I spend a lot of time writing for my day job, so I was a bit surprised to find myself struggling to write articles for this website. If you find yourself in the same boat, take a look at these ten picks to help you write great content:
1. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
This is my new writing manual. Ann covers everything in this book, from the “Ugly First Draft” to “20 Things Marketers Write.” I have only one hard-copy book on my desk right now, and this is it. There are two editions: The first was released in 2014, and the second, the “Completely Revised and Expanded” edition, was released in the fall of 2022. There is an audiobook of the first edition but not of the second edition at the time of this writing.
2. Orbit Media Studios Blog
The Orbit Media Blog has excellent articles on various topics like “How to Write a Blog Post That Ranks High: 13 Steps for Writing SEO Articles (plus, high-speed video)” by Andy Crestodina. It is a bit slanted toward marketing, but many of the articles are relevant to anyone writing on the web.
3. Ilona Andrews on Writing
Are you writing fiction? The dynamic duo that forms Ilona Andrews have authored some of the best action/sci-fi/fantasy books I have ever read, hiding under the guise of romance novels (never judge a book by its cover?). Ilona provides pro-writing tips for their fans, whom they affectionately refer to as The Book Devouring Horde (BDH).
4. Building a Story Brand by Donal Miller
“Building a Story Brand” is a marketing book, I argue, that has excellent advice for any writer. Donald Miller explains how to connect with an audience (potential customers) using elements of story writing. These elements include the hero, the problem, a guide, the plan, etc. Even if you aren’t writing marketing copy, you will likely be much more successful if the audience cares about your writing.
5. Need images? Unsplash.com
Images are a must for a blog post these days. Unsplash has spectacular images available for free. They simply ask that you credit the photographer and provide the photo credit text you can copy-paste. Bonus: Are you a developer? Unsplash offers an API to search and integrate their photography with your application or website.
Copyblogger is focused on content marketing but has excellent advice for anyone writing web content. Some example articles include “40 Quick Editing Tips for Writers” and one I am currently reading, “A 3-Step Blueprint for a Brilliant Blog Launch.”
As I write this article, Grammarly running in the background, pointing out my mistakes and suggesting corrections. It’s not perfect but it is a wonderful tool working day and night whenever I write. It is like a friend sitting next to me as I type suggesting improvements. I pay for the premium version. It has been easily worth the investment.
Speaking of tools, Trello is a great tool to capture your writing ideas and track your “work in progress,” or (WIP). You can create and label your own “swim lanes” modeled after your workflow. Click and drag items to the next lane as your idea progress through your workflow to being published.
9. Save your fingers: Use Dictation
Just about every device has some sort of dictation feature nowadays. Instead of typing this paragraph, I am speaking it using Windows 11 dictation. If you are using Windows, give it a try. Just press the window key plus “H” to activate dictation. Dictation is also an excellent feature on your phone for sending text messages.
WordPress has some great features for writers. You can schedule when your posts are published, support for contributors, drafts, and sticky posts so you can keep critical content on top, etc. There are also a ton of WordPress plugins to help you succeed as a writer. Yoast SEO, for example, will help make your post search engine friendly. Don’t go too crazy with the plugins. There is a performance penalty, and unmaintained plugins may introduce security vulnerabilities. Learn how create your own WordPress site here.
What are your favorite resources to help you write great content? Post them below!
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