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Become A Full-Time Writer

6 Strategies Every Writer Must Use To Be Successful

person writing in journal on table

It’s been a while since I (Brad), the owner of this blog, sat down to churn out a new post.

While I didn’t expect that to be the case, I have to admit, I have been less-than-organized about my approach here for some time.

That will no longer be the case. 🙂

It’s not a good thing for this blog that I’ve been away for so long, but it is good that I have a much larger, deeper, and stronger grasp on what works in writing… and what doesn’t.

Over the last three years, I have learned, practiced, discovered, failed at, and succeeded with various strategies that I will tell you about in a moment.

The last time I sat down to pump out blog posts on BradleyJohnsonProductions.com, I’ll be honest… I didn’t know nearly as much about blogging or online content production as I do now. Including useful skills like SEO, backlinking, social media, content syndication, and visual presence.

I needed to take a step back. Not only for me to get more serious about my craft, but to be able to bring more value next time around.

I could keep writing aimless posts, or worse yet, keep my newfound discoveries to myself, but that wouldn’t help me or you.

Let’s get into the 6 strategies every writer must use to be successful, break down what works, and lay out how to do it.

person journaling at their desk

Be Consistent, No Matter What

Consistency is a writer’s best friend. Yes, that’s really the truth! There’s nothing more important to being a writer than writing consistently. As I’ve shared in previous posts, it doesn’t matter if you’re writing on a Monday night, a Thursday afternoon, or a Sunday morning. Whenever it works for you is the right time to do it.

There's nothing more important to being a writer than writing consistently. Click To Tweet

The key is to put it in your calendar, set up your writing space if you need to, and make it happen. There’s a difference between hoping to get the time to write or trying to “find the time” and putting it on your calendar right now, because events in your calendar equal commitments.

Think about it: when you have an event in your calendar, even if it’s to run an errand or go for a meal, you know you need to make it happen. We humans are creatures of habit and prompted visually, and if you aren’t giving yourself the tools necessary for predictability, it won’t happen.

I know that getting things in your calendar means you have to let go of other things you want to do, and that’s the point. You have to say no to the good so you can say yes to the great. You have to say no to uncertain squandering of time so you can say yes to certainty and results.

You have to say no to the good so you can say yes to the great. Click To Tweet

When you get rid of one thing in your calendar or time, you open up room for more important things. It’s the way any successful person ultimately has to structure and generate their dreams and I know it can work for you too. It has worked for me in the past and continues to work for me whenever I am serious about it. Give your writing and dreams the successful strategy they need to become real!

Give your writing and dreams the successful strategy they need to become real! Click To Tweet

P.S. There’s no set length of time you have to write. Some people find focus and productivity in 30 powerful minutes of straight writing every day. Other people find that it’s easier to go for an hour and a half or two hours with a short break in the middle. It doesn’t matter what does or doesn’t work for you, as long as you pick a recurring day, time, and location.

laptop and notebook on table

Write An Outline Every Single Time

If there was one tip I wish I could have given my younger writing self to be more productive and happier years ago, it would be this: write an outline for everything. Yes, everything. 🙂

Whether you’re drafting a new blog post, putting together a book, crafting an email, or arranging written course material, an outline gives you the flow of content production that’s necessary for your work to reach the finish line. It also offers sanity and mental balance instead of feeling like you’re always up against a blank page.

Just like there’s no perfect answer for when to write and for how long, there’s no hard-and-fast rule for outlining. Plus, even if you already have ideas for the post, email, blog, or other content you’re writing, finishing the outline first makes it much easier and faster to finish.

For blog posts, I like to get my title and at least three to four subheadings written down before I ever start on a paragraph. It gives me a chance to visually and mentally “write” the article in my head before physically writing it, and I can adjust it if I have forgotten any crucial subtitle points.

