What do you do when you’re told you need to write content for your company’s blog or newsletter, and writing is definitely not something you anticipated doing, much less on a regular basis? Fairy Dust would be perfect, right?!
Creating content is quickly becoming a key aspect to any position related to sales, marketing, and customer service. In most small businesses and organizations a few people wear multiple hats and of those, some get relegated with the task of updating the website, overseeing social media, crafting blog posts, and sending out newsletters. All those tasks require regular content creation and writing and can seem overwhelming for anyone who didn’t anticipate spending so much time doing them. When I speak to groups of people or hold training sessions on blogging, the comments I hear most often relate to people feeling ill-equipped to manage the multitude of writing tasks they’ve been asked to do. However, I’d venture to say with the right tools, support, time, and confidence most of these people are the perfect people to create content because they know the business and customer needs the best.
While it’s true some people may never be good writers, most of the time I’m astounded by what can be created when a motivated, determined person gives it a try. Sometimes having a good editor (someone to proof grammar and spelling) is all that is needed to ensure a blog post is professional. While some people function fine in a silo and can get things accomplished alone, others flourish with one or a few support people to help with ideas, read through articles to make sure the main point is coming across, proof that nothing has been left out, etc. Whether you pull someone from an unrelated area to help or ask a spouse or friend who loves to read/write, there are plenty of work-arounds to find a little help and get content flowing on a consistent basis.
One tool I use is a “Blog Post Worksheet” that guides you through the main parts of writing an article for a newsletter, blog post, or other purpose. I recommend taking the worksheet with you to a staff meeting to get input from others to make your job easier. If you have the option of delegating some writing responsibilities, it works great for handing out assignments that others can use as a solid start.
I have a few other tips you may find helpful, as I’ve been writing content a very long time.
Writing Tips from the Trenches
- Just get started. Your first attempt might really stink. If you can be ok with that, you’ll be happy you have a place from which to improve.
- Get started in Word or with a paper/pen. It’s easier to scribble and change things around than in WordPress.
- If lots of thoughts flood into your head, get them down. Even if what you’re writing doesn’t make sense. Go back later.
- Look at your ideas like a puzzle. Shift them around until they start to flow.
- Have a main point to get across. If you know your main point and continually say/think it while writing, it’s easier to make things cohesive.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality, humor, and writing style.
- If you’re not “feeling it” it’s normal. Stop, do something else, and come back later.
- The flip side is true. You may get writing inspiration in the shower, while driving, or sitting through a lecture. Get your ideas down right away.
- Read. The more you read, the better writer you’ll be. It doesn’t matter what you read, just read.
- Shift from looking at things as an “I have to” to an “I get to”. Yeah, I’m probably a little delusional, but it helps to have a positive perspective. There are a LOT of jobs I am thankful I’m not doing and have a ton of respect for those who do them. Writing to me is definitely something I’d prefer to do in comparison to many, many things.
- Look in unlikely places for topics and content ideas.
- Track down a fairy and squeeze her until magic dust appears.
What tip would you add? What gives you the most trouble with writing?