Staring at a blank piece of paper (or blinking cursor) can be daunting, especially if you’re on deadline. Whether it’s blog posts, email newsletters, Facebook ads or Instagram captions, writing consistent content can be one of a small business owners’ most time consuming tasks.

The ability to articulate ideas in a business email is different than creating copy. Emails, even formal ones, don’t need to account for SEO, word count, CTR (click thru rates) conversions or any other measurable marketing goal you’ve set.

If writing clear, engaging content is a struggle, we have some ideas for you.

Eight Tips and Resources to Help Hone Your Writing Skills

  • Not sure what the elements of an effective blog post are? This guide from Omnipapers has great suggestions as well as a handyt infographic to Pin.
  • Bookmark sites like Copyscape, Grammarly, Grammar Girl and Hemmingway. They will help with clarity.
  • Listen to podcasts like The Write Podcast and Hot Copy Podcast.
  • Read. Good writers are also good readers. Commit to reading a specific amount each day. Set a goal like 30 minutes or a certain number of pages. Ron Sela suggests 100 pages per day.
  • As you’re reading, make a habit to highlight the sentences or passages that speak to you. Those are clues to a writing style that you can work to incorporate into your content. If it appeals to you, likely it will appeal to others.
  • Keep a copy Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style on your desk.
  • Buy a writing prompt journal of look for writing prompts online. This list from ThinkWritten has a full year of prompts covering a wide variety of topics.
  • Don’t write. Talk. Yes, it seems counterintuitive, but it works. Many people feel they are better presenters and speakers than they are writers. Use dictation software like Dragon to ‘talk through’ a piece that can then be edited for clarity. Conversational writing makes for approachable reading.

What do you find to be your greatest writing challenge? If you have other tips or tools leave them in the comments below!