Are you still putting off writing that blog or newsletter for your business? How long has it been haunting you? You keep telling yourself it's a great opportunity to get your business out there, and connect with your customers. But becoming a blogger on top of everything else?
Whether or not you feel like a strong writer, to get out of neutral it helps to have a framework to organize your idea. And if you're like most, that's where you get stuck. You're probably not short on great ideas or hard-won experience, what's missing is a central theme for the story you want to tell.
One Is The Magic Number. Make one point, pull it apart and drive it home.What's the problem you want your story to solve? There are a lot of different ways to structure a blog, and you should experiment over time, but here's one that I've found works for me.
- Open With Your Close. Give us the punch line in the first paragraph, and try for the first sentence. Don't save 'ammunition' for a big closing argument ... your reader will already be gone.
- One Is The Magic Number. Make one point, pull it apart and drive it home. Open a new document and write down the 'extra' ideas that come up along the way, those are great ideas for future posts.
- Give Away Advice That People Should Pay For. We live in a try before you buy world, and a consistent blog is a very low cost way to offer a 'free trial' to potential customers.
- Make It Personal. Use a client example or one from your own work that shows us how the idea plays out in 'real life'. This usually takes the most work and yields the greatest reward - but it's what makes the emotional connection with your reader.
- Be Stubborn. Stand for your authority on the issue and let your reader know the cost/risk they are taking if they don't take seriously what you're offering.
- Be Better Than Clever. Sometimes the title will hit you on the head in the middle of the night and the article will come from there, sometimes the title comes last, but either way, use it to knock us off balance. Find a quirky, 'off-angle' title to tell us the point you're about to make in a way that nobody else would.
- Delete One Part You Love. There's nothing worse than a blog that starts out hot and then peters out with unnecessary diversions. Be merciless and cut all non-critical paragraphs, sentences and words.
If you follow this framework you'll be surprised by two things. One, you'll discover a whole new way to to get 'out of the office' and start a new conversation with the people you've been trying to reach. And two, every time you write a new post you'll find an idea for the next one.
PS. If you ever need motivation to do one more edit, just remember Mark Twain's words... “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”