Freelance writers

9 Essential Content Writing Tips for Outstanding Blog Posts

Looking to craft blog posts that help you charge higher rates, delight your readers, and make the muses of content marketing sing?

The ideal writing process can be a head-scratcher and there’s no reason to keep it shrouded in mystery. The dslx team strives to empower writers everywhere by sharing our learnings as we go, and in this blog, we’re sharing some corkers!

We’ve compiled nine unconventional content-writing tips for creating exceptional blog posts that stand out, drive engagement, and keep that much-needed organic traffic moving in the right direction.

Off we go!


  • If you’re looking to write more concisely try: killing your darlings and using the KISS principle.
  • If you’re looking to write more convincingly try: writing engaging hooks, using real-world examples, and including expert quotes for credibility.
  • Make your content easier to read by breaking up text chunks with infographics, memes, and videos.
  • Want to build trust with your readers? Start by weaving in story arcs in your content. Learn how with the dslx academy: Art of Storytelling course.

Write mind-blowingly good content with our top writing tips

1. Kill your darlings

Most of the content writing leg/pen work happens after the first draft. It involves cutting weak sentences or even getting rid of entire paragraphs for the benefit of the whole piece. For many writers, this can be tough. It can feel like we’re married to our work, making it all the more difficult to get rid of even the weakest sentences. Killing your darlings is essential to the editing process and stripping down the fluff so writers like you can reach the bare bones of a strong, influential, and engaging piece.

However, killing your darlings doesn't mean just getting rid of bad writing. That’s the easy part. It's about getting rid of anything that doesn't fit with what your blog post is trying to achieve. Easier said than done. Right? A sentence can be enthralling. It could be jam-packed with juicy information and a thing of beauty. However, you'll need to scrap it if it doesn't fit with the mission of your article.

Article mission = the goal your article is setting out to achieve.

Don't start mourning your darlings just yet. Just because a sentence, paragraph, or line of reasoning doesn't fit now, doesn't mean you can't re-home it for:

  • Other blog pieces
  • Social media posts promoting the article
  • Email subject lines sharing the article
  • The basis for other content ideas
  • Blog writing templates and formulas
  • Inspiration for in-app writing

Knowing that you can use your expertly crafted darlings somewhere else means you can get ruthless with the blog piece you're currently editing.

Writing tip challenge: Read a recent blog introduction you wrote and cut a darling. This can vary from a few words to whole sentences. Eliminate anything not moving the piece forward.

2. Keep it simple, stupid

The keep it simple, stupid principle is a part of UX design as much as a part of effective content writing. It prioritizes simple design processes, making the product easier to interact with.  Customers can’t use something they don’t understand.

Much in the same way, the secret behind clear writing is simplicity. Most blog readers don't actually spend much time reading once they open an article. In fact, a few years back HubSpot found that 73% of people who read blogs admit they only skim-read posts—although we’re on a mission to change that!

Readers are often out for quick, short, and snappy answers that make their lives easier. As soon as you make your content too complicated, your readers need to work that much harder to get answers and get frustrated.

When it comes to content, you’re competing with AI too. In fact, confusing and complicated blog posts could make readers turn to Chat GPT for short, relevant answers to their questions. That’s why it’s crucial for your content to be digestible at a rapid pace.

So, K.I.S.S, your readers. Deliver answers as soon as you can, in the simplest methods possible. Some ways to do this effectively include:

  • Use simple, short words instead of longer ones. Be suspicious of some adjectives and avoid adverbs. Go with stronger verbs.
  • Do away with unsightly chunks of text. You want your content to be digestible. Go for bite-sized, two to three-sentence paragraphs. The negative space around your paragraphs gives your reader room to digest.
  • Your jargon should be strategic — keeping your readers in mind. Too much industry jargon can make your content dense and hard to understand.
  • Consider a tool like the Hemingway app which helps you assess your piece’s readability and identify areas that can become clearer.
Using the Hemingway app to assess your writing

Writing tip challenge: Take a look at the same intro from the last writing challenge. Find simple alternatives to any complicated words. Find everyday words for complex jargon and break up any large chunks of text. Use the Hemingway App if you need ideas.

3. Hook your readers at hello

The average attention span in 2023 is 8.25 seconds. You have approximately that much time, if not less, to interest your readers.

A punchy, memorable, and benefit-packed hook is one of the most vital content writing tips we could share.

