10 writing rules for good content creation
Use real words.
It’s probably a lot more of a challenge than you’re thinking. The internet has given the option to see the real people behind the markets. Not just “demographics” or “segments.”
Write in a way that feels natural instead of just trying to do what you assume is correct. So you should be communicating with real people. There is value in speaking with real words.
Being a good writer is about being authentic and communicating with your audience. Buzzwords and jargon are an easy go-to but you shouldn’t use them often.
Use an active tone.
Verbs in a sentence are either active or passive. Some people believe that means past tense and that’s completely false. It means something is “happening” to something. Rather than it being active on it’s on own.
Generally, you want to use an active voice and not passive. It’s not that using passive is wrong, but it doesn’t build engagement. Active brings more energy to your writing.
Passive voice ends up sounding awkward as if you’re learning a new language.
Passive: The car was driven by a guy named Mike.
Active: A guy named mike drove the car.
Passive: Johns intro song is rarely played on YouTube.
Active: YouTube rarely plays Johns intro song,
Don’t overuse the adverbs.
Most writers use adverbs way too much. They throw them in even when they aren’t necessary. I actually like them a lot and use them way too much as well.
I looked for ways when they were okay to use. You usually don’t need an adverb when the verb itself isn’t too weak. But you can also use an adverb to change the entire meaning of a verb.
You should aim to make sentences shorter and simpler. There isn’t as much value if you don’t create great imagery. You can use words like surged instead of increased to create a powerful effect.
Try not to use cliches.
A cliche is an unoriginal thought. Either overused simile or metaphor. It’s best to dodge cliches with “everything you got”. Lazy writers use cliches as business platitudes.
These get inserted into writings with almost no forethought or intention, like a reflex. They don’t add context to your content and are just a waste.
You’ve heard most of them already and I’m sure you know how annoying they are. When used, they can add tremendous value. Think back to square one. You get the gist.
Break some grammar rules.
It’s fine to start sentences with But. I know your teacher would’ve taken off points in high school. But you’re not writing for a grade anymore. You can break sentences into fragments. It’s fine. You create emphasis. Well, usually. Like then. Or that time. Exactly!
Write paragraphs that are only one sentence. One sentence set apart is enough to make a genuine point. All that matters is that you stay engaged and communicate value.
I’m not kidding, write how you want. You don’t have to worry about grammar rules when you’re creating value content. You just have to focus on how you can benefit your audience.
Think of writing as a habit.
You can say that only the gifted may write. But that’s an excuse no matter what you say. Anyone can develop the skills to write if they just stop and decide to work for it.
You assume most great writers have some amazing routine and just flow with creativity. That’s false. Most of them just sit in front of the paper or a computer.
It’s way more about scheduling and organizing than just coming up with genius content. Becoming a great writer takes more commitment than expected. You have to prepare yourself to give it your everything.
It only gets easier.
Shed high school rules.
College Board officials announced sweeping revisions to the SAT college entrance exam. The 5-paragraph essay has now become entirely optional as a part of the test.
You learn that the basic steps to a paragraph are:
- Body paragraph one
- Body paragraph two
- Boy paragraph three
This structure was fine at some point. But to create engaging and entertaining content, you can’t follow one basic structure. That would be treating it as if everyone has the same tastes.
It’s time to let the scholastic styles of writing go. We now create content for many styles of content and not just paper. Everyone doesn’t have love for a single style.
Plan before you write.
This helps with uncertainty and how big the task feels before you start. You already have some process in place to follow. It keeps you from feeling stuck or lost before you even engage in the activity.
When I was in middle school and still learning to write, you would only focus on the end. The teachers put an emphasis on the final draft over the rough draft.
You have to become engaged in the process though if you want to create high-value content. The process is one of the most important steps in generating value. You need a road-map to get where you want to be.
Accept the rough draft.
It’s almost expected that the first draft is ugly. That’s still not an excuse to produce lazy content. This is an important part of the process to produce value content.
Much of the problem with writers’ block is having too high of an expectation for yourself. You are not some kind of deity that can just create amazing things out of nothing. Even the people you think of as great writers have ugly first drafts.
You should first think about exactly what it is you want to say. You should be able to walk away and take a break. Writers shouldn’t be in resistance to having to re-write your content either.
Develop empathy in your tone.
Some people have high empathy. If you’re one of those people you already have a great advantage. Some of us have to work a little harder, and a little bit more to get into the customer mindset.
To create good content you have to have empathy for your audience, their situations, and goals. Empathy for your audience should be the baseline for any content you create. If you’re creating content just for SEO you’re wasting time.
There are some steps you can take to generate empathetic value in your content.
- Spend time with your audience and engage.
- Understand where they thrive.
- Always ask why about yourself.
- Question what the reasons are for what they do.
- Tell stories and not just information.
- Make your point of view customer oriented.