So you’ve just been put in charge of your company’s brand-new blog, and the director has given you total creative control. That’s exciting news, right? Except for one tiny detail: you’re not a writer. In fact, if you’re being totally honest, you don’t even like writing.
Now that the written word has become such an integral part of the digital marketing plan, lots of people are finding themselves in this very situation – especially at smaller and mid-market companies, where the resources to hire a full-time content writer may not be available.
This can be very tough on the person who’s been designated to run the blog, especially if there’s not much money for freelancers.
When you add in the fact that the optimal length for a blog post, in terms of SEO and shareability, is 1200 words at a minimum, as MZ’s CEO Shama Hyder relates in her new book Momentum, handling a company blog as a non-writer look even more daunting.
So how do you handle your new role when you’d rather be doing…well, anything else besides stringing sentences together and worrying about grammar?
How do you create a well-written, informative, entertaining blog that people want to read (and that Google approves of, which is important for your SEO)?
Well, the Zen Media content team has some tips for you. We’re writers who are lucky enough to love what we do – so much, in fact, that we even write for fun, not just for work. Crazy, right?
Over our years of writing for different audiences, in different mediums, we’ve picked up tricks of the trade that can make writing easier and even – dare we say it – enjoyable. Take a look.
Whatever you’re writing about, pick an angle that interests you.
At first glance, this might seem like a luxury. You can’t pick any random topic, after all – you and the rest of the marketing team have likely agreed on certain topics related to your industry that you want to stick to. If these topics don’t interest you, then it might seem like you’re just out of luck. (And if this is the case, you’ll want to read our post “How to Write Engaging Content for Even the Most Boring Industry.”)
Not so fast. If this is the situation you find yourself in, then what you need to do is zoom out a bit. Switch your camera angle. Look at the topic not as a finite, complete idea but more as the hub of a wheel. The spokes of that wheel will be angles that are related to that topic.
[bctt tweet=”Whatever you’re writing about, pick an angle that interests you. #contentmarketing #writingtips” username=”marketingzen”]
Take this hypothetical topic: European-inspired furniture. Writing about tables, chairs, lighting fixtures, etc. doesn’t sound like all that much fun at first, unless you’re a carpenter or an interior decorator.
However, once you zoom out and start thinking of all the ideas that relate to European-inspired furniture, you can find all sorts of angles that are both unique and will fit your topic selection criteria, whatever they may be.
Let’s take a quick brainstorming break, and come up with a few ideas. Here we go:
- The history of a certain furniture item, like a chaise
- The best cities in which to shop for antique European housewares
- 5 celebrities with a thing for European home style
- The 15 best blogs on European architecture and design to follow
- The latest trends in Parisian home decor
So here we’ve got a historical angle, a travel angle, a pop culture/celebrity angle, a fashion and style angle, and one idea for a curated piece.
Among these ideas, there’s sure to be something that you’d like to learn more about. That’s the great thing about writing: it’s just as much research and learning as it is putting words together. So when you find a topic that interests you, start with that. It will make the writing process much more enjoyable, and it will probably lead you to another idea that you’ll want to explore.
Curiosity is a writer’s best friend. It’s one of the many things that we all have in spades as children, but that can fade away as we grow up and enter the working world.
If you cultivate curiosity, you’ll find that there are actually tons of topics, ideas, and questions that you’re interested in – a lot more than you might have imagined. And the wonderful thing about curiosity is that it’s a positive feedback loop. Curiosity leads to questions, which lead to knowledge, which in turn leads to more curiosity about something new.
[bctt tweet=”#Contentmarketing tip for non-writers: Cultivate curiosity.” username=”marketingzen”]
This is so important if you’re going to be writing content for your company. Curiosity does two main things:
- First, it gives you the motivation to come up with new ideas for your posts. It urges you to pursue potentially promising tangents, to notice nuances, and identify questions that need to be answered.
- Second, it energizes your writing. Readers can tell when a writer is excited about the topic they’re covering, and it makes the reading experience much more fun. This is one reason it’s so important to find some aspect of what you’re writing about that interests you. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bland, flat piece of content.
Of course, every now and then you’ll probably end up writing a post about something that you just can’t summon a speck of energy for, and that’s ok. It happens – especially when you’re writing lots of content on a regular basis. But if you adopt curiosity as your default, you’ll be a lot more likely to turn out intriguing, educational content that your readers want to not just read, but share.
Curate content as well as create it.
Every writer needs a trick or two to help her get through the really busy times, and curating content is one of those.
When you curate content, you’re selecting some of the best content from around the web and putting it in context for your readers. You’re using your expertise to point them toward the best sources for information on your topic (besides you, of course).
That could mean searching for blogs on home furnishings and home style, reading a few of the posts on each, and putting together a list of the best with a short description of each one. It’ll save you a huge amount of time on writing, while giving your customers a fun, easy, and useful read.
Go visual with infographics, graphs, images, etc.
Not even the hippest vintage typewriter can save you from writer’s block.
No one ever said that creating content had to mean writing day in and out. As visual content continues to skyrocket in popularity, incorporating it into your content offerings and social media posts is a must-do.
There are several good apps and websites that allow you to easily create diagrams, charts, infographics, and more. Many are free, and all you need to get started are the statistics and any other facts that you want to present.
While these can usually stand on their own, incorporating visual elements into your blog posts will also make the piece more appealing to readers, as well as give your brand more authority.
Get a lot of mileage out of the content you create.
One way to cut down on the amount of from-scratch writing you have to do is to make the most out of the content you do create. Did your company just do a webinar? Summarize it in a blog post, highlighting a few of the most pertinent ideas to help hook readers into clicking on the webinar link.
Or how about reports? Try pulling data from one of your recent reports and turning it into an infographic. Put that infographic up on your blog with a call-to-action for readers to download the full report, which you could post as gated content in order to capture email addresses.
Whatever the content you’re creating, chances are you can repurpose it into at least one other piece of content, which will not only amplify its reach – it will also give you a bit of a break.
In today’s digital marketing landscape, there are plenty of marketers who are finding themselves with writing responsibilities that they never had before. But writing doesn’t have to be a chore. For more help with your content marketing, check out our post “How to Brainstorm Content: 6 Ways to Catalyze Ideas.”