Producing constant good copy can be difficult, especially when it comes to blog and article writing for the internet. The freelancers and bloggers who succeed are the ones who can do it quickly, efficiently, and, most importantly, engagingly.
Here’s a quick guide to fast copy that doesn’t mean you cut corners on the quality.
Don’t be precious….
You’re not writing War and Peace. Nor are you going to be hailed as the next Stephen King.
Sometimes you don’t even get a polite thank you for your efforts. Pouring over every word and examining every sentence with loving care may seem like the right thing to do but can cost you hours every week that could be spent producing more work.
Know when to stop and send your copy to the client or post it on your website.
Care about your subject
No one forced you to be a freelance writer. No one’s forcing you to write blog posts for your business.
Take some interest in the subjects you write about even if its accountancy practices in Woolloomooloo. If you don’t care, people will notice.
Whether it’s the latest on Hadron Collider developments or how you choose a kitchen worktop, show some spirit. It counts for a lot in the big bad world of blog and article writing.
You will come across subjects that are as dull as dishwater (my personal favourite is the tax advantage of moving your business to Malta) but try to care.
Start with a little research
Research helps to set the base for your article. As you become more proficient, you will be able to spot the important title areas that can help structure your piece.
You don’t have to delve that deeply into the subject area but you do need to light a path that you can easily follow. Mostly this comes from experience and an eye for the pertinent facts.
One important tip: you need to make sure you glean your information from a reputable site.
Break down your post with headings
You don’t have to use these in the actual post, but setting headings is a great way to speed up the progress of your article. I generally use one for every 150 words or so to act as markers for the post I’m writing. It’s easier to write short chunks of text quickly rather than try to fill a whole 500-600 word article with one block of text.
Write quickly and with passion
Even when writing a review for a kitchen appliance, put some energy into it. Try not to stop, even when you reach a block.
Simply push on through to the end of the article. It should take you no more than 30 minutes to write a 500 word article if you have a good following wind and a clear head.
Keep your spellcheck on
They may not be perfect, but having a good spell and grammar checker actually helps when you are trying to get blog posts out quickly.
One word of advice: Don’t take them as gospel, especially when it comes to sentence structure. When you are writing quickly, editing can be a pain in the butt because you are often too close to the text—so take any help you can get to iron out those typos and spelling mistakes.
Review straight away
I say this because most of your ideas will be fresh in your head and for a subject you don’t know well this is important. It’s not a proofread for grammar and spelling, you can do that a bit later, it’s about ensuring the text makes enough sense enought to satisfy your customer’s needs.
Depending on how long your deadline is, then leave the text as long as possible to give your addled brain as much time to forget about it.
That may well be only a couple of hours if your client is hungry for copy, but the longer you leave it, the fresher your approach will be. If you are short on time then try reading the text backwards to pick out spelling mistakes.
Finally, your client may well come back with comments and criticism. It’s part of the job and shouldn’t be taken personally.
I had a client for a renewable energy company recently who wanted a technical article about solar cells written. A few weeks after it was written someone posted a reply over mistakes in the article (it happened to be a competitor of the gentleman in question) so I needed to rewrite.
It happens. One of the first clients I wrote for came back to say that my style was a bit too glib for her business blog and asked me to rewrite. I did so and I’m still writing articles for her ten years later.
Client amends are part of the business—you aren’t going to get it right 100% of the time.
Of all the tips included in this little blog, probably the most important is not to be so precious.
It’s something that writers are naturally prone to and generally leads to procrastination. Being less pedantic doesn’t mean you don’t care, far from it. If you want to succeed and get enough business to earn a living, you need to be able to write your freelance articles quickly. It goes with the territory. That means learning to let go.