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7 practical tips for producing engaging online copy

Content marketing is constantly evolving – it’s more engaging, creative and captivating than ever before, and writers are continuously finding new ways to honour their craft. With brands favouring digital content over print media, the challenge for a writer is to take inspiration from the video-rich and image-drenched mediums and deliver gleaming copy that showcases the brand’s mission. This changing landscape is no place for writer’s block.

While digital writers and content marketers are more involved in writing dazzling social copy, detailed ebooks and captivating blog posts than producing novels, writer’s block can still strike. Based on the top tips shared by the panel, along with a few of my own, here are some practical solutions to filing creative digital copy next time you’re facing a blank page and blinking cursor:

1. Forget the big deadlines

An approaching deadline might help get your fingers pounding the keyboard, but instead of thinking about the big, far-off deadline in the future, make an urgent mini-deadline for yourself. A small goal like, “Within the next 30 minutes, I will have the first draft of the intro written”, will give you something tangible to work towards within a suitable time frame.

2. Use images to spark your creative flow

Philippa Pride said when an author is trying to describe a detailed scene in their novel, they could source related images online to help get that visual onto paper. While long, descriptive paragraphs might not be applicable to the content marketers in the room, if you’re writing an event round-up, a how-to guide or some travel-related content, getting a few visual references on-screen might help.

3. Turn up the bass

Another top tip from Pride was to turn the music up loud. If you need to zone out and get some focus, having your earphones in will help – but find music to suit the content’s tone and voice. Personally, I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I’m trying to write, so my go-to Spotify playlist is aptly called “Music for Concentration”.

4. “Don’t get it right, get it written”

How many times have you started to edit your own work before it was finished? Did you delete a sentence before it was complete? Or are you trying to improve the introduction when you haven’t even started the conclusion? Instead of stumbling over the details, focus on getting the words down on paper, and ignore all typos and errors until you’ve written your last word. Having the freedom to write anything and everything could produce some interesting angles and approaches you hadn’t considered before.

5. Paper plans

One of my favourite things to do when I’m about to write a long feature article is to get the plan down in an actual notebook with a real-life pen. Having an old-school scribble and doodle of all your ideas helps with the planning stages. Once you’re happy with what you’ve written, you can take it to your laptop with direction and purpose. You might be surprised by how easily the ideas flow by simply changing writing mediums.

6. Source some inspiration

Great Minds works hard to find a client’s uniqueness and translate it to the screen and beyond. A lot of our inspiration comes from our colleagues, and some of our finest ideas have come from a group brainstorm. If you’re stuck for ideas, ask questions and gather opinions from your peers or editors.

7. Know who you’re writing for

Often writer’s block comes because you’ve forgotten who you’re writing for, or what your goal is with this specific piece of content. Review the brief, the brand strategy and the brand’s personas. Putting yourself in the persona’s shoes before writing will help you plan the content so it first and foremost addresses your audience’s needs – creativity can follow.

For a brand, original and engaging digital content is paramount. Achieving that starts with a creative editorial team.