Writing – it’s never easy no longer how long you’ve been doing it. Even some of the most seasoned writers will admit that writing can be downright challenging at times. In my full-time job I do marketing and on a freelance basis I write. But with a marketing job and many other types of positions comes the need to be a good writer. There’s a lot that goes into being a good writer and even though I studied writing in college and have been writing professionally since 2009, over the years I’ve come to depend on a plethora of resources to help me grow and continuously crank out good content. In this month’s article, I’m sharing my go-to writing resources.
As a trained writer, we are taught to keep writing simple; people should not have to use a dictionary to be able to understand our writing. But sometimes you just need a different word for something, not necessarily to complicate writing but in most of my cases, because I’ve already used a certain word too many times and want to say something a different way.
Need a reminder on how to use “their” vs. “there” or “effect vs. “affect?” Grammar Girl is a great resource for usage and punctuation.
I see Grammarly as my own personal proofreader when I can’t use a human. Oftentimes we will get so caught up in our writing that we miss small things such as the use of “the” or “an.” Grammarly is great at picking these errors up.
When Tara Clapper, founder of the Greek Initiative was my editor at a publication I contribute to, the SEMrush Blog, she introduced me to Co-Schedule’s Headline Analyzer and it has been super helpful with my headline development. It scores your headlines and offers suggestions on how to make them better. I’ve found scoring higher than an 80 to be challenging and typically am happy with a 60 or higher but the tool helps you score better by offering headline tips. Here’s an example of what an analysis looks like:
This is just a good publication in general for getting daily tips and finding writing webinars.
There are a bunch out there. I listen to Grammar Girl, Writing Excuses, The Writing University Podcast, and Story Maker’s Show.
For inspiration, bookmark the blogs of some of your favorite writers. Reading great writing can help you become a better writer. When I was in college, a professor told me to read and study the New York Times because they felt it had the best writing in the world. While I can’t ignore that, I ended up getting hooked on the writing of Time Magazine; Joel Stein and his quirky columns entertained and inspired me. Today some of my favorite writers are David Leonhardt of the Happy Guy Writing Services, Mike Wood of Legal Morning, Ahmad Raza of Wise Toast, and Ann Handley of Marketing Profs. Find writers you admire and study their writing styles!
Copyblogger focuses on teaching people how to write content for the web. Thus, its blog features content on how to write for SEO and content marketing.
With the rise of the Internet, I still believe that one of the most powerful tools for learning is a book. Here are some writing books on my bookshelf:
• On Writing Well by William Zinsser
• Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
• 47 Mind Hacks for Writers by Karen and Steve Dimmick
• The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Straus and Lester Kaufman
• Don’t Tell Me, Sell Me by Greg Koorhan
What kinds of topics would you like me to discuss next month? Send me an email at email@example.com letting me know!
Marisa Sanfilippo is a journalist turned award-winning marketing professional who has more than six years experience developing and executing marketing campaigns for small and medium sized businesses. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Social Media Today, Business.com, Patch, and other publications.