You have a brilliant idea for a new offer — a course, an ebook or a consulting program. You know your audience will respond.
You just need to write a sales letter…. and some blog posts to get your audience primed for what’s coming… and the content for the product itself…and a series of launch emails to your list.
You’ve also got to plan for post-launch and that’s a whole other set of writing requirements.
Each year you work online, the content creation demands become more intense.
When I started working online, you could get away with wooden prose and titles like “7 ways to get more readers on LinkedIn.”
Today you’re competing with hundreds of gifted writers who share out-of-the-box ideas and give you an “aha” moment in every other paragraph. You’ve got to find graphics (or hire someone to create them for you).
You soon realize: you just don’t have enough hours in the day.
At this point, some people give up their lives, chain themselves to their laptops, and become write-a-holics. Or they say, “No thank you” and find a way to pay the mortgage without writing at all.
Never fear: those aren’t your only two choices.
I’ve been through this challenge myself and helped dozens of clients get past Writing Overwhelm, so they can go back to enjoying their lives again.
Help is at hand!
Here’s a quick tour of three methods I’ve found to get the writing done and still have a life.
(1) Match your message to your brand promise.
Jane: The Role Model
Jane decides to write about time management. She shares a story about how she almost flunked out of college because she couldn’t organize her study time. She’ll write about how she tweaked her study schedule and ended up graduating with honors. Her writing goes smoothly.
Jane is what I call a Role Model archetype. Her promise is, “If I can do it, you can too.” She markets her business by sharing stories of her personal struggles and accomplishments. She doesn’t waste time wondering how to write her story: she understands her message.
Edward tries to come up with a story like Jane’s. But it’s torture. He tries one story, then another.
Edward needs to realize he’s a different archetype. He’s an educator. He might tell a generic story of struggle (“For years I came to the end of the day and realized I got nothing done”).
But his message is, “I’ve got the knowledge to help you solve your biggest problem — and I know how to make it really simple.” His article will practically write itself when he presents “3 research-based ways to manage your time…and they actually work.”
Once you’ve identified your message, you now have a framework for writing blog posts (or anything else).
Notice it’s a framework — not a set of handcuffs. You can go off course every so often, especially when you reference other guest experts.
Exercise: When you read articles, emails, and blog posts from the most prolific writers, notice how they tend to reinforce their message. It’s how they save time — and come across more consistently, too.
(2) Follow the 3X Rule: don’t write it unless you can repurpose at least 3 times.
You send a message to your list. You revise the message to become a blog post. Then you take the same content and incorporate it into your new ebook. Or you turn it into a lead magnet.
As you commit to the 3X promise, you’ll start seeing even more ways to recycle content. For instance, one day I realized I could take a short comment on a blog post and turn it into an article.
Exercise: Next time you get ready to write, ask yourself, “What are the 3 ways I will use this content?” Make your commitment in writing.
(3) Start with your reader’s backstory.
The standard structure for articles these days is:
— Story with a problem.
— Guidelines for readers who are facing the same problem.
Everything falls into place when you start with your reader’s backstory: the baggage they’ve accumulated that keeps them from solving the problem.
“Tom has given up sleeping. He feels he’s going in circles — reading the same email over and over again, revising the sales letter for the ninetieth time. He missed dinner with the family five times last week…”
Now you’ve established the problem. You know who you’re trying to reach with your article.
You can …
… share your own story of struggle and show how you turned things around.
… tell the story of a client who struggled with the problem.
… relate to your client by asking questions (“Have you given up sleeping because you’ve got so much work to do? Do you find yourself making payments late because you’ve lost the bills?”
Once you’ve shared the backstory, your article gets written faster.
You know exactly what you’re writing about and why. You’ve solved problems like this before. And you fully appreciate the possibility of a happy ending.
If you can’t clearly identify the problem, you’re probably not ready to write the article. You need a new topic.
When it’s not coming together quickly, it’s time to walk away.
Many times I’ve been ready to give up on a project…but then I had to walk the dog or take a class at the gym. By the time I got home, the problem was solved.
Applying the 3 guidelines — being true to your brand promise, using the 3X rule, and sharing the client’s backstory — will enhance your productivity and make the writing fun. As a bonus, knowing you can walk away will often give you the confidence to keep going and take a lot of the pressure off.
You can learn more about storytelling, online marketing and strategy when you visit my website: http://CathyGoodwin.com
Originally published at https://cathygoodwin.com on April 18, 2020.