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How to Write

January 23, 2018

You’re full of excuses: “I can’t write.” “I’m not a writer.” “I’m a numbers person.” Good thing I’m full of solutions.

 

Listen, I know we’re all equipped with unique skills and talents. But, just because you’re “not a writer” doesn’t mean you’re not equipped to show up and try. For example, just because I’m not a numbers person doesn’t mean I get a free pass on taxes.

 

So, you’re sitting in front of your computer, staring at a blinking cursor, without the first clue about where to begin. Start by stepping away. Grab a notebook and think about the topics you want to cover and why you want to cover them. Are these things helpful to your audience? Do they live in your content sweet spot?

 

Great! Now, choose one of the topics and write it at the top of the page.

Below, either in column form or with generous space between each idea, write down the points you would like to make about said topic.

 

Now, go in below the points and support those ideas with research, data or other information your reader needs for understanding.

 

At the end of your points and proofs, create a call-to-action. This is what you want your reader to do with the information you shared. Are they taking an action in their workplace? Contacting your business for additional help? Making a phone call? Visiting a website? Make the instruction clear for the reader.

 

After you complete your brain dump, go back to the blinking cursor. This is where you’ll string your points and proof together. If you’re feeling intimidated by the blank page, imagine you’re writing a letter to a friend or business associate. Try to reframe writing as a conversation you’re having on paper instead of some daunting task.

 

And, remember, you’ve done the home

 

work and earned the experience necessary to write this piece. Find confidence in that knowledge and write with authority.

 

Once you finish your first draft, step away. At this point, you’re too close to the material to see your mistakes and gaps clearly. So, go have a coffee or take a walk. Celebrate the fact that you’re one step closer to the finished piece you didn’t think you could ever do.

 

When you return to the copy, read it with the eyes of your intended audience.

  • Are your points and proofs order logical?

  • Are the sentences easy to read?

  • Use spell check and grammar check.  

  • Are there any gaps that require additional explanation?

  • Does your call-to-action make sense?

  • Is the language accessible and free of lingo? (You might try reading the piece aloud to yourself to see it feels phony or full of puffery.)

 

If you feel blind to your work, enlist the help of a friend or co-worker. Have them review your draft – without too much explanation on the front-end from you. This ensures they’re coming to the material with the same level of awareness as your audience. 

 

Make a final draft and review it for mistakes. Now, you’re ready to publish your blog, email your customer or send the piece to your company newsletter.

 

Of course, if you’re struggling with the process, you can always hire a professional copywriter to help. However, you still need to complete the first section – providing the topic, points and proofs you want to communicate. This list is what we copywriters call copy points. We use your copy points as a frame to write the piece that you need to create.

 

The payoff is that, with a little planning, your topic, points and proofs are clear, engaging and compelling – making it easy for your reader to act. Remember, writing begins with a clear idea and planned points/proofs.

 

Do you have additional questions about planning? Do you want help writing for your company? Reach out and let me know. I’m happy to help people tap into their hidden talent or lend my own.  

 

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© 2018 Brandy Hammond

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