These content writing tips for beginners will enable to you write great content like articles or ebooks with ease.
More specifically, you’ll discover how to write introductions, conclusions, how to get topic ideas, how to structure your content, content editing tips, and much more!
First, you’ll find the absolute most basic content writing tips and then a complete process to write a longer piece of content (e.g. an article or ebook).
Most of these 26 beginner-friendly tips can be used even if you want to write other types of content such as an email or a small post on social media.Table of Contents
First, let’s see some basic techniques so you become a better writer no matter what you’re writing.
The 10 Most Basic
Content Writing Tips
Tip #1 To write faster and/or easier you might want to try word processing tools that support voice typing. You just talk and it will write on your behalf. One such tool is Google Docs (when used in Chrome).
Here’s how to use it:
Tip #2 Try the Pomodoro technique to increase productivity.
After every 25 minutes, you spend writing take a 5-minute break. That’s known as 1 Pomodoro. After 4 Pomodoros take a longer break of about 15-20 minutes.
The timer instills a sense of urgency so you’ll have to concentrate and be productive. While the breaks keep you motivated.
There are many Pomodoro timer chrome extensions and apps e.g. the Marinara Timer.
Tip #3 Test different word processing tools until you find one that you like. I write my articles using LibreOffice Writer, it’s free. It has handy features like bookmarks to show you the outline of your article. This allows easy access to any chapter/subchapter.
You can comment on any page, insert columns, tables and so on. It can convert documents into pdf files. But it’s not so easy to insert and move around images.
Tip #4 Try to customize the word processing tool you use to maximize efficiency.
For example, in Libre Office Writer you can customize the font family, size, color of all your chapters, text and much more. And save everything as a template.
When you want to write a new document you load all your customizations from the template in an instant.
Tip #5 Find the ideal time to write that works best for you. And then, if possible, make it a habit to write only at that particular time. Some people are the most productive in the morning, others in the afternoon and some people prefer to write late at night.
Don’t try to force yourself to write when you lack the energy or desire.
Tip #6 You can try listening to nice peaceful music while writing e.g. instrumental music or nature sounds. You can find playlists on Youtube.
Tip #7 You want to write down (dump) everything that’s on your mind, all your ideas in the first draft/version of your piece of content. Don’t stop after each sentence or paragraph to fix grammar and spelling mistakes.
The editing is done in the end.
Each time you stop to fix mistakes you stop the flow of ideas.
Tip #8 Discipline yourself to focus on what needs to be done i.e. writing.
Close any distracting applications like Skype or email. When it’s time to write open your word processing tool and begin immediately. You can check your email or other things some other time.
Tip #9 You can become a better writer just by reading more. You’ll learn to write through the example of other writers.
For example, as you read more and more articles you’ll start to understand the various ways you can write Introductions and Conclusions.
Tip #10 Content writing is like any other skill, the more you practice the better you become. At first, it might take you a week to write a 3,000-word article. But over time the process will take less time. The more you write the easier it gets.
Now let’s see some more content writing tips for beginners… Most of them work no matter the type of content you want to write.
Who Are You Writing To?
If you’re going to write about a topic you’re very knowledgable about than you probably also know a lot about your readers/audience.
It’s important to know as much as possible about them such as:
- Their typical demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.)
- Their problems, issues, desires, fears, and topics that interest them.
- It’s also good to know and of any buzzwords, industry terminology and jargon that your audience is familiar with. So that you’ll be able to communicate with them clearer and authoritatively.
For example, if you’re writing an article about web design you’d need to be familiar with terms like “responsive website” and “mobile-friendly”.
There are two main reasons why knowing all this information is important.
Reason #1 If you know their needs, desires, issues and so on you’ll be able to write content about topics that they’ll find informative/helpful and useful.
So this helps you when you need a content idea for a new piece of content for example.
Reason #2 You’ll be able to communicate with your audience better.
For example, let’s say you’re going to write an article about “Making Money For Stay at Home Mums”.
You discover that your typical audience consists of unemployed mums aged 40 – 50 years old. They have basic computer skills and at least one child.
