Writing tends to be one of those love-hate things. Some people love it, some people hate it. And it’s usually the people who love it that have the love-hate moments the most!
A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people–Thomas Mann
Sometimes though no matter what you do, your writing just isn’t working. I’ve come across this as both a writer and editor and usually, it’s for one of these reasons below. So, let’s clear the
road writing block!
5 Reasons Your Writing Isn’t Working
Your Headline Isn’t Compelling Enough
Truth time: More than half the time spent writing your post should be committed to working on your headline. More often than not, this just isn’t the case and your headline is the very first thing people see! It’s what baits them in and gets them to click and read through your article. Tease and entice them with something promising and then deliver your goods. I like to use this free headline analzyer tool, or the one within CoSchedule, to help challenge me to come up with better headlines.
You Haven’t Found Your Writing Voice Yet
Whether or not you’re new to writing, sometimes it’s hard to find your writing groove. So if you’re struggling with your writing and just not feeling confident about it, or like your writing style just isn’t consistent, you may not have found your writing voice yet.
Your brand writing voice is simply the style in which you communicate as expressed through words. It can take some practice to feel like you’ve nailed it, and I’ve got a free mini e-course on finding your writing voice if this is something you want even more help with.
You might like: Find Your Writing Voice Free Mini E-Course
You Aren’t Sure Who Your Target Audience Is
Who are you writing to? That’s the No.1 thing you need to keep in mind before you sit down to write anything! As a freelance journalist, I have to adapt my voice and writing style to suit the magazine I’m writing for. It’s the reason you’ll find a story that runs in Parents Magazine won’t sound the same as one you read in Cosmopolitan. While part of that is voice and style as I mentioned above, you need to know who your target audience is in order to find that.
If your target audience is seniors, that means leaving the hipster language behind. Likewise, if your target audience is 20-something fashionistas, copy that’s stuffy just won’t resonate. Make sure you know who your target audience is–and know them well–before you start addressing them.
You Don’t Have Writer’s Guidelines
So you’ve got half of your website written in the first person and the other half written in third. Sound like you? If you’re wishy-washy about your writing style, and don’t have writer’s guidelines yet, it can be really hard to create a consistent and authentic connection with your audience. Think of it just like you would your visual branding: consistency is key.
So what are writer’s guidelines and do you really need them? If you have a team of copywriters or VAs you outsource your writing to, then you should have a simple document that addresses things like:
- Your tone of voice
- How you refer to your company
- Things/phrases you would never say
- How you address your target audience
- Custom hashtags
If it’s just you writing, you can easily keep track of these small details yourself. But as your business grows and you continue to write more and more, it’s helpful to have something you can easily reference that will answer questions like whether or not you use first person on your blog.
You’re Stumped For Ideas
If your writing just isn’t working and it isn’t for any of the reasons above, it’s often just a bad case of writer’s block. When I’m stumped for ideas, it’s hard to get creative, no matter how hard I try. That’s why you need to have a great editorial calendar in place and helpful brainstorming tools to help get you out of a writing funk. And if that still sounds a bit overwhelming, I can help create an editorial calendar for you.
Great writing is just a matter of confidence, and when you know who your audience is, know your writing style, have a killer headline and loads of ideas, your words will flow.