Have you ever stared at your computer screen for hours waiting for the words to just come to you?
When describing the role of a content writer to friends and family, I often find that people make comments about their lack of creativity and the difficulty they face when trying to get words down on a page. Even though my job revolves around that exact task, I struggle with that every day!
Over time, I’ve developed my own tool kit to rely on in those times when the words are just not flowing.
In my role as a Sr. Content Specialist at Leonardo, I’m responsible for creating long-form content for hotel websites centred on a robust SEO strategy, developed by our research team. Sometimes I get to write about fancy hotels in major cities with tons of supporting information, but I am also tasked with creating engaging content about places or topics that might be less well-known, and in those times it can be hard to write those 300 SEO-friendly words for each page.
Here is my list of tips that I rely on when I am tasked with turning my blank screen into dynamic and engaging web content.
Just keep writing
When we’re tasked with writing a long-form piece of content, it can be difficult to summon the inspiration to begin typing an intro sentence. I find that if I am in a writers-block state of mind, the only thing that can get me out of my funk is it just putting words on the page. Grab a cup of coffee and sit down at your computer and just start typing. Once you’ve gotten yourself into the zone, it will be easier to start churning out that winning content!
Determine the most important information first
Sometimes we are assigned with creating dynamic content that can have so many different angles and ways to describe the main point, it’s hard to know where to start. Assess what you are looking to write about, and then put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What is the first thing you’re going to want to see on this page? Make some notes about the main points of your piece at the top of the page and then start to build out the additional story around that.
Get some inspiration
I have been working in my role for over 2 years and still, I will be writing a new accommodations page and think to myself, “how do I even start this paragraph?” I like to draw inspiration from my previous work and see how I was able to craft a particular sentence and apply it to the new projects I’m working on. Additionally, I regularly chat with my colleagues to learn more about new content strategies they are working on or any new tools they are using to become more efficient.
Give yourself a time limit
When you approach a new project, it can be helpful to segment the work you will need to complete into individual time slots. For example, when approaching a new website project I give myself one hour to write and proofread each page I am writing. With that in mind, I am able to manage my time efficiently, not only by providing my team members with an accurate timeline for a project, but also by allowing myself to put all my focus on the task at hand for one full hour before moving on.
Don’t overthink it!
When I first started at Leonardo, I was so concerned about how the content I was writing would come across. I would read it over and over again to ensure everything was perfect. Now, having written content for dozens of websites, I’ve learned to trust myself and just keep on writing. The more we overthink each individual piece of content we create, the more we tend to nit-pick and create unnecessary issues. You’ve been hired to create exceptional content, trust the process and get it done!
Creating content can be stressful, time consuming and tedious, but the feeling of publishing your written work makes it all worth it. I hope these tips help as you tackle your next big creative project!