How to Write Content That Is Actually Good | Allan Maule | Skillshare

How to Write Content That Is Actually Good

Allan Maule, Digital Content Writer

How to Write Content That Is Actually Good

Allan Maule, Digital Content Writer

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11 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Why Your Content Needs to Actually Be Good

      1:33
    • 2. How to Write Basic Blogs

      2:40
    • 3. THE Question You Need to Write Good Content

      5:06
    • 4. Writing Titles That Are Actually Good

      5:24
    • 5. How to Think about Outlines

      4:19
    • 6. How to Begin Content Part 1

      4:50
    • 7. How to Begin Content Part 2

      4:54
    • 8. How to Begin Content Part 3

      7:26
    • 9. Writing Rough Drafts That Are Actually Good

      4:24
    • 10. Second Drafts: Revising for Your Ideal Reader

      4:20
    • 11. Finishing the Final Draft (and This Course!)

      4:40
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About This Class

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Right now, the internet has more content writers than ever—and the average attention span is getting shorter and shorter. Making matters worse, a lot of writers work so hard to optimize their content for Google’s search algorithms that, when they finally reach the first page of search results on their topic, they can’t get people to read their content without bouncing immediately.

When you write marketing content, it’s not enough to get your reader’s attention—you need to write content that’s actually good. In this course, you will learn proven strategies to write high quality long-form content. I’ll share ways to begin a post to nab your reader’s attention, how to best understand your audience, and tips on revising your writing from meh to actually good. Together we’ll work on a blog post for your course project, so by the end you will have a ready-to-publish blog post.

Meet Your Teacher

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Allan Maule

Digital Content Writer

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I am a digital content writer with more than 12 years of experience in interactive media, multi-channel content marketing, video games, and scriptwriting. I’ve written for Fortune 500 companies like IBM, GE, Facebook, Citrix, Viacom, LinkedIn, Eaton, and DuPont as well as Axiom Legal, Icarus Studios, Red Hat, Bank of Montreal, Selleration Games, and Lulu. I also led organizational and product branding efforts for Campbell University and MacGregor Partners, and am currently working on the brand for Raleigh City Gateway, an energy-positive building in North Carolina's capital.