Your hook needs to say it all: your content's purpose, the value you're providing, and why the reader should care. When crafting content, your hook will most likely be a headline.

Take a look at the difference between these two headlines:

"How you can increase your efficiency with productivity apps."

*yawn* Stale. Uninspiring. Boooring. 🥱

The only magic here is the way the headline puts you to sleep. Let's spice it up.

"8 time-saving productivity apps to enhance your efficiency"

That's more like it.

A hook is ever present in all writing formats, copywriting to content writing, it’s the one thing you absolutely need to grab your reader, give them a good shake, and scream “You! Sit up, watch your posture, and pay attention!”

Writing tip challenge: Write three alternative hooks - headlines for your last blog piece. If it’s a listicle, make sure to include the exact number in the title. Find and include the greatest benefit your subject offers the reader. Remember to keep it short, with 12 words at most.

4. Boost your content cred with real-world examples

It's not enough to just answer your reader's questions. They have to know you're a credible source and get a wider understanding of the topic.

You won't keep your reader engaged, excited, and wanting more through dry, abstract theory. Instead, add some extra oomph to your writing by providing examples—real-world or hypothetical, depending on your subject matter.

Writing about how a compelling CTA makes for a higher CTR? An example CTA (or downloadable pack of them) will give your readers an in-depth look into what you mean and provide them with real-time value.

Dissecting the visual elements of beautifully designed blog pieces? You'll need a few examples to follow through from those brands leading the way. Psst. Here’s one of our favorites.

Snippet from Chameleon blog article: Product-led onboarding for SaaS companies
Source: Product-Led Onboarding for SaaS Companies | Chameleon

Writing tip challenge: Find the central point you’re making in your blog post. After the explanation, dedicate a section to either a hypothetical or real-world example. It’ll make your content more practical while contextualizing it for your readers.  

5. Read, read, and read some more

When starting a creative project, you'll need enough input to create valuable output. It's a general rule for any process, and content creation is no different.

That's why the only thing you should be doing more than writing is reading.

Whether you're doing direct research or skimming for industry trends, reading will increase your knowledge base, boost your vocabulary, and enhance your overall writing style. And we’re not just talking about non-fiction blog content, either.

Reading fiction can also help you pick up on storytelling techniques you can translate into your business writing.

Here are dslx’s top picks for riveting fiction:

For masterful blog posts and business writing, check out:

Or, you could head over to the dslx academy and complete the Art of Storytelling course. It gives you all the storytelling skills you need to become a better writer.

Writing tip challenge: Select a piece of fiction or non-fiction from the examples by the dslx team, and fill your next coffee break with some stellar reads!

6. Build pace with sentence structures

This expert tip is one writers often overlook. Sentences, just like music, have rhythm.

Shorter sentences are easier to read, and someone gets through them at a quicker pace. We’ve found it a best practice to start an article with short sentences. As a reader warms up, you can make your sentences longer.

Increasing sentence length over time builds pace gradually, helping readers build rhythm and comfortably commit to your piece—rather than feeling they’ve been thrown in at the deep end.

The variation in rhythm also makes for more engaging content.

"I like to start with short sentences and build into longer ones. It makes for an easier way for people to find a reading rhythm and not get distracted by what’s going on around them."
— Ray Berry, Founder @ dslx

Writing tip challenge: Go back to your initial introduction and make the first sentences the shortest. Then build pace by making the following sentences progressively longer. Notice the difference in pace?

Remember that each writer is different, and we all have unique rhythms. Read your paragraph out loud and assess the flow. Do sentences seem punchy, or are they long-winded? Do they roll right off your tongue, or are they hard to pronounce? Hearing them will help you identify any potential places for improvement.

7. Use a variety of content formats

While writing is your prime communication method, there's no need to limit yourself. Your readers will appreciate you using all kinds of visual aids to break up a long article or give them a break from plain text.

In fact, many content writing services use this tactic throughout their blogs, including us!

6 reasons why visual content is important
Source: 6 Content Writing Strategies That’ll Help You Acquire More Organic Traffic | Neil Patel

It only takes three milliseconds for the human brain to capture an image. Likewise, the brain processes images 60,000% faster than text. Whenever we're reading, our brains work extra hard to soak up all that information.

That’s why our brains absolutely love pictures. They’re a well-deserved break after processing text chunks. But, don’t stop short at colorful infographics. Spice it up with other content formats like videos, Twitter posts, gifs, and memes.

