Tips on writing great copy for your marketing efforts.
It’s just four steps that I call the Writing Path
1. I create a deadline for something to be produced. This creates pressure that I think is very important. Because I write this e-newsletter-BIGNews every other week, I must find an idea and the time to write. If I didn’t have a deadline looming, I think procrastination would be a lot easier.
– Do you have a specific goal and a deadline? If not, just make one up. If you don’t, you’ll have no focus to keep you on track.
2. I define a problem, predicament or challenge I believe my audience is facing. And since I’ve faced most of these problems myself, they are very familiar to me. It might be the problem of creating a marketing message, writing an e-newsletter or putting together a proposal. I only spend a little time thinking about a problem and one usually pops into my head in a few minutes.
– Can you identify several problems your prospects and clients have experienced in the past? What are they currently struggling with? What’s missing for them? Then pick just one.
3. I think about my solutions to this problem. Since I’ve solved many of these marketing problems in the past, I usually have a good idea of what will work and what won’t work. I just reflect for a few minutes about various solutions and approaches to the problem until I feel confident I have something valuable to communicate that will make a difference to those who read what I write.
– Do you have solutions, techniques and strategies you can apply to the problems of your clients and prospects? Can you express these solutions in a way that is easy to understand and apply?
4. Then I just start writing. I don’t worry about doing it perfectly the first draft. I just follow the Writing Path as I’ve outlined above. I try to avoid theory and stay very practical, giving very detailed how-to information. If I can make things clearer with a story or example, I’ll use those too. My main concern is: Can my readers use this information to improve their current situation? If they can, I’ve succeeded.
– Are you ready to start writing using this basic Writing Path? Are you willing to do it imperfectly and then go back and edit and rewrite until it makes sense and flows well?
And that’s my simple Writing Path.
If you are stuck, I believe it’s all you need to get started. And the more you write using this formula, the easier it gets. Not only that, the more you write, the more all your other marketing activities improve because your thinking gets more focused and your communication becomes more persuasive.
So take a shot at it and see what you come up with! What will you write about today?
* Deadlines – You’ll have better results if you have a regular deadline for writing. Interestingly, I found that a bi-weekly deadline was more powerful than a monthly deadline. Set it up so that the consequences of missing the deadline are worse than doing the writing!
* Problems – A good way to prime the pump is to list every problem you can think of that your clients and prospects have faced. Then trim down and prioritize the list until you have several good topics you can write about.
* Solutions – Beside the list of problems, write the main solution that will be the foundation of the article. For instance, beside “Writer’s Block” I’d put “Writing Path.” These sets of problems and solutions will be the foundation for several articles.
* Just Write – The writing that gets the highest readership is writing that is conversational. Throw out most of what you learned in English class and just write like you talk. And then read what you’ve written out loud until it flows naturally.
* Stay Present – Don’t worry about what people are going to think of what you’ve written. Just focus on your ideas and communicate them with clarity. If your ideas make sense, people will read what you’ve written and get the value you intended.