As content writers, we need to deliver high quality, engaging pieces – and often on a tight deadline. But there’s no doubting it – ensuring high standards when the clock is ticking requires a certain set of skills. Here are a couple of the techniques I use to keep my SEO content as quality-driven as possible, no matter what the deadline.
Play a writing game
The first challenge that any writer faces is getting something down on the page. Starting from scratch can be tough, and you often find yourself in desperate need of a creative injection. I find that writing games can help get my creative juices flowing – time pressure or not, sometimes we just don’t feel challenged enough and our brains need a kick in the behind.
So get a timer and give yourself 10 minutes to write a segment of your piece, incorporating a few specific words and themes that relate to your brief. If it’s an SEO article you’re writing, why not set your timer and see if you can bust out an introduction and some of your main talking points? Challenge yourself to make an opening that captures the interest of the reader and lays down the article’s thesis while making them want to find out more.
Using a time constraint has helped me many times. Try it for yourself: everyone loves a challenge, and you might even surprise yourself.
Edit the editor
One of the things that holds every writer back is that little editor in your head. You know, the one that has a serious disdain for anything you write, even before you even put pen to paper – and the same one that makes you question whether there should be a new paragraph here or a semi-colon there.
The problem here is that over-questioning everything you produce can ruin your flow of ideas, it slows you down, and you can end up with a stilted final piece. So be rid of the doubting voice within, and leave the editing process until last – to be completed either by yourself once you’ve finished writing the piece, or by an editing team. This is great because not only will you be able to run with your ideas as they come to you, but it means you’ll be able to produce those short, timed segments as described above, safe in the knowledge that any issues (spelling, punctuation, cohesion etc) will be dealt with later.
If you’re on limited time, numbered or bulleted posts are fantastic for helping you organise your piece and retain control. Commence a discursive piece and, without a proper plan in place, you may find that you are fast approaching your word-count limit with your argument still far from completion. Then you could be faced with a piece that is too long, and one that needs to be edited down and readjusted as a result – all very time-consuming and inefficient.
But with the more flexible structure of a bulleted piece, you can get straight into your intro and then start reeling off the ideas without having to be preoccupied with how you are going to tie it all up. Simplifying structure with a series of bite-size points is a great way of sticking to deadlines while keeping quality high.
Enjoy it while it lasts
Finally, remember to enjoy your writing. Even if you’re under pressure and have got deadlines to meet, revel in the challenge of producing content that will pique interest, entertain, and satisfy a healthy thirst for knowledge.
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