It’s no secret that good content generates interest, communicates expertise, and builds trust. But in our haste to create content, we may forget that key adjective, “good.” Who better to offer us instruction in how to create quality writing than the writing masters? Here are five tips gleaned from a few of the best.
1. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King
Good content requires good sources. Even if you’re writing mainly from your head, you’ll want to include quotes, statistics, studies, illustrations from current events, and other outside-your-brain sources. And to do that, you’ll need to spend some time reading. One of the best things you can do if you’re writing content is to set up an RSS feed through a service like Feedly to serve as a hub for helpful blogs and websites. As much as you can, read outside your industry. You’ll find valuable things you can apply to your own field.
2. “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison
It’s a winning recipe for a business, and it’s a winning recipe for content: match a not-yet-in-existence solution to an existing market need. If you know an article or book would be helpful to people but you can’t find it anywhere, write it!
3. “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” ― Mark Twain
Good writers are students of vocabulary. They don’t settle for the first word that comes to mind. They don’t rely only on the popular words they hear every day. The English language is rich with words that are available to describe exactly what you intend. Use them!
4. “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath
It’s true. You can write about anything. I’ve written business articles based on truths and illustrations from bike maintenance, physical training, encaustic art, training dogs, moving, and a myriad of other subjects. Personal experience is full of incredible material just waiting to be mined.
5. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ― Robert Frost
Before your readers will care about what you’re writing, you must care. Your passion for your subject (or lack of it) will come through in your writing. Choose topics that interest you, that you know will make a difference. Immerse yourself in your writing. Put your whole self into it.