Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Quality Content
There are many aspects of life that require you to have quality writing skills. College essays, résumés, college applications, and even sending love letters are all much more successful when they are backed by good writing.
There are also numerous careers that require excellent writing skills and many pay really decent money. These include editors, content marketing managers, copywriters, transcriptionists, scriptwriters, and those working in advertising.
Writing is without a doubt an essential skill that can really help you in so many areas of life. Creating engaging content or being able to clearly communicate a message is only accomplished through skilled writing.
If you have not yet mastered the art of quality writing, and find yourself relying on a paper writing service to help you with that college essay you’re struggling with or want to pursue a career which requires you to have proper writing skills, then follow these vital steps to assist you in writing more quality pieces of work.
Decide Who Your Audience Is
Knowing who you are trying to reach with your writing should be the first step to producing quality content. This should be done even before you decide what it is you want to write about. Think about it, when writing a love letter, you are of course thinking about the person you are writing to. When applying for a job, you are tailoring it to a specific company and what you think they are looking for.
Failing to know and understand who your audience is can see even great pieces of writing prove ineffective. If your writing is too fanciful or complex and your audience is young adults or those that may not understand or be drawn to the language and style of writing you choose, then you will fail to grab their attention or they may not fully understand what it is you are trying to say.
You need to appeal to your target audience and that means using words that they can clearly understand and writing in a style in which they can relate to. Writing that is targeted towards older retirees for example will and should look much different than a piece of writing aimed at young teenage girls.
Once you know who exactly your audience is, it is then your job to fully research whatever that demographic is and engage with your audience, finding out what it is they want to read about and how they want to consume that information.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and learn what motivates your target audience to take whatever action it is you want to have happen whether that’s hiring you for a job, purchasing a product, or accepting a date invite in the case of a love letter.
Choosing Topics to Write About
There are quite literally endless topics to write about. Some pieces of writing such as an assigned school essay or résumé will obviously serve up the topic for you. Someone like a blogger or journalist on the other hand may need to get creative to produce content that is either needed or wanted by people.
Choosing a topic sadly doesn’t always mean writing about something you’re passionate about either. While it would be great to always write about things that interest you, the sad reality is that what you like to write about may not necessarily pay the bills or get you a result you are hoping for.
You have to learn to write about things that others want to read and produce it in a way that will give you whatever result it is you are after. It means respecting a subject and your audience even if you don’t necessarily like a subject or normally associate with the target audience you’re trying to reach.
Whatever topic it is that you’re writing about, remember to stay on topic and don’t get sidetracked with thoughts that don’t add to the topic you’re writing about. While writing about topics that interest you may help keep you passionate about your writing, use an opportunity of writing about something you may not be as interested in as a learning experience to discover more about the world.
Research Your Subjects
Choosing a subject to write about is one thing, but you do have a moral obligation and possibly a legal obligation in some cases to actually thoroughly research your chosen topic so you’re not offering inaccurate information or advice.
Writing things that are untrue or inaccurate, whether it’s due to ignorance or maliciousness, can be dangerous. Claiming falsehoods on a job application may get you hired by an employer but it will likely become clear quickly if you overstated your qualifications or lied about important details.
If you’re writing a piece that relates to medical issues for instance and you offer up inaccurate advice, it could end up harming someone or worse. Not doing your homework when it comes to writing a college essay in terms of doing research will likely see you receiving poor marks.
Writers that research their pieces of work show they are serious about their job or mission. Research helps to reinforce your story and give it substance. Most readers can see through crappy messages pretty quickly and you should always assume people will fact check things they read, which of course can easily be done with the internet these days.
Support your writing with facts and figures, accurately citing sources which we will cover further in a minute. Reinforce your writing with quotes, stats, anecdotes, historical facts, interview snippets, and whatever else can prove you know what you’re talking about.
Better research not only produces higher quality writing and more helpful content for your readers, it will also make your writing faster and easier as you don’t have to constantly fictionalize thoughts or ideas.