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Transcripts

1. Why Your Content Needs to Actually Be Good: Right now, the Internet has more content writers than ever, and our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Making matters harder, a lot of writers work so hard to get ranked by Google in the top page of search results that when they're ideal audience finally shows up clicks on their content. The audience bounces immediately because the content is creative or engaging. It's not enough to write constant. That's accurate. You have to write content that is actually good. My name is Alan Ball and I have been a digital content writer for more than 12 years. I've written for brands like IBM, G E Linked in and Red Hat, and I want to help share some of the lessons that I've learned how to write content that it's actually good in this skill share course. In this course, I'm not gonna talk about the basics of content riding. We're not gonna talk about S, C, E O or H twos or into the other mechanics. Instead, I want to get at the empathy with the audience in the engaging emotional content that actually gets people to read the log post that you want to put together. We're gonna talk about ways to identify your ideal audience had outline your content to save you time down the road and the proper way to approach revising your content to make sure that it's as good as it actually can be. In short, by the end of this course, you're going tohave blawg post that you will share and put on your skills share score site . By doing that, you'll be able to share your writing with me and the rest of the world and put together some long content that is actually good. Let's dive in. 2. How to Write Basic Blogs: Hi there, and welcome toe Lesson one. First, I want to encourage you as a writer. You can write content that is actually good. You could touch people's emotions and drive them toe action. However, you're not gonna be able to do that by writing the same kind of content that everyone else is. So, in this lesson, we're going to start with the basics and look at the kind of average blawg posts that are all over the Internet. This will help you move past the average and into writing content that is actually good. In this lesson. I want to talk about the basic kind of blawg content you see all over the Internet. Basic, boring content that is not actually good. So if you've been a content writer for any length of time, you already know the classic basic way to structure a blawg post. You have a clear title on premise. You then go into supporting that title with an organized argument that will have probably three points and you will end with a direct call to action. That's usually a link to find out Maura about the thing you just wrote about. So for this boring example, I put together the most boring thing I could think of for a title. Why content marketing is good, My premises. I will explain why content marketing is good and how it can help you. So my argument content marketing is persuasive because 75% of customers read blog's before buying things. Content marketing is affordable because writing blog's is cheaper than buying ads on TV. And constant marketing is efficient because you can measure how many readers it gets and then change the content. If you want more readers, my call to action learn more about how to write content like this by contacting me. The writer. Click this link for my rates. So again, this is an example of how you write basic boring content. 80% of the blog's on the Internet follows some variant on the structure We just went through, and there's nothing wrong with that. But you can't follow a basic structure and expect for your belonged to stand out, go viral or truly engage your readers. If you want to make the leap from content, that's OK to content that is actually good. You need to start with a key question that will power all of your writing efforts going forward. That question starts with who, and we will talk about what that specific question is in the next lesson. 3. THE Question You Need to Write Good Content: Hey there. And thanks for starting lesson, too. Now that we've gotten all the basics out of the way, I want to get into the good stuff. I've always said that great writing begins with great questions, and in this lesson, I'm going to tell you the question you must answer before you can write content. That's actually good. Let's dive in in this lesson. We get into the good stuff, starting with the question you must answer before you can write good content. That question is, who am I writing this content for? If you don't know who your audience is, you are not ready to start writing good content, period in Stop. That's it. This is the big idea of the entire course. Knowing your audience creates empathy. Empathy allows you to write well. When you have empathy with your audience, you know what they want. You know what worries air scares them? You know how they like to consume information, and you know exactly how your product or service could help thumb. This is the path forward the map to help you write engaging and persuasive content that will inspire them to act. Now if you don't know what your audience wants or having led to consume information, what they're afraid of and why you could actually help them. You're just randomly guessing every time you try to write that is writing without empathy or how a robot would try to write a blawg post. You know, spamming, keywords and popular phrases at random. It would make every blawg sound and read the same. And because in that place you were hoping for relevance rather than really trying to connect with your audience. Now you are not a robot. You are a human writer. That means you have the capacity to research, understand and empathize with your chosen audience. To help you do that, we're gonna talk about how to identify and define your audience by creating an audience profile. So this profile could include everything from their age range, job title, favorite publications, marital status, Google search terms. In a ton of other fields, however, is any working content writer knows you only have so much time to research before you start to write a draft of a blawg post this in mind. These are the facts he really need to know about your audience to create an audience profile with their job title on that jobs responsibilities. What do they want and what do they worry about? How did they learn about what they want? How did they find new information, why your solution would actually help them. And what kind of evidence does this audience need in order to trust you? So what do these answers to these questions tell you they're wants shows you what will drive your audience to click on your post to read it. It will help you define the title. You will know what goals your audience as, and that will help you reference those