You also know they want to make some extra money quickly.
With that information you know it’s better to write about “blogging” and “freelancing” rather than about “drop shipping business” which is a much more complicated and time-consuming method to make money online.
How To Discover Insights
About Your Audience
You can find forums about the topic/niche you’re going to write about. As well as “Question And Answer” sites like Quora.com and Facebook Groups.
If you spend some time on those sites you’ll discover the common questions, issues, problems and topics they usually discuss. You’ll start to understand your audience on a deeper level.
The information you learn can be an eye-opener and very helpful when you start writing your content.
Also, on those same sites try to find out their typical demographics:
- Marital Status
- Education Level
You can also use the “Facebook Audience Insights” tool. Input the pages or interests (e.g. golf) and the tool gives you some basic data about your audience.
For example, most golfers are married men.
So if you’re going to write about a topic you don’t know much about you may have to do some research to understand your readers/audience.
Pick A Content Format
If you’re going to write an article for a blog you can facilitate the writing process by choosing a format.
For example, one of the most common formats is a “Listicle” e.g. “7 Ways To Monetize A Website”. If you pick this format you know you have to create a list about something.
Picking a format will make it easier to write the article’s outline/structure and the article itself.
DigitalMarketer.com has a very useful document called “The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas” (pdf file). It has 65 different article/blog post formats.
- How-To post
- FAQ post
- People to follow post
Some of those formats can work well even if you’re writing ebooks.
Pick A Topic
Regardless of what format you choose you need to pick a topic for the piece of content.
For example, if you’re going to use the “Review” format you can review the “best website builders”, the “best keyword research tools” or a lot of other topics.
In my other guide, you can discover 40 ways to come up with new content topic ideas.
Keyword research is a search engine optimization (SEO) technique used specifically for articles you put on a website/blog.
It can help you find a topic idea (known as a keyword). And if you use some other SEO techniques your article can rank in the top 10 results in search engines like Google.
So apart from knowing how to write articles, you can also find out how to rank them in Google.
If you want to rank your articles keyword research is the very first thing you do before you start writing.
Create an Outline
Now that you know the format and the topic of your article/ebook it’s time to start building the skeleton/outline of your content.
Certain types of content such as emails don’t require an outline because they’re very short.
Here’s an example:
In that example, the piece of content will contain 13 chapters. It’s pretty straight forward, there are no subchapters.
If you want to add more content and detail to specific chapters you can use subchapters.
For example, under “How to Apply Lip Gloss” you might want to add a subchapter called “The Best Lip Glosses You Can Buy”.
You can have as many chapters and subchapters as you want. Chapters and subchapters are also referred to as Headings.
Heading 1 (H1) is usually used for the article title especially when you’re going to put it on a website.
Heading 2 (H2) is a chapter.
Heading 3 (H3) is a subchapter within a chapter.
You can also use Heading 4 that goes under Heading 3.
You should only have one Heading 1 (H1).
Here’s an example:
We have 3 different chapters (h2’s). The first one has 3 subchapters. The last one has 3 as well but the first subchapter has yet another subchapter.
Here are some tips to help you build your content structure:
- The structure you develop doesn’t have to be perfect. This is just the first draft (version). As you start writing the actual content you’ll be able to modify, remove or move around chapters and subchapters as is necessary.
- The initial outline can be a simple list of ideas/topics you want to talk about. They’re the chapters and subchapters of your article/ebook. You can modify them later on if you need to.
- Once you have an outline then it’s going to be much easier to write the content. Basically, you just write content for each chapter and subchapter. An outline also ensures you’ll cover as much as possible about the topic of your article/ebook.
- You’ll be able to tell approximately how big your piece of content is going to be.
For example, if you want to write a 1000 word article then 1-3 chapters might be enough.
But if you want to write a 3,000-word article but can’t come up with more than 3 chapters (even after trying hard), then it’s probably better to pick a different topic for your article.
- Make sure your chapters/subchapters are all relevant to the topic of your article.
- The chapters should have a logical structure so that your content flows in a natural progression from one chapter to the other.