Write in the Correct Style
The style in which you write will depend upon what it is you are writing for. Magazines often require writing in a different style than let’s say a blog post. Various companies and situations will often have set writing styles you are either forced or expected to follow.
College students will quickly realize that there are often many different writing styles they need to adopt and they often need to understand what specific style each of their professors expects from them.
Writing styles are determined largely by your audience, purpose for writing, or what company you’re writing for and you’ll be wise to adhere to any guidelines. Writing styles include narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive.
When you are writing for a company or submitting writing as freelance work, you may also need to adhere to various style guides that an organization sets up as a standard for how content should be written. This is done so companies can stay consistent with the content they deliver to their readers in terms of tone or how they want to be viewed by their target audience.
Style guide requirements may include things like adhering to strict word counts, following a certain tone, avoiding the use of metaphors or superfluous words, spelling out numbers as opposed to using numerals, or how you capitalize headings.
Proofread Your Work
Whether you’re writing for a professor or a stranger sitting in their couch reading your piece, nobody likes seeing typos or poor grammar. Poor writing in terms of errors can see you lose credibility with readers or see them respect your writing and any message you’re trying to express much less than they would otherwise.
It goes without saying that the English language has countless grammar rules and things can get confusing in terms of spelling when it comes to American English vs. British English. Things to worry about include misspelling words, using incorrect punctuation, verb tense errors, pronoun errors, overuse of prepositional phrases, using double negatives, and fragmented sentences.
While all these rules may seem stressful, thankfully we do have things like spell check and proofreading services to assist you. One way to write with fewer errors is to read content produced by well-known quality writers. The more quality writing you consume the more you will produce.
Proofreading your work not only helps you catch grammatical and spelling errors, but also whether you’ve adhered to style guidelines, stayed on topic, and wrote your piece with your target audience in mind.
Read your writing out loud to see how well it flows. Sometimes hearing your sentences can make you realize it could or should be written differently to sound better. Don’t be afraid to rewrite pieces of your content, as the proofreading and editing stages can often take longer than initial drafts.
Lastly, if you do make errors, know that it isn’t the end of the world. Even top writers and big name publications see errors slip through the cracks from time to time. The goal is to simply keep errors to a minimum and build a reputation for being a good writer. Your reputation won’t be tarnished with occasional minor errors.
Any good writer uses credible sources and cites the contextual information as required. Use legitimate sources when citing any quote or data as it helps build credibility. As we have already stated, citing sources will help support your arguments. Having credible sources also helps you to avoid plagiarism in your writing. It is easy to be called out for plagiarizing without properly citing your sources.
Of course, how you cite sources will depend on the type of writing you’re doing and how you are using the information you gathered for your piece. You may need to mention authors in a sentence that introduces your citation or simply make use of things like footnotes or endnotes.
It’s also important to understand that there are different forms of citation for different situations. In other words, how you cite sources for a newspaper or magazine will differ from a blog article or media release for example.
Add Images or Infographics
Lastly, as much as quality writing can capture the attention of readers, the truth is that many of us tend to get bored quickly. Social media and endless scrolling has turned us into people who like to constantly be hit with ever-changing sights and sounds.
One way to keep your readers engaged is by adding images to your writing or infographics in the form of bar graphs, timelines, geographic infographics, or hierarchal infographics. Adding imagery or something other than simply paragraphs of words offers your readers a break while keeping them entertained.
Adding images and infographics can also help readers better understand what you are trying to say or help persuade them even further to do what it is you wish them to do, whether that’s purchase a certain product or hire you for a job.
The truth is that if you don’t provide images to writing, readers will visualize things for themselves and it may not be what you the writer intended. We have all experienced cases of being disappointed or confused when a movie adaptation of a popular book comes out and it doesn’t mesh with what we thought a character or place looked like in our heads when we read the book.
These tips will hopefully see you writing higher quality pieces of content. The more you read and write, the better your writing will get over time. And as we have already discussed, quality writing can help you excel in so many areas of your life.