goals throughout the post. How they consume information shows you whether your audience likes to read longer, more in depth blawg posts or if they need lots of visuals and bullet points to get the point quickly. This also could inspire you to make a video rather than writing a long post. You'll also know what they're typing into Google, so you can use that to inform your title and subheadings, so why your product will help them. That shows you which features and benefits of your solution, speak to the exact wants or fears of your audience lead with those needs to win them over, and the kind of evidence that they want shows you how you can prove what you want to say to your audience. You'll know whether this person is going to move more by statistics in science or if they're more emotionally driven in telling them. A really good story about how your product can help is what the key to getting their attention. Once you know your audience and created an in depth audience profile, you are ready to write with Empathy said. Help you do that? It's exercise time. I want you to make an audience profile for the blog's You're going to write for the course project. This starts by identifying the audience and then filling out the fields off what the audience profile demands. These air those fields again just to help you. The audience profile you create for this exercise should give you the answers to all of these questions. Take a minute and do it all right. It's time to evaluate the audience profile that you just made. Here's some questions to help You know how helpful your profile is going to be when you start to write, if you're unsure about any of your answers, that's a good sign. You need to research your audience again to Nome or about who you're trying to reach. So now that you know your audience, it is time to start writing, and that begins by coming up with a title that is actually good, we will cover that in the next lesson. 4. Writing Titles That Are Actually Good: Welcome back. At this point, you know who your audience is. You know what they want to read about, and you know how your product or service can help them. What you need now is a really good title. At the end of this lesson, you'll have one. So in this lesson, I'm going to walk you through. My favorite approach to writing belong titles that are actually good. At the end of this lesson, you are going to be ready to quickly create Blawg titles that are actually good. They will show your reader what they're about to read clearly and grab their attention and not let go. So it's important. Remember, first, great titles don't just appear out of nowhere. They always begin with a clear, compelling idea. So how do you actually come up with clear, compelling ideas? Empathy With your audience? You have to know your audience if you're going to write a title that's going to relate to them. So remember the audience profile you made in the previous lesson? These questions are gonna sound very familiar. If you think about that. Who are you writing for? How can your solution help them and what do they need to know? So if you're starting to get stumped about translating this audience profile information into a good title, first start with what interesting questions is your audience not thinking about? If you can't make a confidence statement, then just asked some interesting questions. Why do we do X like this? What if, why were more like Z? You could also write a post teaching your audience how to do something important to their work. You could also put together a post informing your audience about an impending security issue or technical problem that they need to avoid. The important thing to remember here is focusing on your audience from the beginning that will help you know what kind of title that audience would click on and find interesting. So if you're still stumped, remember, in online content, clever titles are overrated. It is always better to be clear upfront about what you're going to talk about. That to try to sound smart and risk confusing your reader, skip the literary references, avoid the cliche aid movie lines and do not do any elaborate metaphors that show off how smart a writer you are. Those things all matter in creative writing and in trying to impress fancy people. But they're going to confuse the average blawg reader, the kinds of people you most need to reach with the blawg, your writing. Instead, you want your title to introduce exactly what you're going to deliver in the block itself. You want to make it easy on your audience from the beginning. This is the time to be clear, not clever and creative. So my favorite title structures, or these five how to do important thing. Number of ways to do important thing better, what you need to know about important thing, why important thing matters and how audience role can win at important thing. Identifying the audience role in the final structure. There you can engage a CTO I T manager marketing manager. You name it by naming their position in the blog's title. So to test out how while you absorbed all the information we just talked about, it's time for an exercise. I want you to use the audience profile you identified in the last lesson and create at least three titles for the blogger. You will write as the course project. So again, focus on the list of things your audience wants worries about or needs to know about, but doesn't yet using each of those subjects right down a clear title. The bog post that you could write that would interest your audience. Remember, if you get stuck, use one of those five. Go to phrasing options I mentioned earlier how to blank why blank matters blank ways to Blank and so on. So if you're still stuck here, some other tools that you can remember so use titles that speak to your audiences, needs wants or fears suggest how this bloke post is gonna make their job easier or better. Using your title. Asked an interesting question in your title about a subject your audience cares about. Remember, be direct and clear rather than trying to be too clever or funny. You can also include an option that names your audience, identifying their job title like CEO I T manager and so on. Take a minute and do that. Once you have your titles in front of you, it's time to evaluate your title options. So is each of your title options. Clear and direct about your blog's subject is a title really long to take 12 words when you needed six. Can you start outlining the Blawg post right away? Based on this title, have you read opposed with this exact title recently? If you've taken the blog's title from another post, you're probably gonna have to change it or they're going to accuse you of being a copycat. So of the ones you come up with, choose your favorite title for the course project. I've said current here because you can change it later if you need Teoh. So now you have a title that is actually good and you know who your audience is. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to write an outline that is actually good. 5. How to Think about Outlines: hello again. By this point, you know who your audience is and you have some great blawg titles to help you get started . It's time to begin your outline now. Not everyone likes outlining blog's in advance, but this lesson is going to show you why outlines air important and how that can save you a lot of headache. So now you have a working title and you know what you're going to write about. It is time to plan what you want to say by writing an outline that is actually good. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to spin up outlines they're actually useful and will save you time down the road. You'll also know how your outline can show a client what you're going to write about tow. Avoid mistakes and miscommunications now, because this course is designed for intermediate content writers, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on how you should write your outline. These air things you should already know. Your outline maps out what your block post is going to say. Your outline shows you the writer where you should go next. Whenever you get stuck or bored while you're writing you're outlining in this way makes your actual writing of a draft a lot faster and easier. So what should your outline look like again? The style of your outline is up to you personally. I like to use full subheadings and sentences when I write an outline because it makes the actual draft process go a lot faster. Now, if you want to, you could just write one word for each point you want to make. The only important thing is you want your outline to make sense and clearly show what you're going to write, not just for you, but for other people Now. Ah, lot of writers asked. Do I actually need an outline? Because some writers really hate outlining. They feel boxed in by them. They feel like they're having to follow a strict structure that doesn't really work with their style. Other writers really like the security blanket and clear plan, and an outline provides. So do you actually need an outline? I'm going to tell you yes. And here is the big reason why, For content writing outlines are a great tool for controlling client expectations. They save you headaches in this way. If you use outlines well, you're going to save yourself a lot of frustration whenever you write content. Because as a content writer, you are writing words for stakeholders to read the stakeholders air probably the people that are managing you and paying you to write content. So before you get in front of your primary audience, the people you want to persuade the consumers that are going to read your blawg, you have to please the people who are paying you to make the content for those consumers, these people or those stakeholders, your boss, your editor and your client. Your outline is crucial to managing their expectations for what's going to be in the final draft. It will show them the main points and the title that you're going to cover it will include the evidence Insys test statistics you will use to make your case. It will define the call to action, the links you're going to have at the end of your blawg, and most importantly, your outline will show you if you're missing anything important that your client really wants to go in there by sharing an outline with your client. You can get fixes quickly instead of having to write an entire draft and having them tell you it's wrong. If you're outline is dead wrong or if you're missing some really important points, you can fix an outline in about an hour or less. If you've already written an entire rough draft and your client doesn't like where it's going, then you've lost all the time you took choosing the right words, structuring your sentences and everything, and actually completing that draft in this way outlines our time insurance. They protect you from 11th hour changes that your client wants to shove something into your post after you already have a good draft. This way they can add it to your outline instead, off forcing you to fix it once the draft has already been written. So now that you have an outline and you have your title, it's time to actually start writing a good blawg post. In the next lesson, I'm going to walk you through some very proven strategies for opening your blawg post and nailing your audiences. Attention 6. How to Begin Content Part 1: Hey there. So at this point, you know your audience. You have your title and you've got an outline to help you get started. Now comes one of the most important decisions you're going to make. How do you begin your blawg post? Choose the right beginning and your reader will pay attention tilting into the post. Choose the wrong one and they're going to immediately balance and see what's happening on Twitter and the next three lessons. I'm going to go over 12 proven strategies to show you how to begin. A blogger posts in the next three lessons. I'm going to take you through my 12 favorite strategies for beginning a blawg post. This is the first part classic opening strategies. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to choose from four. Go to strategies for beginning a good blawg post. These will help you win the attention of your ideal audience right away and kick start your imagination. So you are ready to write some great content now? I put these lessons together because, as any veteran writer knows, thes e easiest place to get stuck when writing a Balog is at the very beginning when you don't know how to begin. So whenever I get frustrated or stuck, I rely on the 12 strategies that I'm about to walk you through. The 1st 4 in this lesson are classic opening strategies. You can ask a good question. You can use a quotation. You can start with a provocative statement or you can lied with statistics. Now, asking a good question is one of the gentlest, most effective ways to begin opposed. It makes your post sound curious and open minded. It invites the reader into a conversation instead of dictating to them what you think Now the advantage of leading with a question is it helps the reader feel welcomed into your opposed. Now they can't answer the question that you're asking outside of the comments section, but the reader is going to ponder possible answers to your question while they read, they will keep reading your post until they get to the end to see if they got their answer right. It's a nice way of gently bringing the reader into the mind set that you want them to have instead of trying to force them in it very aggressively. Now number to use a quotation from those who know such things by beginning with the lovely words of some expert or visionary in your field or a very respected one. You're implying that this smart quote