For example, if Chapter 1 is about “How to build a website”, Chapter 2 could be about the “Best tools to build a website” but not about “search engine optimization” because that’s too off-topic.
- You can create a structure for almost every article format.
You can use the following techniques to come up with topic ideas for the chapters and subchapters.
How To Get Topic Ideas
For Your Outline
These techniques will help you come up with a lot of ideas. What you’ll do next is group the various ideas under different chapters/subchapters. I’ll show you some examples.
Technique #1: Make A List of Questions
This should be a big list of questions your readers have about the topic you’ll write about. Make it as big as possible, then remove the irrelevant ones.
For example, if you want to write an article about “How to build a website”, your list of questions might include:
- What tools can I use to build a website?
- Do I need to know any programming languages like Html or CSS?
- What’s the entire process to build the home page?
For this example, I’ll create the content structure with just those 3 questions.
Chapter One: Website Building Tools
This chapter can answer the first question. It can be a list of the best tools to build a website and a quick review of each one.
Subchapter: Drag And Drop
This could be a subchapter of “Website Building Tools” to answer the second question. In it explain the fact that most tools are drag-and-drop. This means they don’t need to learn any programming languages.
Chapter Two: How To Build Your Homepage
This can answer the third question.
You can also come up with questions by searching your article title on Google and look at the “People Also Ask” Box.
Each time you click a question to view the answer more questions will appear.
Technique #2: Curate Content
You can find content about the same topic you want to write and grab chapter/subchapter ideas from their titles, chapters/subchapters, and the content itself.
You can grab these topic ideas from any type of content such as articles, ebooks, infographics, videos, and other formats.
To find that content you can make a Google search for a keyword related to your topic.
Then look at the top 10 articles and videos. You can also search for “free ebooks” and infographics about your topic if you want to.
For example, here’s the table of contents of an article I found on Google.
So one chapter for the “How to build a website” example could be “How to set up a navigation menu”.
The idea is to grab the most interesting (or the best) ideas you can find. Because ideally, your goal is to try to create the best piece of content on the topic.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you’re going to write about “How to build a website” and we find this information:
Article #1: Explains how to build a website for free.
Article #2: Explains how to build a mobile-friendly website.
Youtube video #1: Explains how to design a high-converting homepage
Youtube video #2: Explains how to build popups and optin forms to build an email list.
Free Ebook: Explains the best way to use colors, images, internal linking and so on.
So now we might want to create these kinds of chapters/subchapters:
How To Build Your Website For FREE
How To Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
How To Design A High-Converting Homepage
How To Build An Email List
The Right Way To Use Colors, Images, Internal Linking And More…
And so on…
Technique #3: Keyword Tools
Tools like KeywordTool.io will give a big list of keywords (topic ideas) related to your topic.
To use this tool input a keyword related to your article. It should contain as few words as possible.
For example, if we’re going to write about “How To Build A Website”, use just “website building” or “build a website”.
Here’s what the tool suggests:
A total of 261 keywords related to “website building”.
So for example, here are some new ideas from the keywords in that list:
Website building cost – your article can explain how much will it costs to build a website.
Building a website with wordpress – you can show them how to build a website using WordPress.
Website building checklist – one of your chapters can reveal a step by step checklist to build a website.
And so on. You can input a new keyword in the tool e.g. “build a website” and it will return even more keywords.
Technique #4: Headline Generators
In my opinion, this is not the best technique but it can still give you some ideas.
These tools like for example, TheHoth generates a list of headlines related to your topic. From this list, you pick ideas for your chapters/subchapters.
First, you just input some information about your article.
After you click the “Generate Headline Ideas” it presents a list of ideas. You may find a couple of interesting ideas.
The 4th headline is the most interesting: “19 Most Underrated Skills That Will Take You to the Top in Business”.
Maybe we can write a chapter listing the skills they need to build a website such as “Html, CSS, website conversion, web design, copywriting and so on…
Last but not least my other guide contains 40 more methods to come up with new content ideas.
Now that you’ve got the outline ready you can start writing.
If you’re very knowledgeable about the topic you can start writing the content for each chapter and subchapter.
