As a copywriter, generating the ideas that will form the framework of your latest article is no easy task. There are many factors to take into account before you put pen to paper (so to speak), meaning that a large chunk of your time can be taken up researching and developing a unique and interesting article idea.
That said, it is becoming increasingly difficult to conjure up a truly unique article that hasn't been published somewhere on the internet. Below are a few steps that you can follow when developing content ideas to ensure that your articles, blog posts and press releases are fresh and engaging…
Your interest in or understanding of a particular subject will often define how easy it is to be inspired. There is nothing worse, for both writer and reader, than content that has been written off the top of your head and which lacks any sort of motivation, personality or creative instinct. As well as being a forgettable read, the brains and robots of Google and other search engines are always aware when a piece of content isn't going down well. So, irrespective of your interest in the subject, always do your best to maintain a high standard of writing. Inspiration can come from anywhere; an article in a newspaper that may relate to one of your clients’ industries, a programme or piece seen on television, a press release, a development in the business, or perhaps even an offbeat angle or commentary on a mainstream topic. Another useful option can be to have a chat with your colleagues and fire a few ideas back and forth.
Once you have found your inspiration and carried out the necessary research to ensure that the content has depth and is engaging; it is time to start putting together the building blocks of your article. I can’t stress how important the research stage is if you are to provide a quality piece of content. Any relevant facts or figures that you come across can be used, with the source properly credited. This will help to create trust in the reader and they will have confidence that you know your subject well.
A title and an introduction that packs a punch, whilst enticing the audience to read more, are essential. Make your title big and bold (especially for news articles) and maybe use a technique to set your introduction apart from the article body – perhaps a bold font or italics. As if by magic, you will find that your article is beginning to take shape.
Once you have established the information that you wish to include, it is vital to consider the order that it can be best used. This will ensure that the article flows naturally and is an easy and enjoyable for your audience to consume. Writing the introduction first can often help you finalise in your mind exactly what you hope to achieve with the content, whilst guiding its structure. Where you are making an argument, it is vital that you fully explain your point, whilst sounding convincing. Although they may not be able to see a face behind the screen, readers will quickly pick up on whether or not you truly believe what you have written.
Probably the most important point, which is sadly often overlooked, is paying attention to detail. If you are constantly writing a lot of content, there is a chance that the odd mistake may slip through the net. Whilst you should aim for perfection, we do all make the occasional grammatical mistake. As long as your content is of a high quality, this will usually be forgiven.
However, a piece that is strewn with errors will not be well received by your target audience. Consider it from the readers’ point of view; if an article contained numerous mistakes, would you believe the writer was interested in the topic? Would you accept them as an authority on the matter?
You should always take pride in your writing and proof read it thoroughly at least twice before publishing. This especially applies where you will have no access to edit the content once it has gone live. There is nothing more frustrating than reviewing an article after it has been published, only to spot basic errors that really shouldn't be in there.
When proof reading your own work, you may notice a pattern in the mistakes that you make. Be aware of these areas and pay specific attention to them. Asking someone else to proof read your content can also be beneficial; it is easy to skim over mistakes when checking your own work, due to the fact that you already know what you have written and do not have to concentrate fully for your brain to process the information. At this stage, you may even wish to consider tweaking the structure of your article. Sometimes moving a sentence within a paragraph, or a paragraph within the article, can help the piece flow better.
All in all, writing content shouldn't be a tedious task. Taking some time to consider possible topics and plan the piece will ensure that it is interesting and well received by your audience. During your research you may even find that a subject that you believed to be dry and boring is actually quite interesting. Something that will stand you in good stead for any content that you write in the future. Finally, whilst researching your chosen topic, you are likely to find that you are struck by a few other ideas that could make a stimulating article– be sure to make a note of these so that you can write about them at a later date.