MEME: Writing is hard but you can do it. Keep up the good work.
Source: 10 Memes Every Writer Should Have On Hand | C.W. Spalding
"I think tweet embeds are really great, and gifs, YT videos, memes, Instagram posts, go beyond screenshots, we try to use a variation of content formats if our clients’ guidelines permit them."
— Ray Berry, Founder @ dslx

Writing tip challenge: Spice up your writing by adding at least two alternate formats in your content. A meme can lighten the mood while an infographic can help your readers understand complex subjects.

8. Find a story theme

"Sometimes I go for the route of food if I'm hungry. But think about one arching example, theme, or story that you can always relate back to. It helps tie the whole piece together and adds something playful to your writing."
— Ray Berry, Founder @ dslx

Stories are the way we make sense of the world. They're logical meaning frameworks that help us learn lessons, connect, relate to each other, and imagine. Human beings have been creating and telling stories since we could communicate. They’re in our DNA.

By weaving an overarching story or theme into your content, you'll make it more human and engaging, helping your information stick with your readers for longer.

The best part? You can learn captivating storytelling techniques at the dslx academy. The Art of Storytelling course teaches you all you need to know about creating tasty story sandwiches that your readers will love. You’ll learn about the elements that make up a truly riveting plot, captivating your readers and building engagement.

Writing tip challenge: Brainstorm potential themes or arcs you can connect your last blog post to. Look for analogies that can connect the two. Writing can be akin to creating a delicious dish with just the right ingredients. If that reminds you of your grandmother’s famous pecan pie recipe and what goes into it, you’ve just identified a good story theme.

9. Build stronger content with expert opinions

As a content writer, you should know your subject matter inside and out. You'll probably spend a considerable part of the process pouring over blogs, press releases, studies, and more to ensure you’ve got your bases covered.

But, how do you become an expert on the subject? Well, the short answer is: you can't.

Experts spend their whole lives dedicated to one subject matter, and you can’t become an expert within a deadline.

Instead of seeking to be an expert yourself, commit to writing content based on expert opinions.

Adding expert opinions through quotes and their personal experiences makes your work more credible and relatable.

Snippet from Maze blog article: "While bank offering remain largely the same, the emphasis on brand and user experience has grown"
Source: Elevate, Engage, Retain: Transforming customer experience in financial services | Maze

It ceases to be just your opinion but instead builds upon the wealth of other credible sources.

You'll likely find blog pieces or social media posts like LinkedIn and Twitter with expert opinions you can lean on if you don’t have the time to reach out to experts yourself. But, if you do have the time, we’d highly recommend hosting interviews to get an unheard-of angle and real-life story to accompany your article.

Writing tip challenge: Look for expert opinions on your last blog’s subject matter through LinkedIn. If there aren’t any helpful posts, reach out to thought leaders and ask a few questions. You’ll be surprised how willing experts are to share their knowledge!

Enrol in the dslx Academy and learn how to weave the art of storytelling into your everyday

Writing takes more than one element for an outstanding blog post, making your readers feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Take storytelling as an example. According to a study in Princeton, storytelling synchronizes neural activity between writer and reader while releasing oxytocin — also known as the love hormone.

If you’re ready to write stories that warm your readers' hearts, build trust, and keep them coming back for more, then head over to the dslx academy and enroll in our first course: The Art of Storytelling.

The course gives you all the tools you need to weave in masterful stories in your business writing and even write fully-fledged fiction stories of your own. Good luck!

Content writing FAQs

What are the key elements of good content writing?

The key elements to writing good content include preparing an outline, writing a captivating hook, using examples, and building content around expert opinions. Once these elements are combined, you’ll have a potentially solid piece of content writing.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in content writing?

Common mistakes in content writing include poor research, not knowing your audience, and writing overly complicated content. You should also avoid weak and unengaging hooks.

How can I measure the effectiveness of my content?

One way to measure effective content is using Google Analytics or similar tools to track metrics like time on page and clicks. CRM software will also have various built-in tools for measuring your content.

guest writer
Armin Tanović
Armin is a copy/content writer with over three years of experience working at marketing and branding agencies in Europe and the U.S . Working with dslx, he's written for some of the top businesses in UX design, workplace training, travel, and more. When he's not typing away at a computer, you can find him either lifting weights, kickboxing, or reading 20th century literature. He’s all about physical and mental strengthening!

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