If you don’t know much you have to get the information from somewhere. Once again you can use the “content curation technique”.
This means you can learn about the topics you want to cover from articles, ebooks, videos, Infographics, books, Google and other sources of information.
You don’t want to copy word for word any of the information you uncover.
But you can re-write it. Give it your unique twist or try to make it better by, for example, adding screenshots, videos, and more in-depth explanations.
Let’s say you’re going to write about “How to build a website”. And you have a chapter called “How to make your website mobile-friendly”.
For this example I’ll use Youtube as the source of information:
Video 1: Provides a list of tools to see how your website looks on different mobile screen sizes.
Video 2: Provides a solution (the use of a subdomain) when you can’t make your site mobile friendly.
Video 3: Suggests and explains how to turn your website into a mobile app.
From just 3 videos we got 3 unique ideas for our chapter. These videos provide a lot of other content, we only grabbed the most interesting ideas.
Content Curation is one way to write the actual content if you’re not an “expert” on the topic.
Stick To The Point
When writing content for each chapter/subchapter be sure to stay on topic as much as possible.
Your readers expect the information you promise them. If a chapter is called “How to build a mobile-friendly website”, make sure that’s the exact and only thing they’re going to learn in that chapter.
If necessary create a new chapter/subchapter or an entirely new article.
For example, if a chapter is about “How to host your website” you should not include a very lengthy explanation about why you don’t like GoHost123. That is offtopic. It doesn’t tell them “how to host their website”.
In such a case you can create a separate article and then just link to it. For example, “you can read my negative experience with GoHost123 and why I recommend you stay away from it here.”
Or if it’s not very lengthy create a new subchapter.
Focus On Value
The main objective of a content writer is to help his or her readers. So try to add as much value as possible.
This is especially true if you’re writing articles or ebooks. Try to write a longer piece with a higher word count by adding more valuable/useful content. But don’t add useless words just to get a higher word count.
When I write articles I try to aim for a 3,000-word count. If you plan to do SEO, Google loves long articles.
How To Write Introductions
Once you finish writing the complete content of the article, ebook… you can write the introduction. This should capture your readers’ attention and entice them to read your article.
Online readers have a short attention span unless they already know and trust you.
So you only have a few seconds to capture their attention. The introduction should be quick and to the point. It can’t go on and on…
Mention some of the most interesting things they’re going to learn. Answer the “What’s In It For Me?” question. Why should they read your content? What will they get out of it?
You can also add a table of contents underneath the introduction, especially if it’s a long piece of article or an ebook.
Certain types of content such as emails don’t require an introduction.
How To Write Conclusions
A conclusion is just a summary/recap of the content. For that reason, this is also the last thing you can write.
It explains in a few short paragraphs the main points of the content. There’s nothing special to it.
At this point, you can ask your readers for a particular action if you want to. This part is known as the “call to action”. Whichever you decide to use is entirely up to you.
- If you’re writing articles on a blog end the conclusion with a question and encourage them to leave a comment. E.g. So when do you plan to build your first website? Leave your answers below…
- Ask them to share your content on social media.
- Give them a freebie/lead magnet e.g. a checklist, cheat sheet, template, etc. This should be related to the content. You can use a simple optin box to capture their email or link to an optin page that’s part of a sales funnel.
- Recommend a product/service related to your content. It can be yours or an affiliate product. This works best if your readers already know and trust you e.g. your email subscribers.
Certain types of content such as emails don’t require a conclusion. But they can still have a “call to action”.
Now let’s give the piece of content a good title.
Write A Catchy Title
This is usually the very last thing I do. Because ideally, first, you need to finish the article to know everything about it.
So then you can write a short and to the point title that encompasses the main benefit/s (or value) they’ll get from the content.
It provides the reader with a concise description of the article.
The best headlines contain one or more of these items:
- Numbers e.g. 7 Ways To Skyrocket Your Sales
- Parentheses e.g. 7 Ways To Skyrocket Your Sales (Step-By-Step Guide)
- Brackets e.g. 7 Ways To Skyrocket Your Sales [FREE Guide]
You can check my “Catchy Headline Writing” checklist in my other guide to discover a lot of different ways to create headlines/titles.
