When you are writing to promote your services it can be as big a mountain to climb as writing a novel if you don’t know where to start. Many people can’t get started, some start to write and then delete their efforts – several times (the equivalent of a waste basket full of scrunched up sheets of paper), some write, but are never happy with it.
I can remember my first column for a newspaper – I wrote it, then edited it, rewrote it, tweaked it and so it went on, right up until the deadline when I had to get it to the editor. As time went on I learned to trust my judgment and I discovered that there is never a single right way to say anything. As long as the reader understands what you’re trying to say without working too hard.
This doesn’t mean that I didn’t check for spelling, typos, grammatical errors and those sentences that start to say one thing and change gear part way through losing the sense (yes, we all do it), but constant rewriting can be soul-destroying. What I did learn was to create a framework before I got started and this helps in all kinds of writing whether you write:
- For a newspaper or magazine
- Academic papers, dissertations and theses
- Commercial content for websites and newsletters
- Articles, blogs and press releases
The technique I use is to mindmap the main points and attach anything I want to include in each section – anecdotes, research findings, quotes, statistics, benefits, tips etc. The next step is to use that framework to write around – it makes life much easier as you know where you’re going next.
The parts that need the most work are the opening and closing. The opening needs to get people interested and start reading so there needs to be a hook and something that tickles the reader’s curiosity. The final paragraph or section needs to make the point of the whole item, whether that’s a summary, a conclusion, a call to action or a final opinion.
Next time you are faced with writing something try using these techniques and banish writer’s block for good.