In this article, we feature 9 content writing practice exercises that can help you improve your craft.
Content writing describes the art of producing articles, blog posts, stories, eBooks, web pages, and even books about a particular topic, web drives and content.
And there are more writing job opportunities than ever for content writers today.
But what type of exercises should you practice if you want to improve your writing skills, become a better writer and earn more from clients?
1. Learn a Copywriting Hook
Copywriting describes writing words that sell. It could be a sales page, a sales letter, email marketing campaign or landing page. Good copywriters get six and seven figures a year for their work.
It takes a long time to become a profitable copywriter, but studying popular copywriting frameworks will help you build better writing muscles.
One particular easy to use copywriting framework is the Problem-Agitate Solution copywriting formula.
Introduce a problem.
Agitate the problem by explaining why it matters.
Solve the problem for readers.
This copywriting framework is a great content writing exercise for introducing your articles, stories, or even chapters in your book.
If you'd like to learn more copywriting framework exercises, reading a great copywriting book helps too.
Read our guide: What Is a Copywriter?
2. Write and Publish One Blog Post Ever Day
It doesn't have to be an epic guide. Start small. Start with 300 words.
Answering Quora questions and blogging about your chosen industry on Medium exposes your writing to more potential clients and helps build a portfolio.
If you're a new content writer, this strategy helps cultivate a habit of writing every day and learn more about writing engaging content. Plus, you can add to pieces over time and build a library of content.
With Medium, in particular, it's relatively easy for a consistent content writer to start earning a couple of hundred dollars each month by publishing their blog posts and articles. Newsbreak is another good place to try.
Read our guide to making money on Medium.
3. Rewrite Old Content
If you've been writing content or practicing content writing exercises for a while now, take an old piece of writing from a few years ago that didn't work. Ask yourself:
- What's wrong with the article?
- How can I improve it?
- What keywords should I include?
- What reader questions can I address?
- Can I use some statistics?
- How can I improve the introduction or include a more compelling call to action at the end of the article.
You can also use this exercise on your best writing or piece of content from a few years ago. Updating older popular blog posts and articles with fresh content, insights, and stats is a surefire way to rank higher in Google search results. Content writers behind big blogs do this all the time.
4. Create Content for a Different Genre or Niche
A niche describes the topic or industry that a website is focused on. Example of popular online niches include:
- Health and fitness
- Food and drinks
- Personal development
If you've spent a couple of years writing in a particular niche, for example, health and fitness, perhaps you could try writing in a different niche like personal development.
A new niche encourages content writers to refine their craft and work outside their comfort zone for potentially more profitable clients.
5. Copyedit Your Work
Good content writers can capture the attention of readers with captivating hooks, stories and even concise language. On the other hand, nothing deters readers like clumsy and awkward written sentences.
If you need help improving sentence structure, consider using a good grammar checker. It will help you find and fix typos, and other missed mistakes.
These best grammar checkers are also helpful if you want to cut down the word count. They'll highlight needless adjectives and adverbs. They also help with changing sentences from the passive voice to the active voice.
6. Use Writing Prompts
Content writers can use writing prompts too. I recommend use a question and site like Quora or a tool like Answer the Public or Buzzsumo.
These sites and tools reveal real-world questions people are asking… and about your niche!
Simply, enter a topic related to your discipline and read through the questions. Pick one, use it as your first sentence or as a type of content writing prompt.
Now, start writing and keep going for at least fifteen. Don't stop to edit the first draft until the time elapses.
Want to learn more? Read our guide to freewriting.
7. Learn an SEO Tool
I'm always amazed when content writers claim they don't need to worry about learning search engine optimisation or SEO. These tools reveal the simple terms and language readers use about a particular topic. And they also explain what types of questions to answer.
Sure, creating content is creative but apply a little rigour. You're not writing a short story for a judge, you're writing for an online audience!
The next time you write a piece of content, spend five minutes research your target keyword (using Google Keyword Planner) and competing content.
If you're a more experienced content writer, invest in proven SEO tools like Clearscope or AHREFs. A content writer who brings the rigor of SEO to their next pitch will stand a far better chance of getting the job than a freelance writer who relies on gut feel.
8. Write Catchy Headline
Headline writing is a distinct discipline for content marketing professionals and writers. But a headline can also make or break a piece of content. Instead of relying on the first headline that comes to mind, write 5-10 headlines for every article you write.
Insert a keyword into the headline and also use a powerword.
If you're a blogger using WordPress, an SEO tool like Rank Math can help you check your headline before publishing it. Alternative, consider using CoSchedule Analyzer or Buzzsumo to deconstruct popular headlines in your niche. I also recommend building a personal swipe file of headlines you like and referring to it often.
9. Change Up Your Writing Style
Do readers or clients like articles written from the first person or the third person? Or do they prefer blog posts that have lots of statistics, imagery, and videos? Or how about real-world storytelling?
Writing a listicle today doesn't mean you have to stick to that format tomorrow. Good content creators can take a single a piece of content and spin it into many variations and formats. Content marketing involves taking one piece of content and tailoring for specific audiences.
For example, a long form article can also work as an Amazon Kindle book chapter, an email series or a Tweetstorm. You could also create a photo essay of your work.
Content Writing Practice Exercises: The Final Word
Consistency builds competency. Spent more time on content creation and you'll build up those writing muscles.
These content writing exercises will help you figure out the types of contents readers want and clients expect. Plus, these exercises will help you hone a catch writing style.
All you have to do is open up the blank page and start writing.
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