A novelist can ride the tails of that one great book for years. And a print journalist who’s broken the story of the century might be able to play off that success for several months. But for writers producing copy for the web, creating that one great blog post or article is just that: one great blog post or article.
The challenge when writing copy for the web is to consistently create content that is unique, relevant and entertaining—all at the same time. But it’s not easy to feel inspired and creative day after day.
The next time you find yourself in a rut, test out these 5 tips for creating fresh and unique copy for the web:
1. Have some fun with your writing. Write down 20 words or phrases on separate pieces of paper and place them in a container: “purple elephant,” “Chihuahua,” “cold beer” or “glass houses,” for example. The sky’s the limit—or dictionary, rather—and the more creative, the better.
The next time you’re stuck with regards to your writing, randomly select one slip of paper and include that word or phrase in your blog post or article. You may find that the word or phrase simply doesn’t fit with your concept or targeted keywords, and in the end, you eliminate it. But regardless of whether you keep or delete the word or phrase, this exercise is an effective way to get the creative juices flowing again.
2. Turn a typical idea on its head. Instead of writing the usual tips or checklist post or article, reverse the concept. For example, if you’re considering writing a story on “The 10 Best Ways to Eliminate Debt,” try writing “The 10 Quickest Ways to Ruin Your Credit.” Instead of “How to Improve the ROI of Your Email Marketing Campaign,” think “The Worst Email Marketing Campaigns of the Year.”
Essentially, both story versions include the same takeaways: how to keep good credit, and the dos and don’ts of email marketing. The two versions are simply positioned differently. Not only will this reverse concept help you write more creatively, it’s also an excellent way to attract more readers and links to your story.
3. Tell someone else’s story. As a writer, you don’t have to always rely on your own brilliant thoughts. An easy way to create unique copy for the web when you’ve run out of ideas is to borrow someone else’s. Contact an influential or interesting figure in your industry, and base an article or post around him or her.
The post or article could take the form of a Q&A interview, a guest commentary or a case study. Regardless of format, your article or post will revolve around their life, their thoughts, their experiences. Your readers will appreciate the personal details and fresh perspective.
4. Go straight to the headline or title. When sitting down to create a post or article, most writers go for the meat first: the body of the story. Instead, first come up with the ideal headline or title that’s intriguing, creative and attention-grabbing. Turning your typical writing process around is an effective method for removing writer’s block.
Along those lines, write the end of your story first. Or, choose the image to accompany your story first. Whatever your process, shake it up every now and then to keep your writing fresh.
5. Get away from words. You don’t always have to think of a story in terms of words. Could a graphic or illustration communicate the point you’d like to make? Instead of writing down words, grab a pencil and paper and draw out your thoughts.
Sometimes, a useful and informative graphic can tell a story the way no words can. Offer your readers a visually interesting graphic or illustration, and they’ll likely thank you by sharing it and linking to it.
Think back to the last time you found yourself in a rut when trying to write an article or blog post. How did you get out of it? What techniques do you use to consistently write copy for the web that is relevant and creative?