You have a title, a topic and a rough idea of what your conclusion will look like. Now what?
For many writers, experienced or not, this is the hardest part of content creation: turning a rough idea into a concise and organized article, blog post or email.
Here, I’ll share some tips you can use to write clearer and better organized content.
1. Create an Outline
We already discussed the value of outlines in a previous post, but it’s worth repeating here.
For the sake of keeping things clean and simple, five paragraph essay outlines (yes, like the ones you wrote in school) can be surprisingly helpful.
Depending on the type of content you’re writing, the contents of your introduction and body paragraphs may vary. For example, if you’re creating a blog post on a recent report, you’ll probably want to include an interesting statistic in the introduction and expand on other statistics in the body paragraphs. Or, if you’re writing a how-to article, you can explain the value of your article in the introduction before breaking your advice into several body paragraphs.
The important thing is that you have a short and sweet introduction, a few fleshed-out body paragraphs and a strong conclusion bolstered by a call to action (CTA).
2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
No matter what type of content you’re writing, it’s essential to always keep your main point in mind. This is what can stop you from going off on tangents, exploring unrelated topics or simply getting lost in the process.
One of my favorite ways to stay focused on the end goal is to write the title of my content before anything else. Don’t worry if you haven’t thought of the perfect title yet: that’s what working titles are for.
If you’re not exactly sure what the main point of your article will be, enter some keywords into HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator for a helpful list of title and topic ideas.
While it’s designed to help bloggers, it can be used to define the point of any type of content.
3. Trim the Fat
I, more than anyone, know how difficult it is to trim unnecessary words from your writing. However, doing so can vastly improve the quality of your content.
While long-form content offers a little breathing room to those of us who are a tad overzealous with our vocabularies, short-form content (such as brief blog posts, email blasts or social media updates) should be as concise as possible.
After all, if you’re only working with 140 characters, like in Twitter, every word should be deliberate and impactful.
While you don’t have to scrap the majority of your first draft, trimming needlessly flowery language and long-winded explanations can make a big difference.
Do you have any advice for creating clearer, more organized content? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below!