief intro and conclusion to the whole thing. (And we’re talking brief, as in, “We interviewed So-and-So about (blank), and here’s what he/she had to say,” and then “What do you think? Share your response to So-and-So’s opinions in the comments section below.”)
If you’d rather not come up with a long list of questions for one expert, you can simplify the process even further. Come up with just one great question, and then email several experts to get an answer you can quote from each. Put them together into a list, and you’re done! Nothing could be easier.
4. Make a list.
If you don’t have time to wait for answers to interview questions, you can take your quotations from sources that have already been published – just be sure to give credit where credit is due. Compile a list of great quotes from other blogs in your industry, linking to each one underneath. Not only will this give you a great blog post, but it might also just endear you to those other bloggers, as well, and relationships like that are pure gold in the world of online marketing. You can also assemble lists of popular social media posts, either from other industry experts, or from your own social media pages, or even from your online audience. People love digests like these to keep them up to date on what they may have missed.
5. Share your opinions.
What’s one of the easiest topics to talk – or write – about? A review of something, right? Whether it’s a product, a business, a movie, or a book, it’s easy to tell people what you thought of something, whether you liked it or not, and why. So put together a list of the top 5 best books in your industry, and write a short blurb explaining why you liked each one, or what you learned from it. Or write about a webinar you recently attended, whether you thought it was helpful, and why. When your topic simply is your own personal opinion, it’s much easier to find something to say.
6. Forget spelling and grammar.
One of the biggest obstacles to writing freely can be a fear of making grammar or spelling mistakes. If you become paralyzed by feeling unsure about your writing chops, there are steps you can take. First of all, turn off your spellcheck. Those red and green squiggly lines aren’t doing you any favors. Next, write like the dickens, completely disregarding spelling, grammar, and punctuation – just get your ideas on paper. Finally, get someone else to edit your work. This final step will take away all your worries, allowing you to say what you want, but freeing you from the necessity of being a grammar expert, too.
7. Hire a professional writer.
Of course, the simplest way to rid yourself of those hated writing chores is to hire someone else to do it all for you – someone else who loves writing and enjoys nothing more than spending all day every day crafting the perfect content to fit each client’s needs. (Hey – that sounds like someone we know…hmmm….)
So if you are struggling to write the content you need for your online marketing efforts, try a few of these tips and tricks to see if they make things easier. Or, if you’d rather, give us here at Zen Media a call – we’d be more than happy to help you with your content creation.