24 Content Writing Practice Exercises Any Writer Can Try

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

wordpress, blogging, blogger
Writing one blog post ever day helps cultivate a habit of writing every day and learn more about writing engaging content

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
  • Finance
  • Food and drinks
  • Personal development
  • Writing

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

101 Writing Prompts

Fiction writers traditionally use writing prompts to overcome common problems like writer’s block and work through a writing a first draft.

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

Clearscope
f you’re a more experienced content writer, invest in proven SEO tools like Clearscope or AHREFs

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.

10. Start a Daily Writing Routine

Start a daily writing routine
Many top writers have a writing routine of their own

Award-winning novelist Stephen King has a writing routine. In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, he shares that he follows a quota of writing 2,000 words daily. Many top writers have a writing routine of their own. If you don’t have one, today is the best time to start.

Set a specific time in your schedule and dedicate it to just writing. This timeslot can be in the morning before you get stressed by your job and other chaos. Or it can be late at night when the world is quiet. The keyword here is consistency.

It will take you around 10 weeks to form a habit. In that duration, you’ll learn discipline and overcome procrastination. You also won’t be scared by a blank page anymore! Plus, you’ll be a more efficient and fluent writer. The more you write, the easier ideas flow from your mind to paper.

Read our guide: How to Write Every Day.

11. Eliminate Filler Words

Filler words do nothing for your writing. They do not add value or clarify your message. Some filler words make content more conversational. But overall, they are unnecessary and make your content wordy. They muddle sentences and weaken your writing.

Common examples are

  • Just
  • Really
  • That
  • Like
  • So
  • Simply

Brevity, or using as few words as possible to relay a message, is a powerful skill. Company slogans best demonstrate the importance of brevity. They highlight the advertising message in a mere two to five words.

Learning brevity will bolster your authority in writing and boost readers’ comprehension. To ensure you avoid using filler words, here’s a comprehensive list you can keep close.

Start training yourself to avoid unnecessary words by writing how you usually do. Highlight any word that doesn’t contribute to the overall meaning or tone of the sentence. Then, remove them. You may feel like this exercise is counterintuitive, mainly if you’re used to a verbose writing style. 

Removing filler words will make your writing tighter, more engaging, and more digestible. In time, turning complex ideas in a clear, concise manner will be second nature to you.

12. Master Storytelling

An excellent writer is an effective storyteller. Stories should transport readers, make them feel emotions, and connect them to your content. Storytelling demands practice, originality, and affinity with your target audience.

When you’re an effective storyteller, your readers will remain engaged. Know what your readers are curious about and what their current interests are, then connect your stories to those subjects.

There are many exercises you can take advantage of to develop your storytelling talents. One of the most effective is narrative writing. Through it, you’ll learn how to build a structured narrative, develop characters, and create interesting plots. 

Mastering your storytelling abilities can significantly increase reader involvement, make your content more memorable, and even inspire action from your audience.

Check out these 10 Personal Narrative Examples.

13. Edit Someone Else’s Work

Here’s an idea: Exchange written works with a friend and edit each other’s work. 

You can edit another’s work even if you’re not a professional writer or editor. It’s an understated but potent method that sharpens writing skills. You will have a fresh perspective on writing and can critically analyze what makes good content. 

When you edit someone else’s work, you can objectively identify writing strengths and weaknesses. You can acknowledge different writing styles and follow formatting rules. Every edit gives you a sharper eye for detail and enhances your critical thinking skills to polish your content writing.

14. Do the Alphabet Writing Exercise

Expand your imagination lexicon with the Alphabet Writing Exercise. Its concept is straightforward: start a sentence with the letter “A,” the next with “B,” and continue until you reach “Z.” I first encountered Alphabet Writing as a group writing exercise when I was in college.

This exercise challenges you to develop cohesive and sensible sentences, all while following the alphabetical sequence. It stretches your creative thinking muscles, urging you to think outside the box to maintain flow and continuity. It also improves vocabulary and sentence structuring skills, as each sentence must logically connect to the next.

Here’s an example:

  • Although it was raining, John decided to go out for a run.
  • Before he could step out, he heard a loud crash.
  • Curious, he turned around and saw that his cat had knocked over a vase.
  • Despite the mess, he couldn’t help but laugh at the guilty look on the cat’s face.
  • Eventually, he cleaned up, put on his raincoat, and braced for a run in the rain.

Alphabet Writing Exercise is not only a great tool for practice but also a way to make writing more enjoyable and engaging.

15. Start at The End

Writing based on the ending of a piece of content will help you master the mechanics of a good writing structure. It’s essentially writing in reverse, where you see the wrap-up and then figure out the path that led there.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a well-structured article, blog post, or essay and copy the final paragraph.
  • Study this paragraph carefully, noting its tone, the key points it reiterates, and the conclusion it reaches.
  • Using this information, work backward to develop a piece that logically leads to this final paragraph.

This exercise will assist you in developing logical sequences and appropriate pacing to keep readers engaged. You also learn the power of effective introductions and conclusions. 

16. Adopt a New Perspective

As a writer, it’s easy to get entangled in your perspective, causing you to overlook how different audiences might perceive your content. This is where adopting a new perspective comes into play. 

For instance, if you’re writing about the law with legal professionals as the intended readers, it’s okay to use legal jargon and have a serious tone. But what if you’re writing the same thing for the general public? What tone should you use? How can you draw them in? Put yourself in their shoes and ask: Would you enjoy your writing?

Remember, not every reader shares your background, experiences, or knowledge. By adopting their perspective, you can evaluate if your content is truly accessible and impactful for a wide range of readers. 

