Before you write any digital content, you need to spend a bit of time thinking and planning.
Brilliant. You are at your laptop. You have an hour, and you are going to write a blog post. Oh yes you are! You are determined to update your website, get the SEO fairies to do their magic and you are going to share what you know.
It feels good when all the stars align, and you have time and space to sit and write, doesn’t it?
But, how often do you then find yourself under pressure to produce the blog post of your life and you squander that hour by flailing around trying to find the right words?
This is where a little bit of planning goes a long way.
Before you write anything, be it a blog post, social media content or website copy, you have to answer these three questions:
WHAT? WHO? WHY?
By just concentrating on these three things, you will find yourself focusing on the words you need to say what you need to say.
So make sure you ask yourself these questions.
What are you writing?
Where will this content be read?
A blog post requires lots of words therefore it needs to be structured carefully. It requires a beginning, a middle and an end. Your paragraphs need to link together, and there needs to be a key theme that threads through the piece.
A social media caption will be shorter. You are looking for engagement. This writing is asking others to comment and contribute instantly. It needs to be brief. Short sentences. Short paragraphs. You need to ask questions. You need to engage immediately.
If its website copy you are writing, it must be easy to access. There should be bullet points, sub-headings, short paragraphs. It should be engaging but informative. Give your potential customers the information they need. Cut out the jargon. It won’t impress them.
Who are you writing for?
This is your ideal customer. You should have a perfect customer. You might have two or three, but you are only writing for one. Have that person in mind when you start writing.
If you haven’t got a person – get one.
By knowing who you are writing for, your language will adapt. It may be that humour is the key to winning this person over. Alternatively, it may be your commitment to fine detail that impresses them. We don’t all respond to writing in the same way, so you need to make sure the people you want are responding to yours.
Why are you writing?
What do you want to get from this piece of writing? Do you want it to lead to enquiries or sales? Is it to engage with and build your community? Are you sharing the good stuff, so people come back for more?
If you don’t know what the purpose of your writing is, you won’t convey a clear message.
Different writing requires different skills.
Here are some different writing purposes:
What do you hope to achieve from this piece of writing? It may be that you want people furiously nodding their heads agreeing with what you have written. It may be that you want them clicking that ‘contact me’ button. You have to be clear on what your outcome is.
It may sound complicated and convoluted, but I ensure you it’s not.
Just scribble this down.
What?: Blog post – long form – 700 words
Who?: Female business owner – coach – married with kids – age 30-40 – has had a career change
Why?: Persuade – I want them to sign up for a free webinar I am hosting
Just jot it down like this. It shouldn’t take you that long, and it will give you the foundations you need to write something that will do what you wanted it to.
If you want to chat about how to plan and structure your content, send me an email and we can organise a free 30 minute planning session over Zoom.