Creating an outline first also forces you to break up your content into sequential, digestible pieces. If your outline is already in a position to guide your reader naturally through your content, the paragraphs you write will be that much clearer and effective. Among the 6 strategies every writer must use to be successful, this is the fastest to use and saves you the most time up front.

seo letters on table

SEO Matters (And Yes, It Really Works)

While search engine optimization (SEO) is nothing new by today’s standards, it has fallen to the wayside in some respects. It used to be at the forefront of the “latest” marketing strategies and everyone was peddling it just a few years ago. And this is for good reason: SEO is a core component of how users find information on the web, and mastering this skill is useful for any writer. It’s one of the 6 strategies every writer must use to be successful because you can learn it relatively quickly and implement it immediately.

SEO is a core component of how users find information on the web, and mastering this skill is useful for any writer. Click To Tweet

There are a few fundamental elements of SEO in any piece of content:

  • Keyword research
  • Your title tag, H1, and meta description
  • Great content that complements your keyword(s)
  • Staying relevant without aiming for territory that’s beyond your level of competition

There are many other aspects of SEO too, such as schema, alt text, backlinking, and sitemaps to name a few, but the above four bullet points are fantastic building blocks. They’re the characteristics of baseline SEO you’ll return to again and again. So, let’s break them down a bit, and I’ll offer my personal recommendations.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the bedrock of any SEO effort because it’s how you know if you’re producing content that people are already searching for. It allows you to find the average monthly search volume (SV) of any keyword or phrase, and to see how competitive it will be to rank for.

Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, or UberSuggest to find keywords people are already searching for. Once you enter a keyword idea or root keyword, each tool will display the average estimated number of people searching each month for that keyword.

Naturally, you’ll see that brief keywords (fat head keywords) have a lot of search volume, whereas lengthy keywords (long tail keywords) have less search volume. You want to go after long tail keywords, especially as a new writer (or a writer new to SEO), because it’s within these keywords that your content will rank much more easily.

I recommend using Google Keyword Planner or Moz. Google Keyword Planner is free, but you’ll notice that if you haven’t run an AdWords campaign yet, the keyword accuracy they limit your results to is extremely broad. This is still useful but you may not find as many long tail keywords as easily. Still, it’s a fantastic place to start, and you’ll be able to see how high or low the keyword’s competition is. Make a sheet of the keywords you’re going after, and then incorporate each one once or twice into any blog post that’s 300 words or more.

Moz and SEMrush are great tools as well. You’ll see that many of these options offer free and paid features, but the free features can definitely get you moving with their insights.

Titles, H1s, and Metas

When Google is crawling a page for information, it’s looking at the page’s title tag, H1 (first user-facing header on a page), and the meta description. All of these page components are used to determine what the page is about, and where Google decides to place it in the search engine results pages (SERPs) accordingly.

To check and know where to update the H1, title tag, and meta description of any page, I recommend SEO Minion. This is a free Google Chrome extension that is point-and-click levels of simple.

High-Quality Content

At the end of the day, content that is informative, entertaining, useful, or all three will outperform any other SEO tip or trick. That’s not to say SEO-ing the heck out of all your content is bad (it’s definitely worth doing), but humans are the ones using technology to find solutions to their problems.

At the end of the day, content that is informative, entertaining, useful, or all three will outperform any other SEO tip or trick. Click To Tweet

If your blog post gets an A+ on the SEO end but the content itself isn’t original or powerful, readers aren’t going to resonate with it. The popularity and authority of a piece of content are two SEO factors that are driven by human behavior. It’s to your benefit to always be producing content that people love at the end of the day, which will naturally multiply your existing SEO efforts.

Relevant SEO Territory

It’s important not to go after keywords that are beyond the scope of your website or blog’s current traffic level and ranking capability. This ties back in with keyword research, where it’s important to aim for keywords that have lower search volume and aren’t too competitive.

Generally speaking, if your site isn’t already ranking for a lot of content, or any at all, you don’t want to target keywords that have greater search volume (SV) than a few hundred searches per month (think less than 400 or 300). This allows you to build up content on your site that is able to be discovered by real users in Google. It also allows you to capitalize on terms real people are searching for that not many other sites are targeting just yet.