After you finish writing all your content (ideally that includes also the introduction and conclusion) it’s time to edit it.
The following techniques will turn your first draft into a finished high-quality piece of content.
Editing Technique #1:
Make It Easy-To-Read
These are simple ways to make your content easier to read and understand:
Use Shorter Paragraphs
Which do you prefer to read, this one:
They’re both the same. Splitting a large paragraph into many shorter ones will make it easier to read.
Try to use 1-3 short sentences per paragraph.
Use Shorter Sentences
A short sentence is easier to read than a longer one. Try rewriting a very long sentence to make it shorter.
If you’re unsure if your paragraphs or sentences are well structured you can use the Hemingway App. It tells you if your content contains very lengthy and complicated sentences. And gives other suggestions too.
Once again which looks the most interesting, this one:
The styled text looks a bit more appealing.
You can use underline, italics and bold from time to time. Don’t use them too often. Use them if you have a very large block of text like the “Unstyled” example.
Use these styles to emphasize the more important and interesting words or phrases.
For example, if you use bold on “high-quality” to emphases that point makes sense. But using bold on “of your” or “first let’s” is pointless.
In the sentence, “Make sure that’s the exact and only thing they’re going to learn in this chapter” I’m emphasizing something important.
Use Numbered or Bulleted List
Sometimes it’s much easier to explain some things such as instructions using a list.
Which instructions do you prefer to read, this one:
A numbered list is a step by step list.
A bulleted list is a random list.
The more you write the easier it becomes to identify specific paragraphs that can be turned into lists.
If you have lots of paragraphs you can put a subheadline in between. This will make your content look less intimidating to read.
Here’s an example:
That will look much worse without a subheadline.
Subheadlines aren’t usually used in emails unless it’s very long.
Use Image Captions
Captions are the words placed under an image to briefly explain it.
Not everybody is going to read a piece of content from top to bottom. A lot of readers will scan and looking for something interesting.
Images are one of those things that capture their interest as well as the image caption if they have one.
So you can use captions to capture the attention of these types of readers.
Other things that will capture their attention include numbered or bulleted lists, subheadlines, and videos.
Avoid Difficult Words
You want to make sure everyone will clearly understand everything you have to say. So even though you may be writing to educated people avoid difficult words.
You may also spell them incorrectly.
You can Google the word to find a list of similar words, or use Thesaurus.com
Instead of “empirical evidence”, we can simply say “factual evidence” or “verifiable evidence”.
Aim for a middle school reading level or lower, unless the content you’re writing is extremely technical.
The same Hemingway App (or Grammarly) will grade your content. Studies have shown the average American reads at a tenth-grade level.
So aim to get a grade 10 or lower.
If you get a higher score, try to replace some difficult words with more common ones. And use shorter sentences and paragraphs.
Grammarly gives a readability score and it also says “Your text is likely to be understood by an 8th grader”.
Use “Exciting” Words
You can go through your content and replace the more common and boring words with something more exciting. Without using difficult words.
For example, you can write “you can make more sales by doing…” or slightly more exciting “you can skyrocket your sales by doing…”
If you have a long piece of content many of these small changes will have a more significant effect.
They’ll capture and keep your readers’ interest and can be used in any sort of written content.
But they’re especially important when writing ads, sales letters or other forms of copywriting. In my free copywriting swipe file you’ll find a list of these words and more examples. They’re also known as “power” or “magnetic” words.
Use Active Not Passive Voice
Both the active and passive voice is grammatically correct.
But the active voice is usually shorter, more direct, engaging, and easier to read. Therefore you should use it more often than the other one.
Active voice: Jane hit the golf ball.
Passive voice: The golf ball was hit by Jane.
You can watch this 3-minute video to see a clear, visual definition of both, with examples. You’ll also learn how to re-write sentences from the passive to the active voice.
Check Grammar And Spelling
A lot of spelling and grammar mistakes can make a piece of content more difficult to read. You can use Grammarly or similar tools to check spelling and grammar once you finish the editing process.
