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Practical Ways to Improve Your Copywriting Skills

& get more freelance writing gigs

· Work and Travel,work online,freelance

Are you looking to improve your copywriting or content writing skills? Would you like to land some more freelance writing gigs? Look no further. Here are some tips which will help you to become an even better writer, and ultimately help you on your way to freelance writer success.

Find out if you are qualified to write about the topic.

Before you start writing or even researching the topic, write down everything you know about it. Do you have experience in this particular field? Have you been affected by whatever you’re writing about? Can you give an informed but non-biased opinion on the topic?

Find reliable sources.

Where did you do your research and was the information you got from a reliable source? Never use sources such as Wikipedia, Quora, Reddit and other social media platforms, where information can be added and edited by the general public.

Just because you read it on the internet does not mean that it is true!

Learn how to use Google correctly.

Despite using Google every day, many people are not aware how to use the search engine to the most efficient level.

Tips for becoming a better content writer: Learn how to use Google correctly
  1. Instead of searching words separately, search specific phrases by using inverted commas. Eg “My Travel Tribe”. This is useful for article titles and for author- and company names
  2. Use - to exclude a term from the search. Eg. -holiday
  3. Use ~ to include similar words in the search Eg. ~holiday will bring up vacation, mini-break, getaway etc…
  4. If you want to ensure certain words are in the title use Intitle: Eg. Intitle:Bali
  5. Use Site: Filetype: Author: and Define: followed by your preferred search words to get specific searches Eg. Author:Brown will search for papers by Brown rather than just papers including the word Brown.

Organise all the information you have into paragraphs.

Write down absolutely everything you know about your topic, including information acquired through online research and personal experience.

There are many different ways to organise all the information in your head - you can write on sticky notes, use good ole pen and paper or type up everything in a word document. Match similar pieces of information which can make up a vague idea.

Organising your ideas to become a better content writer

After you have your vague ideas, you should make subcategories, arguments and further points within these categories. Write them all down, count your soon-to-be paragraphs and figure out roughly how many words you will need per paragraph.

Set a timer and write write write. Edit later.

The phrase “Write drunk, revise sober” is famously misattributed to Ernest Hemingway, but nevertheless it’s a statement to work by.

Even if you don’t have anything to write, just start writing. Set a timer for 30 minutes and write until you hear it beep. If you can’t think of anything to write, start with “I can’t think of what to write so I’m just typing for the sake of it bla bla bla.” Some thoughts will eventually come, and when they do, get them down on paper as quick as possible. Do not edit until after the timer beeps.

Spelling and grammar isn’t important either. You can go back and change your writing in the editing stages. No one else is going to see this but you. This method helps you to be creative and to jot down the first and best ideas that come into your head.

Work for 52 minutes, and then break for 17 minutes.

The top 10% of productive people use some kind of timing method to stay on top. Working for hours on end with no break means you may work slowly and unproductively. Having a deadline and putting positive pressure on yourself means you are forced to get shit done. You can work harder and smarter for 52 minutes and then take a well-deserved rest for 17 minutes.

Why 52 and 17?

use a timer to be most productive when doing content writing

According to a study done by DeskTime, 17 minutes is the optimum time for your brain to recover and give you enough energy and focus to start working again, and 52 minutes is long enough that you can get invested in something and get some work done before taking a break.

Don’t read other people’s articles on a topic right before you start writing.

I know it’s tempting, but don’t research your work right before you start writing. Leave at least an hour or two before writing an article in order to avoid accidental plagiarism. Even if it feels like you are using your own words, you may be overly influenced by the articles you have just read.

If straight after watching or reading something, you start to write, you may end up presuming that your readers know exactly what you know. You can get caught up in the middle of complicated issues, explaining the crucial in-depth points before you’ve touched on the basics.

When reading back over your work, read it out loud.

When proofreading your writing, always read out loud. You will catch more mistakes this way.

It’s important to have your audience in mind when writing, and similarly I like to pretend I am one of my readers when I am proofreading my work. Bonus points if you can impersonate them.

Tips for becoming a better copywriter: Proof read your work out loud and print it off

Printing off your work and reading it off physical paper can also help you to catch small mistakes.

Never ever use big words just for the sake of using big words.

Using complicated words does not make your writing better. Your audience isn’t reading your work to be impressed by the extent of your vocabulary. In fact, by using everyday non-complicated language, you can help your readers to better understand what you are saying.

Tips for becoming a better content writer: Stop overcomplicating language

If it doesn’t sound natural or like a real person then it won’t flow, and nobody wants to read an article that is stilted and difficult to read. The most important thing is that you provide value for your readers, and your writing should be engaging and easy to read.

Keep a constant narrative.

If your title is “How you can become a better writer”, make sure the majority of the narrative is in the “you” form.

Be careful when choosing your narrative. Sometimes using “you” sounds too strict and can come across as almost nagging, but “I” can also be considered self-centred or as wishy-washy.

Perfecting your writing ‘voice’ takes time, but it’s easier if you can keep your readers in mind while writing.

How to become a better freelance writer: Keep a constant narrative

Know when it’s suitable to use slang and made up words.

Sometimes made up words are so much better at describing exactly what you mean.

You can create your own onomatopoeic words to perfectly describe a situation, sound or feeling, or hyphenate a group of words to quickly and lazily describe events.

Your words could be incorporated into the dictionary - just like selfie and youthquake were! Just make sure to use made-up words appropriately and not to overdo it!

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