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4 Tricks to Make Writing for Your Business Easier
Here’s why you should care about becoming a good writer for your business:
Every piece of content that you publish for your brand (a blog post, a social media update, an email) influences how your customers and potential customers feel about your business.
The tone of voice you strike in your content is a strong piece of your overall brand. And since you probably do a lot (or maybe all) of the day-to-day writing for your business, it’s a valuable time-investment to make sure you’re communicating with your audience and potential clients consistently.
Writing can be tough, though. It’s on the list of least-favorite business activities for many business owners. Here are 3 ways to make writing for your business more productive, effective, and even more enjoyable.
Choose topics that fire you up
This one is probably the BEST piece of business writing advice. While you can thoughtfully craft a message around anything (and there are sometimes when you may just have to write about something that feels less than thrilling), choosing topics to write about that make you excited will completely transform the writing process for you.
If you’re trying to write blog posts and marketing emails about topics that feel dull and repetitive, it makes complete sense that you hate doing it.
Instead, brainstorm a list of things you could talk about all day long. Things that make you feel fired up, opinionated, and eager to share. At first, these might not be topics that seem directly connected to your business. But with some creativity, you can put it into a context that makes it relevant (and really interesting) to your audience.
But chances are, you’ll be able to think of at least a handful of topics that are directly relevant to what you do for a living. After all, as a business owner, you probably started your company because you were passionate about the work.
So what is it about your work, your industry, your craft, that you’re really passionate about? Brainstorm these topics and then pursue them – some of your best writing will come out of it.
Dictate, then edit the transcript
You’re already good at sharing stories and information. You do it all the time. You share ideas with clients. You reminisce with friends. You recount the day with your spouse.
If writing feels like a struggle because you just can’t seem to get your “voice” or your thoughts onto the screen, stop writing.
For the moment, at least.
Instead, go back to what’s most natural: communicating through talking. Grab your phone or another recording device and dictate your blog post, or presentation, or marketing email, or whatever it is you need to write.
Then, you can simply transcribe what you’ve already said, editing it where needed to make sense on the screen.
This completely removes the paralyzing experience of staring at a blank screen, trying to figure out what words to put down first. You’ll already have a complete piece of content ready to be polished and published.
And if you’re not keen on dictating your content out loud for whatever reason, try this trick instead:
Set a timer (for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, whatever) and commit to just typing. Clarify the topic in your mind, then start.
Don’t stop to re-read what you’ve written. Don’t edit. Just stream-of-conscious write. Try to keep your fingers moving across the keyboard the whole time. If you hit a rough spot and aren’t sure what to write next, just make something up. You can edit it out later, but keeping the momentum will help you unlock your ideas and get the raw material out of your head and onto the page.
Create a Brand Thesaurus
As part of the brand strategy process we work through with our clients, we create a Brand Thesaurus for their business.
Simply, it’s a collection of words and phrases that fit their brand really well and explain key ideas that are central to their business.
I think everyone should create a brand thesaurus for their business. It’s a great way to get inspired before sitting down to write and will help you keep your content consistent and on-brand.
To create this list of words, we pull from several sources. First, we study the intended audience (aka the Ideal Client). What language do they use? What words and phrases are on their mind?
Secondly, we consider the voice and personality of the brand (which, in a lot of cases, is your voice/personality, as the business owner). What are your go-to phrases? What types of words do you use to describe what you do and the ideas you share with your audience?
Then we find the overlap. We pull words and phrases from both the Ideal Clients language and the business owner’s language, passing everything through the filter of the brand. As in: does this reinforce the message of the brand? Does this line up with the personality/tone of voice we’re trying to establish for the brand? Do these words and phrases reinforce the concepts/ideas/values/results the brand is committed to?
The words and phrases that make the cut get recorded in the brand thesaurus. Done!
Study other content
“Original” and “authentic” are buzzwords in online business (I’m sure you’ve received at least a few commissions to be these things when creating something for your business).
Being original is important. Absolutely. Regurgitating other people’s ideas might add a few SEO-optimized keywords to your site, but won’t do anything to grow your brand.
HOWEVER – original in this context doesn’t necessarily mean new.
There is content available on any conceivable topic, and it’s just a Google search away. You don’t have to come up with completely new ideas and topics, you just need to create your own take on it.
So if you’re avoiding consuming other people’s content in order to preserve the originality of your own, you might be hurting your writing more than helping it.
Gathering inspiration and studying communication in all sorts of forms (books, blogs, podcasts, TV shows, magazines, etc.) can improve your writing and make it easier.
The goal isn’t to copy anyone else. You don’t want your voice to take on the cadence and tone of someone else. You want to stay “original”. But soak up other content, both in and widely outside your industry, in order to fuel your creativity.
The more you write, the more concrete your own writing voice will become. So don’t be afraid to learn from others who are producing great content. Use it as inspiration. Use it to get out of a rut. Use it to expand your own thinking.
You have a lot of writing to do as a business owner. And even when and if you start outsourcing it, your brand voice should be well established and documented so that someone else can communicate well on your behalf.
Don’t wait until you feel like a good writer. All you need to do is consistently communicate with your audience in a way that bolsters your brand, and you already do that daily. Use these 4 tips to help you transform that communication into written content that your audience will love.