agrees with you. You also have Ah, it's a nice language that begins your blawg post from the beginnings that you know the rear will be enchanted by the words as soon as they open your post. Now the challenge here is you need to find a smart quote that agrees with you. And you need to find a relevant quote from someone that the reader would respect this community to a lot of light Googling and Internet searches, hoping to find a quote from someone that would fit your blawg post. Well, if it takes you too long to find a good quote, you're going to wish you chose another method. So the next one that I'm gonna walk you through is beginning with a provocative statement. So I've included a few examples here. Everyone hates, adds Shakespeare, sucks the information age is finished. Now the strategy here is you want to grab the reader's attention with a really abrupt short sentence. You know, they opened your blawg post thinking they were going to read this nice, polite blawg and then, boom, they suddenly find a fundamental assumption questioned. Now, surprise is key to making a provocative statement work. I mean, she want a short sense, so the reader isn't going to see the surprise coming. You also have to actually prove whatever unexpected statement you make in your post. So provocative statements can be challenging, but they're also deeply effective. Finally, leading with statistics now example here is 70% of people immediately closed blog's that don't begin with fax. Now. This is arguably the most boring of all these classic strategies, but leading with an interesting statistic immediately gives your post a foundation of analytic rigor. Statistics imply that you've done your research. You have a scientific background in your understanding that makes the rest of your opposed seem a lot more trustworthy and well thought out. Now again, the challenge here is that you have to actually find a good, reliable statistic to back up your argument. This Kenly lead to a lot of looking all over the Internet, trying to find something that will prove what you're trying to say. And if that search takes you a long time, you're going to wish that you tried a different method. Still, statistics work really well, especially for business and scientific types who want to think rationally and have things presented to them with proof whether than stories. All right, so that's it for classic strategies. The next lesson. I will walk you through less conventional openings. 7. How to Begin Content Part 2: Hello again and welcome to Part two of How to Begin Your Blawg. Now that we've gone over some classic opening strategies, let's look at some less conventional openings for those of you who want to be a little more creative. So what's gonna do Part two of how to actually start writing your post? This lesson will focus more on less conventional openings instead of the more proven safe tactics. In the first lesson in this part, By the end of this lesson, you were gonna be ready to choose from four more creative ways to start your blawg post. This will help you win the attention of your ideal audience right away by engaging their emotions and their imagination. So these less conventional openings are. Let me tell you a story. Use a surprise metaphor begin at the end and unexpected humor. So let me tell you, a story is a really proven way to go about this. That has all kinds of forms because there are all kinds of stories. For example, one that I used once waas two minutes into a presentation on Gamification and marketing the speaker used earning extra airline peanuts is an example of gaming rewards. Oh, no, I thought he literally said customers are working for peanuts now. With that story, I was able to begin opposed about Gamification how you encourage your customers to earn loyalty points by spending more time on your digital properties and a smarter way to go about it than just handing out extra airline peanuts for what you did. The nice thing about these kinds of stories are they engage your reader's curiosity and their emotions. It makes it easier to remember your belong to because you were hard wired as humans to remember stories and anecdotes rather than just numbers and fax. Now think about telling a good story to begin is you have to make the opening really strong . It has to be engaging. It has to have some drama in it, and it needs to tie into the blawg post that you're going to write. If you're struggling to figure out how to tell a story to begin the belong post that you're actually trying to start. This might not be the opening for you if you, our creative storyteller, dive right in. So Number two uses surprise metaphor. I use this one once in the past face cream and digital advertising. They both target areas in need of an uplift. So the key here is subverting the reader's expectations by presenting insightful information in a way they didn't expect. If you challenge the readers thinking with inventive or funny comparison, you congrats their interest and get them to read the rest of your post your seizing their attention with surprise truth again, this requires creativity is usually, if you're more of a no nonsense kind of writer. This might not be the opening for you Begin at the end, an example I've used in the past. Her mouse hovered over the confirm purchase button. Did we reach the right customer at the right time? So instead of building suspends like a normal story, would you're skipping to the most important part of the narrative? Beginning with the end is a nice way of telling a results oriented reader that getting through this story is actually gonna be worth it because you're starting at the climax. You're throwing your reader right into the middle of the drama and your enticing the reader to find out more about how they got there. It shows them what to expect and again, the tensions in your telling, not the plot. This is another story driven type of post, so I strongly recommend it For writers that are creative and want to tell a story to begin the belong with their writing in the last one of the unconventional openings is unexpected humor. So here's one of my favorite quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Douglas Adams. So the way that unexpected humor works is you're beginning with a surprise joke. You're subverting the reader's expectations. You're showing them that there's a different way of looking at this subject than the serious fact driven, no nonsense approach. Now, using unexpected humor, suggest to the reader that what you wrote isn't the same old tired discussion of a familiar topic. This blogger is new, it's exciting. It's got a new perspective to share. It's a way of earning the readers trust by showing them that you know what has come before , and you're offering them something entirely new. So with that you have four less conventional ways to begin a blawg. In the next lesson, I will talk about four more ways to begin a blawg and surprise your reader. 