One year and a day ago, I was writing a post for my blog.
The post was just a normal post. At the time, I just wrote it and left it in the blog archives. And then, nearly a year later, wrote another post. The two posts were written by the same person: me. But I was shocked when I read both of them together. I couldn’t believe a simple fact. My writing had changed. It had improved.
And the scary thing was: even though one year had passed, I hadn’t really spent much time on obsessively improving my writing. Yet the facts were there. More people were visiting my blog now. More traffic. Why?
The difference in my writing.
With time, our writing improves if we stick at it
When I was writing a year ago, I didn’t know copywriting. I didn’t really know what made an awesome blog post, and I didn’t know how to market my blog so that people visited it.
In short… I didn’t know how to write killer content. And that’s what a big no-no in blogging.
The post I wrote on September 2, 2009 was Writing and Creating New Worlds. This post never got any traffic and response, and for a very good reason.
It just wasn’t good.
On August 31, 2010 I wrote a post called 7 Questions to Consider When Writing. It’s a world apart from the post I wrote nearly a year ago, and just in case you wanted to know, it’s far better.
Today, I’m going to compare the two posts and tell you how and why my writing has improved. Forget the theory — this is the practical “nitty-gritty.” You’ll learn how I:
- Wrote a post which offered no benefit to the reader
- Made that post a miserable failure
- Moved on and kept writing
- Learned copywriting the easy way
- Learned what was keeping you up at night
- Wrote another post after a year (note: this doesn’t imply that I didn’t write any posts between that time; it’s just used for comparison purposes)
- Used all the common sense recommendations with my own touch
- And managed to publish a post which I’m proud of.
So without more babbling, I’m going to show you how I did all the above. Let’s begin!
Start writing and make your posts miserable failures
Back in September 2009, I was writing a novel (still am, it’s in development). So I figured it would be “cool” to write a post about creating new worlds, a subject that interested me. So I wrote the post. The post was three paragraphs long, and quite short (note: the paragraphs were very big and there was extremely little whitespace between them). Not only did I not split the text into smaller paragraphs, the post had one substantial mistake: it offered no benefit to the reader.
By reading it, the reader’s life could not be improved in any sense. It did not entertain, inform or educate. It was even difficult to read (the big blocks of text made it that way). Even the title wasn’t compelling. So you could definitely ask: “Why should I read this post?” And conclude: “It isn’t worth it.”
I made the post a miserable failure by failing to incorporate recommendations like using metaphors, making the introduction easy to read, telling stories or asking “Yes” questions. No lists, no subheads, no formatting. Not even a conclusion. Just three long paragraphs of rambling narrative. Looking back, I have to say “Yuck! Did I really write that?” Yes, I did. It was all good for me though, read on to find why.
And hence the post swiftly became one of the worst posts I’ve ever written.
Don’t get discouraged and keep writing
If I had chosen to stop at that critical moment, no doubt this blog would not exist today. If I had really chosen to say “My writing sucks. I’m going to quit.” then my writing would not be so good today, and I doubt that I would even be writing this post. So what made me decide to keep writing? The reason is simple. It was simply because…
I loved writing.
Yes, that’s it. Writing was one of my earliest hobbies, and I think that I was lucky at that moment simply because of that (the fact that writing was a hobby of mine and not a task that hated). The takeaway: I kept writing.
It was an uphill and a difficult journey. Yet I loved every minute of what I was doing, and with a killer determination, I just knew that one day my writing was going to be awesome.
Learn copywriting the easy way
Full on copywriting is not great for blogging. There is an intersection between blogging and copywriting, and that intersection is precisely why some bloggers are so successful online. They really know the stuff. Stuff which – you guessed it – you should know.
But how to master this intersection? I didn’t really want to buy an expensive copywriting course and I didn’t really want to stay in the position that I was in at the time. Tense, I searched for a solution. And behold! I found it in less than two days. The solution was:
It was so easy, but I knew I had to implement what they were teaching. So I did. I went to world famous blogs such as Copyblogger.com and ProBlogger.net and learn the art of copywriting and blogging mixed. I searched through their archives and organized the information logically. But still there was a missing piece. The information I found was scattered in so many places. I couldn’t really order it in the proper way, and I needed something better.
The solution: Buy The Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers by Darren Rowse and Glenn Murray. This eBook teaches you all you have to know about writing compelling, grammatically correct and search engine optimized copy for your articles. Even better – it comes with a scorecard which you can use to score your blog posts. (The best I scored was 82/100. See if you can do better!)
How I improved my writing (finally)
I know it just seems like a process of “keep writing and your writing will improve,” but it wasn’t as simple as that. I had to learn what really made a post information-packed and benefit rich. I had to learn how to write in such a manner that you would learn something from it. And in the end, it was all a matter of fighting for attention. Make your writing compelling, and people will see what you’ve got to offer.
Once again, The Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers helped me out. It contains a series of recommendations for your blogging: writing recommendations, scanning recommendations, SEO recommendations and grammar pitfalls to avoid. When you read it, you will instantly know what to do and what not to do, and your writing will improve if you actually implement the recommendations.
Incorporating the recommendations in the article
When I wrote 7 Questions to Consider When Writing, I made sure that the article was compelling. I made sure that by reading it, you really will be benefited. And I made sure that I wasn’t making any grammar howlers or what not.
And oh, I forgot one thing. I made the article as easy to read as possible. Why? Because of one very simple fact. Even if you have the best article in the whole world and you’re certain that it’s earth shattering or whatever, it still won’t be read by anybody unless it is easy to read. Unless it is easy to read. The takeaway? Use lists, subheads, different formatting etc to make your post seem easy to read to everyone, even a kid.
The result of all this? I had a post which I was proud to publish.
Have Your Say
Phew, I really broke the word count barrier on this one! If you’ve read this far, I only have one great message for you:
And if you didn’t, that’s okay too. Whether you did or not, just share everything which comes in your mind: tips, experiences, pitfalls and what not in the comments.
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