Struggling to write ONE content marketing piece per week? One a week isn’t a lot, but if you can get good at writing one, you can grow into 2-3. The reality of content marketing is that everyone is now a publisher – every professional, company and brand is putting themselves out there, not by pitching and selling (we’re burned out on that), but by creating valuable content that people want to read. If you can’t seem to get in the swing of it, here’s what you do:
Day 1 – Be Mindful.
Whatever you’re thinking about, whatever is on your mind or stirring up your emotions, is probably worth blogging about, even if you don’t immediately see a business case for it. Emotional content, not promotional content, gets more hits and shares, drives vastly more conversions and is the main reason people follow a brand. Be aware of your own thoughts and feelings and whenever something stands out, write it down in your notebook (you are carrying a notebook, right?).
Day 2 – Choose and Add Flesh.
It’s not time to write, yet. Pick something from Day 1 and add three points to it. Again, you don’t have to know yet how it applies to business. You’re making sure you can’t forget the thing you’ve chosen. You’re also setting it up so more thoughts will jump out and add themselves to this mini-framework throughout the following 24hrs. Be sure to look at your notebook when you wake up – ideas often germinate overnight. Your three points should be three sentences or phrases that are enough so you’d be able to write a post on the topic.
Day 3 – Relate the Topic to Your Audience.
It’s not about what relates to your business, it’s about what relates to your target audience. Who are they? Home owners? Accountants and Attorneys? Investors? People of a certain age? Look at your notebook, pick one of your audiences, and jot down 3 ways your mini-outline relates to THEM. It’s still not necessary to see a business purpose. You just need to see what THEY care about in general for most of their day, even if you’re not in it.
Day 4 – Add one short example, story, or illustration.
Think about WHY you think what you think, feel what you feel, know what you know. Why is this on your mind in the first place? That WHY is your reservoir of cementing material – the place you find your story. Remember, if you find it worth thinking about – if you find it moving or inspiring or interesting – there’s a good chance your audience will. But ONLY if you dig authentically into WHY and convey it as a story.
Day 5 – Write it.
Look at your notes. Write fast. Write in one draft. Don’t edit while you write. If your Editor mind kicks in, it’ll stifle any genuinely human attributes your piece has. It’ll kill any risks. It’ll make it boring. It’ll refuse to connect with the audience. It won’t let you lead, inspire, or stand out. You’re not publishing this yet. You’re just writing it. Do that. Make it 300-400 words for web content.
Day 6 – Break it Up.
For any paragraph longer than 4 sentences, break it into two paragraphs. Resist the temptation to add extra sentences. Instead, add a headline for each paragraph. Make the headline an imperative (e.g. Stop Wasting Money on Remodeling) or a point that sums it up (A Pool You Don’t Swim in is a Poor Facade) or an encouragement or inspirational hook (Your Home is Someone Else’s Future). Read just the headlines aloud and together – skip the rest of the text – and see if it would motivate you to read the print underneath.
Day 7 – Preview & Post.
Check grammar and spelling, add a relevant image (use the smallest size of an image you find on 123rf, if you don’t have a photo of your own), but don’t hold back on making it live. You’re not writing for your High School English teacher or the Scientific Review. Don’t worry about looking good – be concerned if you’re not being authentic. The chances of people not liking your post are far less than the chances that no one will give you a first or a second thought if you don’t post. Put the post in your blog, add your bio if it’s not automatically added, and hit “publish”. Things to do after you post: Share it on your social media. Add it to your list of possible items to include in your next newsletter. Make a slideshare or a video from it. And, most importantly:
Do it again!
Step one is “be mindful”. You’re not going to run out of material, if you do that. You’re a thinking, breathing, feeling machine who is looking at the world around you, doing significant things, and getting a new sense of things every day. If not, check your pulse. You’ll develop your own process, tweak your content publishing calendar, and ultimately craft better stuff than we can talk about in theory. But if and when you get stuck, either get some help from us brainstorming your content direction, or start again with this process. It won’t let you down if you stay real with it.
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