8. How to Begin Content Part 3: Hello again and welcome to Part three of how to begin Your Blawg post. Now we've talked about classic opening strategies. We have talked about less conventional openings, and now it's time for one of my favorite sets of openings. Hated practices that actually work. At the end of this lesson, I'll take you through an exercise to help you choose the perfect opening to your blawg post . Let's get started. It's time for Part three of how to actually start writing your blawg post. These are hated opening tactics that actually work. So by the end of this lesson, you will be ready to pick from four controversial methods to start a good blawg post. I love these techniques because they demand the attention of your audience right away, and they don't show a lot of respect for decorum or politeness. Let's dive right in. So these are the hated opening tactics that actually work. You have general statement on life, beat up the straw man, refer to a popular post or just jump right in so general statement on life. This is the kind of thing that you're high school English teacher told you was not a very good way to begin because it was boring. However, this was the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them etcetera, etcetera. So general statements can be boring. But it can also be really elegant, and they could be very relatable because they are general. They are the kind of things that appeal to lots and lots of people. If Thomas Jefferson can use this approach than you can, too, but you have to write a really beautiful one. They need to be written well, and they need to avoid cliche. It's challenging. But if you have a good general statement about life, people will respond to your blawg number to beat up the strawman. Now a straw man argument is when you introduce the simplest, most obvious thing that people don't like and use that as your primary example. Now it works. We're beginning a blogger. Posts like this follows. After 30 minutes of being on hold with Comcast, I realize customer service meant nothing to them. Here's how not to value customers. So beating up a straw man is not a sophisticated way to Rin win over a reader. But if you choose a universally scorned evil, like cable companies, telemarketers or the N S. A. The reader will so often identify with your criticism by having this blinding hate for the thing that you bring up that they're going to forget to be critical, you're over shadowing the readers reason by appealing to the emotions of anger or fear and hate and hate is powerful. You can use it now. When you do this, you have to choose the right villain. You have to choose something that you know your reader is going to despise, because your need your reader to relate to the thing that you're inviting them to hate right away before your reader conceit there deploy and realize that you've manipulated his hate to get him to engage with your argument, he is already halfway through reading your post. It's sneaky but effective option number three, referring to a popular post written by someone more important. So the example here would be, as Nate Silver pointed out in a recent fivethirtyeight post about political statistics, eccentrics Edra. So this is kind of the less elegant version of beginning with a quote by somebody famous. Or more important, what you're doing is you're writing the buzz of a popular subject by or are public figures recent statements to introduce your own thoughts on that same idea. So it's crucial that whatever post you refer to is popular enough that your reader has referred to it. You wanted to be widely known and familiar toe as large an audience as possible. If you're referring to a popular post that isn't actually popular, this opening technique is going to fall flat. Finally, just jump right in. So sometimes people don't want a clever opening. Sometimes they don't need statistics. Sometimes they just want to know. What are you writing this blogged about? So my example here is shoppers are buying something this summer. Make sure your site is the one selling by using the right technology now, because some readers just want to get to the point. This approach can work really well. It also saves you time and gives you more space to actually focus on the argument of your blawg. If you know that your audience remember your audience profile has a very short attention span and just wants you to get to the point. This could be the opening for you. And the other nice thing about this opening strategy is it's very easy to write something where you're just going right into the argument. Personally, I think it's a little bit boring, but it works perfectly fine for what you need to dio. Now it's time for an exercise. I want you to take the blood title that you came up with. Think about the audience profile that you created and take a look at that outline that you put together in case you need it. And I want you to choose from one of those 12 openings to actually start your blawg. So in case you need a reminder here the 12 opening tactics that we went over in the last three lessons. So now that you have an understanding of these 12 opening tactics, I want you to choose one to begin your blawg post. If you want some help choosing the right tactic, here is some advice. So remember your audience. If your audience is no nonsense and rational, you're going to want to choose one of the more direct openings and not one of the more creative ones. If your audience wants to be entertained, go for a storytelling or begin at the end kind of approach. Remember, play to your strengths as a writer. If you know that you have a great sense of humor. If you know you can tell a good story used one of those openings. If you know that you're much better at making a factual, statistic driven kind of argument, you're gonna want to go with one of those. Now, some of these strategies air much easier than others. Coming up with a good joke can be very easy for some of us, something those can find it very difficult. Also, if you're going to spend the Internet, spend time on the Internet trying to find the right statistic or quote that could make this take a little bit longer. It's okay to make up a statistic for now, but before you publish this blawg post, you're going to want to make sure that it's accurate so you can use that as a placeholder. But again, there is nothing that is going to save you from the time you need to do the research. And finally, if you don't like any of the openings you come up with, its OK to start over with a different choice. Before you publish your course project, I want you to have exactly the opening that you want. So now it's evaluation time. Take a look at the opening you just wrote. Were you able to draft one you liked? Can you see your