17. Read Other’s Works

Read other's works
Read articles, novels, and essays — each piece of writing offers knowledge

Reading is learning, and a content writer should continuously learn. Don’t get comfortable reading just one author or visiting just one blog. Expose yourself to various writing styles, tones, and genres of writing. Letting yourself explore will stimulate your creativity and broaden your understanding of the written language.

Read articles, novels, and essays — each piece of writing offers knowledge. Pay attention to the author’s language, structure, and storytelling techniques. How do they capture their audience’s attention? What strategies do they use to convey their points clearly? 

Analyze and learn from other writers. You can then incorporate their successful techniques into your writing. After all, writing is not meant to be a solitary proactive. It thrives on exchanging ideas and styles.

18. Pretend You’re Someone Else

I remember copying my mother’s writing style to make an excuse letter when I was in school. She has an elaborate way of explaining things. So, my excuse letter became two paragraphs instead of two sentences.

Have you ever tried to write like someone else? In this exercise, you will have the chance to be anyone. 

Start by choosing a short article. Then, pick a prominent character with a distinct writing style. Let’s go with the prolific writer Alexander Hamilton, one of the authors of The Federalist Papers. Try to rewrite the article, imitating Hamilton’s style. He’s best remembered for his powerful, persuasive writing with strategic arguments and demonstrative language. 

When you write as someone else, you understand their writing process. You realize what makes their content impressive.

Old writing styles may be impractical today, but the essence of effective writing remains the same. For instance, writers then and now still both focus on their readers. This exercise lets you highlight and incorporate these existing overlaps into your content writing.

19. Echo Read

Are you sure your content reads well?

Echo reading is a technique that involves reading your content aloud. You can read to yourself or ask a friend to listen and give feedback after. 

It’s easy to become so absorbed when writing that simple errors, awkward phrasing, and other mistakes become easy to miss. Reading your writing aloud allows you to catch these minor issues before they become major problems. 

Echo reading also helps to ensure your content has a natural, conversational flow. If a sentence sounds awkward or difficult to read aloud, chances are it will also be challenging for your audience to read. Additionally, you get to check the rhythm and pacing of your content, making it more refined and enjoyable to read.

20. Master the Active Voice

Active voice focuses on the subject that does the action. The active voice is more straightforward and concise. It reduces confusion about who is doing what in your sentences. For example: 

  • Passive voice: The ball was thrown by the boy. 
  • Active voice: The boy threw the ball.

Content writing doesn’t ban the use of passive voice. However, the passive voice often uses more words, making the content feel impersonal and vague. As a content writer, you should always prefer to use the active voice when you can. Through it, you can directly present information and make your sentences easier to read and understand. 

Active sentences avoid repetition and give your writing a sense of clarity. It’s easier to make your ideas come alive. Mastering the active voice will dramatically improve your content’s overall engagement and impact. 

See our article on the best passive Voice Checkers!

21. Describe in Detail

In description detailing, your goal is to paint a picture in the readers’ minds. By concentrating on details, you offer a sensory experience to make your writing feel more concrete. 

In this exercise, focus on unusual or repulsive subjects. Look for a subject that makes you feel uncomfortable or strange. It’s a powerful method to develop your descriptive and expressive writing skills. Try describing the following:

  • The texture of a slug 
  • Silence in an abandoned building
  • A budding migraine
  • Chalk against a blackboard

Aim to bring these subjects to life through your words. 

Description detailing pushes you outside your comfort zone and grows your literary skillset. You can explore and discover new ways to express your thoughts and make your writing more captivating and memorable.

22. Practice Writing in First-Person

Use the first-person perspective to make your content more personal and relatable. It’s an effective way to immerse readers and build an emotional connection through words like “I,” “We,” and “Us.” 

First-person writing practice often involves drawing on personal experiences or thoughts. This exercise can include anything from a diary entry to a personal anecdote or opinions on a particular subject. You’re telling a story and sharing an experience or feeling. You can pull the readers into the world you’re building so they can see things from your point of view.

In content writing, first-person POV lets you create more authentic and engaging materials. It also adds depth to your writing by adding unique, personal insights only you can provide.

23. Construct Shorter Sentences

Short sentences keep readers’ attention. They are best for readability and impactful delivery. There is also less room for grammatical errors with shorter sentences.

In this exercise, you can rewrite your old post or find a random article online. Break down the walls of words as best as you can so they are easier to read. You aim to intentionally reduce your sentences’ word count without compromising the core message. 

Additionally, shorter sentences can instantly elevate the flow of your content. They present easily digestible information that is very effective for readers who often skim-read content. They are also powerful tools for drawing attention to key points and adding a dynamic rhythm to your writing to keep readers engaged. This practice exercise trains you to simplify complex ideas and make your content accessible to a broader audience. 

24. Create an Audience Persona

Do you know who you’re writing for? Audience persona creation embodies all relevant information you have on your target audience. It allows you to tailor your writing to specific readers.

Imagine creating a detailed character in a story — their background, interests, behaviors, and struggles. That’s what a persona is. These fictional characters represent different segments of your audience so you can better understand and cater to their unique needs and preferences.

Here’s a quick method to identify your audience persona:

  • Who is your ideal audience? 
  • What are their goals and interests?
  • What are their behaviors or needs?
  • What are their demographics?

Audience persona creation provides a clear writing direction and increases your content’s relevance. You can align your writing with your target’s interests, values, and pain points, boosting engagement through personas. 

You don’t have to have an exact definition of your audience persona right away. You can adjust the persona’s characteristics anytime to reflect any changes.

  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.

Tweet
Pin
Share
Share