If you are someone who has been struggling as a writer and would like to improve your skills on that, then you may want to pay close attention.
As a person who has been writing content online for nearly 5 years now, as a freelance writer and a blogger, I have to come to learn so many things that have change my writing skills in a huge way.
And my intention with this post to help you tap into all that knowledge and experience I have gathered though the years.
My Brief Background on Writing
I remember it clearly as though it were yesterday when I developed a passion for working online. I barely had a skill I could leverage to make a dime online.
Determination to get the freedom that I heard and imagined online workers have is what pushed me forward.
And after researching a number of online jobs, writing was the one that came out as the simplest to get into.
So I looked for as many writing jobs as possible and registered for all the writing sites I could get my hands on.
Luckily, the freelance writing site that was the easiest to join was Iwriter which allowed me to start working right away.
Although, I have to say that it took a friend of mine to get me started on Iwriter.
He wrote an article, got it rejected and rated poorly by the client who requested for it.
And he gave up.
He then told me about it and I decided to give it a shot to see whether it was the client or Iwriter in general that was tough to work with.
Needless to say, I did manage to become a writer there for a couple of years.
I was even privileged enough to get a client who sent special writing requests that could only be worked on by me, which is a really great feeling.
But I have to tell you upfront that this is not a skill I naturally had in me.
I had to develop it and work hard on it till I got to where I am today.
The account I opened in Iwriter was banned completely and so were many others due to low writing skills and of course some mistakes here and there.
But through learning, researching, applying and correcting my mistakes, I was able to earn thousands from the site.
Why am I sharing all this with you?
I am sure you are wondering, right?
Well, it is show you that no one is born an expert.
Every expert has had to learn, fall, wake up and work even harder to grow.
This was me and it can (and actually should) be you too.
Things I Learned as a Freelance Writer
During my freelancing years, there’s so much that I learned that helped me overcome the hurdles that were in Iwriter to help me be approved for higher levels that earned me twice, thrice and sometimes four to five times the money I got when I started out.
These aspects can be applied to any area of online writing, (some will work for a blog too) and will convert extremely well.
I used to write for bloggers, local marketing companies, entertainment websites, legal websites and so many others and I used the same aspects which rewarded me all the time.
These are the writing aspects I took keen attention on, and which I encourage you to work on as well:
Addressing People in a Friendly Way
If you are going to catch people’s attention and retain it through the entire article, you simply want to speak the “kind of language” they want to hear.
That is the friendly, helpful language.
You want to ask questions that they are really concerned about and let them know that you are able to help them in those areas in your content.
You also want to engage with them in a way that they feel like they are having a conversation with a friend.
Days are gone when people used to be all up tight and official with their audience.
We are far ahead of those days where, even with legal websites, we adddress people in a very official way.
You want to address people like they are your schoolmates, your neighbors, your relatives and all other people you talk to in an informal way.
Think about how Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Amazon addresses you and you will get a better perspective of this.
Understanding the Topic of Discussion Very Well
This is a huge thing in the writing world.
Essentially, you want to give the best content for the client on that topic. And as nature would have it, the client expects that you write content that is accurate, thorough and more informative than all of the client’s competitors.
And to deliver this, you need to spend time in the trenches looking for as much information as possible. You need to read articles on the topic, watch videos, read threads on the subject in forums, and any other source you can get.
This will help you know the topic well enough and have more ideas to discuss within the article.
You don’t want to start writing about something you don’t know a thing about. First, it is very tedious to write because you have nothing in terms of ideas.
Secondly, as a freelance writer, you are setting yourself up for failure. Your article will be rejected, you will be poorly rated and you might even lose the chance of working with someone who would have tipped you and given you more work.
Understanding the Client’s Expectations Very Well
I know I have added “very well” in the last two headlines, and there is a good reason behind that.
See, not all clients are able to clearly state what they want in terms of their desires and expectations. Some will be state everything well and some may leave out some important information while others may not be able to explain things as well as they want.
Your duty as a writer should be to understand what your client expects and if you are to do that, you need to reach out to them.
Ask them questions on areas you don’t understand. Engage them in certain areas to know what they want and in what exact way they want it.
This will not only help you get a clearer idea of how to build the content, but you will also be able to establish relations with them which might come in handy in the future.
Go the Extra Mile For the Reader
This is something I have seen pay off numerous times.
If a reader wants to know about a particular topic and there is another related topic you know will help put things in perspective for them, include it.
Make sure you have satisfied their information “thirst” completely that they won’t need to go somewhere else to top up what they have gotten from you.
Give them the “that was very informative, maybe a little over informative” feeling when they read your article.
But don’t go off topic.
Get your facts right, stick to the topic and make sure you are helping your readers in the line they need help with as good as you can.