audience actually liking this opening? Does your opening fit the rest of the outline of the blogger you want to write? Does your opening have tension, humor or insight? Is there something compelling about it that would make someone want to keep reading? And do you feel happy to the answers to this assessment? I asked this last one because I want you to rely on your instincts. If you think this opening will work, go forward. If you have a lot of questions about it and you're unsure, it might not be the right one for your blawg. All right, The next lesson we're going to dive into how to write a first draft and that you had your strong opening. You're ready to begin 9. Writing Rough Drafts That Are Actually Good: Welcome back. Now that you know who your audience is, you have your title, you have your outline, and you have the perfect opening for your blog's post. It is time to write your rough draft. At the end of this lesson, I will take you through an exercise to help you get that first draft done, and then you'll be ready for revisions. All right, it's time to learn about how to write a great first draft that will actually be good eventually. Now there is nothing you can do that will make you a better writer than getting good at the drafting and revising process. Writing is like any other skill you can practice. No matter how talented you are, you will never be the best you can be the very first time you do something. So by the end of this lesson, you will be ready to write the first draft of a blawg with speed and honesty. And you'll know exactly about how to think about revising drafts two and three. So the purpose of a first draft you want to make a useful mess Now, at the end of your first draft, you're going to have sentences that go on too long. You'll have stories that don't make their point. Clearly, you are gonna have more than one grammar or spelling mistake, but under all that mess or a lot of big, meaningful ideas that are actually good later, you will fix the problems in your messy draft while polishing the good ideas that make it worthwhile. But until you write your rough draft down, you will not have anything to respond. Teoh. You won't have anything to edit, and you certainly won't have anything to show other people so that in mind, the first draft is for you. This is where you get your big ideas. On paper. You can be as weird, bold and profane as you want, because with rough draft, you are the only one who needs to understand what you're trying to say for now. Now that in mind, the most important qualities in your rough draft speed and honesty the speed side is you want to get it done, you want to have its few impediments between the idea that is in your head and what ends up on the page, and the honesty side gets into that to you don't want to try to edit yourself A. This point. The rough draft is when you translate what is in your outline, what is in your imagination into something that you can read and respond to on the page. This is not the time to worry about something sounding weird or stupid or being hard to understand. The rough draft is when you get real about what you want to tell the world, share what is really happening without worrying about sounding crazy or wrong. So the signs of a good first draft you have a beginning, middle and end. All of your big ideas are written down, and you, the writer, can read it and find what you want to say in all of the words. In short, you have an actual draft you can revise. The point of the first draft is to get everything out of your head so you can revise and edit it later. So this in mind, our next our next point is to get into the exercise. I want you to write the first draft of your blog's post. After all, you have your audience profile. You have your outline. You have your title, and you even have a great opening because you wrote that in the last lesson. Now I want you to take all that and try to put together a first draft of your belong as quickly as you can. I recommend you try to finish in four hours or less. So that done, let's get into the evaluation stage of your draft. So did you include everything in your outline and introduction? Does your draft have feel complete or there's something missing wrong or fake dishonest in it? Do you feel like you're glossing over a point you really needed to make? Can you follow your ideas, the flow of your argument from the start to the end of this draft? And do you feel like this Rough draft is an honest expression of what you're trying to say ? It doesn't have to be a perfect expression, but you want to feel like you're not leaving anything out. So let the answers to these questions help you know if you wrote a solid first draft or not . With that done, you're ready for the next lesson. How to write a second draft. It's closer to actually good 10. Second Drafts: Revising for Your Ideal Reader: Hey there. Congratulations on finishing your rough draft. However you're not done. It's time to start revising towards that second draft that's closer to the finish product. In this lesson, we'll talk about how to do exactly that. All right, now it's time to write a second draft of your blog's. It's closer toe, actually. Good. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to revise your first draft to better empathize with your ideal audience. You'll also know how to approach the toughest revisions for your final draft. So remember that useful mess you made with the first draft? The second draft is when you prepare that mess for company. Now, this doesn't mean that you remodeled the entire thing. You just need to clean up so that someone else can make sense of that useful mess that you put together the first time you want someone. Oh, did you want to take the first draft and make it easier for someone else to understand in the second draft? So the main audience for your second draft, your ideal reader Imagine the perfect audience for this blawg. It could be your best friend at work. Your spouse or your partner, your biggest fan or you're perfect client pictures, someone who loves your writing, and they'll read it eagerly to understand everything they can about it. You want to revise to help this friendly reader fully appreciate your brilliance. So that in mind, the most important qualities of a second draft our clarity and empathy now unclear. Do you want to make sure the entire thing makes sense to someone who is not you? You want to organize sentences and paragraphs in a way that the argument flows well. The sentences all makes sense, and you want to get rid of any spelling errors or grammar mistakes that are going to be distracting. Empathy means that connecting with the reader at any point that you could imagine your ideal reader, the really, really enthusiastic audience saying, Wait, what does this mean exactly? That tells you you need to revise that point to answer that