As you grow your site’s authority and relevance with those smaller keywords, that authority creates a reciprocal effect (the growing popularity of your site makes it easier to rank for bigger keywords and vice versa). Continue backlinking, sharing relevant content via email and social media, and monitor your site for continual SEO improvements.

email app icon

Build An Email List

Building an email list is so crucial for writers and authors of all kinds that I’m surprised it took me as long as it did to discover it. If there’s one thing you can do to simultaneously grow your audience, build authority, strengthen relationships with leads, and achieve “traffic on tap,” it’s creating and maintaining an email list.

If there's one thing you can do to simultaneously grow your audience, build authority, strengthen relationships with leads, and achieve "traffic on tap," it's creating and maintaining an email list. Click To Tweet

Whether you’re creating an email list for the first time or have subscribers already and are looking for new platforms to work with, it’s important to choose an email service provider that you enjoy. Mailchimp, AWeber, GetResponse, Ontraport, Constant Contact, Omnisend, and ConvertKit are just a few of the leading and more popular email marketing platforms available.

The most important step here is to start building your list today. Creating a list of names and email addresses of people who are interested in your products and services is the fastest and surest way to more income, bigger readership stats, and overall success. An email list is the number one way to:

  • Get your blog posts read
  • Share new content
  • Encourage downloads of your book
  • Sell products
  • Offer discounts
  • Develop a relationship of exclusivity
  • Learn more about why people love your work
  • Discover weak spots and improve them
  • Stay in touch with people who love, trust, and share your work
  • Develop a platform
  • Build a long-term audience
  • Generate referrals
  • Produce affiliate marketing income
woman journaling at desk

Give Your Readers VIP Treatment

Offering personal, practical, and ingenious materials for your readers is the difference between them treating you like every other writer and hanging onto every word you say. When you write a blog post, share the details that have helped you. When you make a video, get personal and don’t be concerned with looking perfect. When you make a social media post, make it fun and encourage people to engage.

These small, personal steps take your content from being so-so to enthralling, inviting, and powerful. There’s no greater way to connect with your ideal audience and clients than to simply be yourself and allow your authentic insights to shine through.

Also, don’t be afraid to throw in quality bonuses and unexpected material for your audience! People love discovering that you went the extra mile for them. It allows them to see that you’re not just in it for you, you’re in it for them! All great writers want their readers to succeed, too, so be the writer who’s willing to share more each time. Throughout these 6 strategies every writer must use to be successful, this is the most important for building personal, meaningful connections with your readers.

typewriter on desk

Share YOUR Message

There’s one final point to make in the 6 strategies every writer must use to be successful: you have to produce the writing that you were born to write.

As a writer, you have to produce the writing that you were born to write. Click To Tweet

Be personal, incisive, and even provocative if you need to be. Not for the sake of being provocative, or in a sexual way–that’s not what I’m getting at. Superior writing is about drawing a line in the sand and saying “this is what it means to be X, and because of that, this is what it means to be Y”.

Excellent writing is about using your words to penetrate the human soul by crafting sentences, paragraphs, stories, and points that no other human mind has yet conceived. Magnificent writing is about taking the malleability of words and forging life-changing statements with them. Statements that rewire the mind, reinvigorate the heart, and revitalize the soul.

Magnificent writing is about taking the malleability of words and forging life-changing statements with them. Click To Tweet

These 6 strategies every writer must use to be successful can generate returns on your writing productivity, audience growth, and organization.

Be the writer you were meant to be. Start today.

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About Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an author and blogger who helps writers discover their niche, build successful habits, and quit their 9-5. His books include Ignite Your Beacon, Writing Clout and Tomes Of A Healing Heart. For strategic content and practical tips on how to become a full-time writer, visit: BradleyJohnsonProductions.com.