An example of this is an article about “How to learn affiliate marketing for beginners”
If it was me, I would first give them a few tips for them to get started with affiliate marketing. Tips I know are reliable and will get them forward.
After that, I will recommend a program that will help them learn affiliate marketing even better.
And I will have researched deeply to give something that is accurate and helpful.
I personally go the extra mile so that I create the opportunity for getting a return visitor to the article.
Always Be Eager to Identify and Work on Weaknesses
No one is perfect, not only in writing but also in any area of life.
Everyone who is close being perfect is the person who is a working progress.
A person who is always seeking to know what weaknesseses are holding him down and work hard on them.
And this is what you should also be doing.
This belief that you are not perfect and you have lots of weak areas you need to be developing is what got me to higher levels in Iwriter.
I would often contact a client I have worked for and ask them what areas they feel I need to improve upon. Some were generous to respond but some didn’t.
And that is life. Sometimes you get, sometimes you lose.
So I would also check the comments left by a client after reviewing my work and try to get a crisp idea of where I lacked in the article I wrote for them.
And this gave me deep insights that sharpened my skills even more.
More Things Learned as an Online Business Owner
Now I am blogger who has been fortunate enough to successfully run a blog for more than 2 years, which is not the best, but still making good progress.
In the blogging world, I have also come to gain more writing skills that I am sure would also be of use to you, if you are planning to run a blog soon.
Or maybe you have one and you are finding it difficult to write good blog posts.
Some of the things I can share with you with regards good blogging are:
Using the CIAO Principle
If you are Italian, I am not saying hello or goodbye to you. Lol.
In writing, CIAO, is a short form of Captivating, Informative, Accurate and Opinionated.
It is a style of writing that is quite effective in blogs.
Most readers want information that is reliable, on point, thorough, interesting and is written from a certain point of view, whether positive or negative.
If you are talking about something you know is not good for the reader, let them know about it.
Don’t sugar coat something that is harmful for them. Doing that is a good way to lose trusted readership.
By giving your truthful opinion, it helps readers know you as a person, and thus trust you.
When they trust you it is much easier to take recommendations from you because they know you are telling the truth and you care for them.
Use Lots of White Space
By this I mean, make sure you have short paragraphs and more spacing in your content.
No one likes to read a post that has no paragraphs, or even paragraphs with 7 sentences each.
If you are like everyone, you want to have short paragraphs in any article you are reading, except for a novel.
Paragraphs with a maximum of 3 lines give visual relief and appear interesting to read.
Combine that with good spacing and you have captured the visual desire of your reader, even before they start reading what you have.
Personally, I can’t count the many times I clicked out of a website that seemed helpful with what I wanted.
Based on the title, it had what I wanted but it was too much work to look for it in the sea of content within the actual post.
So if you have a blog full of posts with huge paragraphs, you will want to do something about it because you are losing more readers than you think.
Even when you are ranked well in Google.
Use Numbered Lists and Bullets
You also want to be using lists within all your content. It has a good visual effect as well as it helps people get what they want with very little effort.
It also helps search engines know what your content is about and you can even find your list featured as a snippet at the top of Google Search Results Pages (SERP’s), which will add more traffic to the post.
Discover Your Style of Writing
It took me a good number of months to finally get my style of writing, right.
It may sound bizarre but it is true.
There is a style of writing within yourself that you should discover that will make all your content lovable and interesting. It might be a humorous style, parable based, slightly official but funny, or some other style.
It all depends on your personality.
If you have a funny personality, you are most likely going to have a funny style of writing, but it is not always the case. With consistent writing (from the bottom of your heart), you will finally achieve it.
Understanding Writing as a Simple Art
While many people may tell you writing is an art which you really need to work hard on and may take you years before you master it, I can tell you for a fact that it is the simplest art I have seen.
An art that you always use everyday, but verbally.
Talking is like writing, expect you are not doing it on paper or some writing tool.
You have an easy time talking to your friends, right?
Well, it is as easy as writing content.
Think of writing as talking or having an informal conversation with people you know who are not physically present.
In fact, the best comparison is like chatting on Instagram or Facebook with your friends.
If you have the mindset of chatting when you are writing, you will notice how easy it gets.
The Gist of it All
And that friends, is what you need to know about writing to get ahead in the game. And if you are wondering whether I can sum all the points I have discussed, yes, I can.
It can all be summed up to 2 steps:
* Researching and understanding what you want to talk about
* Discussing the topic like chatting with a friend
And that’s all there’s to writing!
I hope this post has been useful in helping you understand how to go about writing good posts for your blog or website or doing a good job as a freelance writer.
I also have more posts here that expound on other small but essential writing aspects which will add value to what you have gotten here.
I encourage you to look around to see them.
Also, if you have a problem you would want me to give you a hand with, in writing, please let me know about it in the comments area. I’d be happy to help. 🙂