A good place to start? Write well, write frequently and murder your darlings.
Entrepreneurs are often told to fail quickly, but when you’re a writer, your primary product is content. What can you do to build the same mentality into written text?
When start-ups seek to fail frequently, they’re really aiming to try new things and to not be afraid to throw out what doesn’t work. If you publish often, the same mentality should apply.
1. Explore your topic.
Don’t be afraid to go obscure and see what works. You can find out if your audience is interested through Google Analytics, tracking click-through rates or using tools like Lijit or Apture which track searches people make on your site.
As you develop more content, you can build on what interests you and your audience. Don’t be afraid to throw out odd or off-beat content and don’t be afraid to go another direction if there is no response.
2. Take a stand.
Emotion-free analysis does little to engage readers. Take a look at any media outlet and you can see the mix of opinion with reporting. Find something that you can get passionate about and write about it. Feel our your topic and see if there is a place where you can carve out your own stake. Run your content by others, see what topics interest them and where you can build your own stake.
3. Be controversial.
The web is a notorious echo chamber. There may be times when there’s something that you and masses disagree on. Don’t be afraid to take them on. If you are saying it, there are probably other people thinking it.
4. Modify your style.
The internet has a style book, so do most writers, but when you are building your own content you’ve got to find your own path. Examine your text to see what sort of unique phrases you use and build on them to make your content stand out. Establish a dialog with readers through your writing, building on what creates responses and throwing away the stuff that doesn’t.