You should also read your content from top to bottom at least once. So you spot any inappropriate choice of words and other errors.
For example, a spelling and grammar tool won’t find errors in this sentence: “The went boy to school”.
Now let’s see some other editing techniques…
Editing Technique #2:
Internal And External Links
You should link out to relevant sources of information when it’s appropriate. You can link to pages within your site or to external pages on sites you don’t own.
Here are some reasons to do this:
- You can support your claims with actual data and statistics (e.g. from surveys or case studies conducted by others). In such a case, provide a summary (or a quote) of the results, and link to the lengthier and detailed analysis.
- Link to relevant information if it will help your readers. For example, if you have a chapter called “How to host your website”, you can write a complete explanation about that. But then you can link to a page that reviews the top 10 web hosts.
- Link to useful tools, software, books, and other useful resources when appropriate to add more quality to your content.
You don’t have to link to relevant sources all the time, only when you truly think it’s important or useful for your readers.
Ideally, you want to keep your readers on your website. So link to internal pages within your site if you have appropriate content. If not you can either create a new piece of content and link to it or link to an external site.
If you’re doing search engine optimization internal and external links don’t affect your rankings negatively as long as you’re linking out to good and useful pages.
Editing Technique #3:
You can make your content more attractive, engaging, useful and informative by using visual content.
The most common types of visual content are images, charts, graphs, screenshots, gifs, videos, slide shares, mind maps, and infographics.
“Articles with images get 94% more views than those without.”Jeff Bullas
These aren’t used just to make your content more visually appealing. They can be used to add more value to your content, e.g. by including a relevant and informative video.
Canva is a free, drag-and-drop easy tool that can be used to create custom images, charts, graphs, infographics, and more.
Ideally don’t use free stock photographs unless you customize them.
These are the free images you find on dozens of sites like Pixabay.com or Freepik.com
Everyone uses the same stock photographs. Your readers might think there’s nothing new or unique with your piece of content, it’s the same content they’ve read elsewhere.
You can use Canva to customize them.
For example, you can use a stock photo unchanged:
Or customize it, making it a bit more attractive and unique to you:
With custom images, your content looks fresh and new.
You can embed Youtube videos to add more value to your content. It also makes it more visually appealing. If you don’t create your videos use someone’s else videos.
Ideally choose videos from popular/top channels that have good content, a lot of thumbs up and not too many advertisements. Watch the video to make sure it has good content before using it.
Gifs can be annoying, and many people don’t like them according to Reddit and Quora. Unlike images, they constantly repeat the same movement which can be distracting while reading. So at least pick the simplest ones and use a small image.
I don’t recommend them unless the content is particularly funny. In such a case try to put as few as possible in the right places.
You can also embed Slide shows from Slideshare.net But it’s not so easy to find relevant and high-quality slide shows. And it takes time to create one yourself.
It’s good to include at least some images (e.g. custom images, graphs, charts, screenshots, etc.) and some videos in every piece of content.
Videos are important especially if you’re doing SEO because they’ll increase the time visitors spend on your site. That’s a factor that Google monitors.
In most cases, emails should not have any visual content. Plain text emails work best because they look like they’re being sent from a friend.
Editing Technique #4:
Support Your Claims
If you’re sharing any information that your readers might question or object, or if it goes beyond reasonable common sense ideally support them with actual data, statistics or other facts.
So that your content is credible and more authoritative.
For example, I don’t have to back up my claim that images make your content visually appealing. You can deduce that for yourself.
But if I claim something as outrageous as “2020 is the end of SEO” I better have some actual data to back that up. Otherwise, it’s just a pointless, “scary” and annoying claim.
You can use Google to find data to back up your claims. But only quote reliable/popular websites or companies instead of some random blog.
Continuing with the same example I would find quotes from popular SEO sites like Moz or Search Engine Land.
These content writing tips for beginners can help you write any content with ease.
You’ve discovered how to research your readers/audience so you can communicate and help them better. And strategies to pick a topic, create a content structure, write and edit your content and so on.
And these techniques work no matter what type of content you want to create.