Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking to people in the division and one of the concerns they raised is struggling with speed. On the onset, some of the things you can work on are your typing speed and accuracy, computer performance, and Internet connection. But for those who want to actually write quality web content articles faster regardless of those factors, here are a few tips you can start applying today:
1. Change Your Mindset About Speed
On May 6, 1954, a 25-year-old medical student named Roger Bannister became the first human to run a mile within four minutes. Prior to his feat, medical experts thought running at this rate would cause problems for the heart and lungs. They thought it was impossible for any human to run that fast.
Guess what? It was possible. That record has been broken repeatedly over the next 50 years. Roger attributed his achievement to a change in mindset. You can only write faster if you think you can. And you can.
2. Limit the Scope, Not the Quality
Instead of writing exhaustively about all the elements, focus on what’s most important and use the rest as supporting details. In the case of listicles and bullets, limit your bullets to what you can discuss; do this without compromising the accuracy of the information.
For example, if a window has 10 parts, by all means mention all 10. However, you may want to choose which parts matter the most for your topic and then present the rest as “Other Parts”. In discussing window parts for an article on efficiency, you may choose to discuss extensively the frame and glass – parts that make the window energy-efficient. Jamb, sills, hardware… all these can be your “Other Parts”.
3. Rewrite Ideas, Not Words
MS Word Shift+F7 can only do so much. In many cases, you’ll end up using inappropriate synonyms in a bid to avoid copying the source. Worse, Google’s new algorithm can now detect plagiarized content that’s been spun by synonyms. What can you do then? Use the Deductive-Inductive Approach (DIA).
First, analyze how the information is presented by the source: generic or specific? An example of generic information would be: “1) Clean your windows. 2) Have them repaired when necessary. 3) Replace them when necessary.” Specific would be: “Use soapy water when cleaning windows. 2) When you see rot on frames, call a handyman who can fix the issue. 3) You may need to replace your windows if they are over 10 years old and are showing signs of inefficiency.” Once you’ve analyzed what the source provides (general or specific), simply present the information using the opposite approach. So from general, go to specific (deductive) and from specific, go to general (inductive).
4. Break Down the Guidance Into Elements One of the fastest ways to understand article guidance, and therefore to start writing your article, is to break down the instruction into simpler elements. You can also use this process to make sure you do not miss any important element that the guidance requires. Here’s a sample topic guidance:
In the 2015 BUILDER Brand Use Awards, GAF was voted as the “Brand Used the Most” and as # 1 in “Quality Ratings”. Rework http://www.roofingmagazine.com/gaf-receives-awards-high-quality-products/ and incorporate the client’s services wherever applicable. Make sure to mention that Allied Roofing is a Master Elite Contractor.
Now here’s what it looks like when it’s broken down into elements:
1 (In the 2015 BUILDER Brand Use Awards),
2 (GAF was voted as the “Brand Used the Most”)
3 (and as # 1 in “Quality Ratings”.)
5 (and incorporate the client’s services wherever applicable.)
6 (Make sure to mention that Allied Roofing)
7 (is a Master Elite Contractor.)
From here, you’ll see that there are seven elements that you need to include in your article. You can now start your research based on this list and you can even create an outline using this method.
5. Create Subheadings, Use Them as Outline
Using the sample topic above, you can use the following as subheadings: (1) GAF Wins in BUILDER Awards (2) Our Services Are Award-Winning (3) Allied Roofing: GAF Master Elite Contractor. I’m thinking on top of my head and I’m sure you’ll be able to do a better job of setting subheadings for this topic. The idea is to summarize what you want to say by dividing your article into subheadings. An article that’s divided by subheadings is easier to read. At the same time, it’s also easier and faster to write.
It becomes overwhelming when you need to write 300 words about a complicated topic. But it becomes easier when you need to write 100 words about a simpler sub-topic.
6. Befriend Google, Bookmarks, & Ctrl+F
Do not burden yourself with having to come up with the best leads or most creative call-to-action paragraphs. They will come when you see that you’ve written something with substance. That’s why any writer – creative, technical, or both – should also be a good researcher. After all, we aim to provide value to our clients’ prospect customers. With the absence of quality input, expect the absence of quality output. To speed up your research, use Google effectively. “Place in quotes” the keywords that you want an exact match for. Use it as a calculator and a converter. See more tips in this Get More Out of Google infographic. You can also bookmark your references so they’ll appear when you type keywords on your browser address bar. Use Ctrl+F to find the exact keywords you’re looking for in a page instead of reading the whole thing.
Fast research is knowing what to look for. You don’t need to know the specifics but you should at least have an idea of what information the article will need. This will only be possible through constant effort to learn about the topics you are writing. While some writers may view it as suffocating, writing about a limited number of niches or industries gives us an opportunity to become more familiar with them.
You don’t need to be an expert; that’s what Google is for. However, you need to know what you’re looking for.
BONUS TIP: Aim for Value, Not Perfection
You can write, edit, and rewrite your article all you want but someone will always find something wrong with it. You cannot please everyone. What you can do, however, is to provide value to people who need it the most: our clients’ customers. So… analyze the topic. Look at what problem it can solve. Provide the solution through accurate information and a bit of motivation. Apply these tips, and hopefully, you’ll be able to achieve this faster and without having to burn out writing.
Have any other tips you can share? Do you have any ritual that helps you write faster? Tell me what you think in the comments section below.
NOTE: Applying these tips, I started writing at around 5:30PM and finished the draft and creating the WordPress blog at 7PM. Editing started 9:15PM and ended 9:30PM.