question. Think about someone, how someone other than you who really wants to understand would still get lost, confused or wonder why you said something in a certain way. Use that observation to empathize with your ideal reader and make the second draft more clear. It's also worthwhile to empathize with your ideal reader's attention span by making sure this draft flows well and doesn't go on too long. So signs of a good second draft you want your argument to be clear and easy to follow. You want to have fixed obvious mistakes from grammar, spelling and the weird phrasing that might be in there that made sense to you but wouldn't make sense to someone else. And most importantly, by the end of the second draft, someone else who is not the writer should be able to read this draft and understand it. And once that's done, you be ready for the hardest part of revisions, which is satisfying your worst critics so that in mind it is exercised Time. I want you to write your second draft. Take a look at that first draft you put together in the last lesson. I want you to look for ways to clarify your points and better empathize with your ideal reader. If you'd like an example for how I approach editing my own work, I've included a sample blawg paragraph as an editing exercise. As part of this course, you can take a look at that. If you'd like to see for the kind of things that I look for when I'm editing myself, all right, so take your time and write your second draft. When you're ready, it is time to evaluate. So looking over it again, did you find any errors and spelling grammar or mechanics that you had to fix? Did you add any subheadings to your draft to make it easier for your reader to follow your argument? Did you add any explanations or details to anticipate reader questions, asking you what you meant by a certain phrase or statement? Do you feel like you could hand the second draft over toe a friendly reader, and they would like it, engage with it and agree with it. So let's your answers to those questions guide you because we're getting ready to get into the third and most challenging draft the final draft, where you're going to make your blawg actually good at last 11. Finishing the Final Draft (and This Course!): hello again and welcome to the final lesson in this one. We're going to take that Polish second draft that you put together and then revise it until it is the final draft that will make everyone proud. Let's dive in. All right, we're in the homestretch. In this final lesson, we will talk about how to write a final draft that is actually good at last. By the end of this lesson, you are going to be able to polish your second draft to the best possible version of your argument. You're gonna fix all the mistakes in your blogging that will stop critics from getting angry at you in your comments section. So the purpose of the final draft that is silencing your critics in advance now that you have a draft that expresses the ideas you love and it would make sense to a thoughtful, enthusiastic reader, it's time for the toughest part, which is revising With your critics in mind, I want you to picture a neigh Sayer Ah, competitors Ah, person whose mission it is to second guess all of your ideas and make sure that you actually know what you're talking about when you're writing someone who picks apart everything that you write in your blawg. That is so you need to think about for the final draft. It's time to double check your arguments, verify your fax and use statistics and evidence to back up any generalizations you made. You have to be strict with yourself because this draft needs to be as airtight as possible . So, most importantly, it's time to be strict about how your content flows from point to point. When you're editing your final draft, you want to cut tangents, jokes or stories that don't help your argument. You want to eliminate any extra adverbs, passive voice or any other extraneous words that are not doing anything to add to the argument that you want to make. So, you know, anticipate your reader questions and answer them. Anticipate your reader critiques and resolve thumb. And at this stage, it's especially important to have another person help you edit and review your draft. Your editor is always going to find things you overlooked because they naturally have a critical distance from your work. Now it's important to not bring an editor in until you've gotten closer to this final draft because you don't want to have to rely on another person to do all the hard work for you. You want them to find things that you could not find for yourself. Think of your editor. Is the practice audience for your work. They can help proposed cuts and changes that you might forgive yourself for, because your editor is going to have your best interests at heart. That in mind, it's time for our final exercise. I want you to revise you the second draft beer blawg and fixed any issues that your worst critic would attack. Remember to be strict with yourself and dive in deep to make sure this is airtight as it possibly can be. And now it's time for evaluation. So look at this final draft he put together. Did you eliminate passive voice, weird phrasing and any remaining errors? Did you check all your statistics to make sure the sources that you were using were trustworthy? Are there any week phrases or sentences in this draft that ah harsh reader would notice and criticize? And probably most importantly, do you feel like this final draft represents your best work Now, if you don't like your answers to any of these questions at the sign. You need to go back and take a closer look at this final draft to revise it and make sure it's the best work you possibly can dio. Now that you have finished your final draft, congratulations, you have finished a blogger that is actually good. Give yourself a high five and please upload your blawg post to the Project Gallery so I can read it. I can't rate to take a look closer. Look at your work, and I'm sure classmates would love to see it as well. So in this course you learned a lot of things. Let's talk. We learned about the importance of focusing on your audience. You learned about how to write ineffective title. You learn about why outlines air useful and save you all on a time you learn 12 ways to begin your blawg post effectively, and you learned how to approach drafts and revisions. If you've enjoyed this course, please rate review and share it. I would love to hear more of your comments and suggestions on how I can improve as a teacher and if you'd like to follow me for more marketing insights or any other things that I'm thinking about. There is my Twitter handle, Muller Baller. My website is also there as well. If you'd like to review some of the copyrighting work that I've done in the past, many thanks and I hope you have a wonderful career as an actually good writer.