Content and email marketing: it helps customers get to know your business before taking the leap to speak with you. Quality online content has become an expectation rather than a ‘nice to have’. Forrester says 68% of B2B buyers prefer to research online, and make the buying decision before even speaking with a sales rep. I consistently see content and email marketing increase sales inquiry volume. Now that you’re convinced it is important.. does it still sound overwhelming to write? Here’s my advice on how to get into the rhythm of writing, and build momentum:
Productivity: How to Get the Content Flowing When You’re Writing it Yourself
- Schedule time to sit down and write without distractions. Learning to write blog posts quickly is like building a muscle. It can be difficult to get started. Once you start, you’ll see yourself improving: writing faster, and having more inspired ideas. Some suggest writing every day. If you can’t commit to that, commit to sitting down to write at least once a week. And use a timer. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and plan to finish what you’re working on within that time frame. “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” —Parkinson’s law. It’s often surprising what one can get done when given a deadline. The important thing here is – once you start writing, don’t take a break.
- Surf the topics related to what you’re writing about. Sit down once, and follow relevant feeds on whichever apps you tend to scroll through. You’ll thank yourself later when your brain is full of blogging inspiration and studies to link to. Sprinkling your feed with industry updates, along with the cute pics of dogs, is like hiding vegetables in your kids’ mac & cheese. Love your future self.
- Do things in order. In general, it’s easiest to write in this order: First, separate research from writing. Do the research first. (Organize your findings somewhere.) Next, write the conclusion of your post. Writing the conclusion first give you guidance for outlining the main points. The conclusion tells you where you’re going. Outline your main points, fill in that outline, and then write the introduction.
- Edit at the end. I get tripped up when I start editing sentence structure while I’m still writing. Hemingway can be a helpful friend here. Wait until the whole post is written, and then paste it into Hemingway. Now’s the time to improve readability, and move things around to your liking.
- Find an inspiring stock photo app. There are a lot of stock photo sites out there. You can spend an hour looking for the perfect photo if you aren’t careful. Find a stock photo app that matches your vibe. My personal favorite these days is Death to Stock Photo.
Get past the mental blocks.
Being stuck in a ‘can’t-create-content’ rut can be frustrating. I’ve seen two big themes here within myself, friends, and clients. Once these two are addressed, the content tends to flow like water. The first one is something like “I don’t have anything good to say”. The second one is an aim for perfection.
- Address “I don’t have anything good to say”. Find 1 – 3 writing prompts that inspire you, and keep them somewhere. Refer to them to help you start writing. These are my two favorite prompts:
- Creative Copywriter recommends, “Imagine if you could sit down and talk to you from 3 months ago. You could teach younger you a great deal, couldn’t you? Well there are plenty of ‘you’s from 3 months ago’ out there – speak to them!
- Write down (or remember) the questions your clients ask you. For example, three people asked me if I could help with list-building one week. So I made it a blog post prompt: “How can Lead Love help with list-building?”
- Letting go of perfection. Perfection is the lowest standard we can set, because it doesn’t exist. Most of the time, striving for perfection means writing nothing. When we’re stuck on perfection, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. Here are some tips for getting past the perfection roadblock:
- Change your standard from perfection to being helpful. Evaluate what you write through this lens: “Could this be helpful for some of my clients?”. Drop the standard of perfection that might sound something like “Is this the most impactful post I’ve ever seen on this topic?”, or “Does this post fully cover this topic from every angle?”, “Is there one person out there who might not find the answers they’re looking for here?”.
- Sit down and write for 30 minutes without stopping. Turn off all notifications, and open your favorite writing tool. If you’re having trouble getting started, use one of the prompts I mentioned. Or, write down the first word that comes to mind and go from there. Start organizing the thoughts that come up, and keep writing. Don’t stop long enough for judgement about if it’s “good” or not to creep in. This technique can clear through self-doubt long enough for one to look at what’s been written, and see their own voice. Trust me: You have something to say, and someone will find it helpful.
- Putting off publishing? Take a smaller step. Email what you wrote to your biggest supporter(s). Who are the people in your network you trust the most? If you’re doubting your post, send it to at least one of these people and ask for feedback. They’ll be able to see it through a more objective lens, and help you find readiness to publish.
Get support from professional writers.
The way I see it, there are 3 models for getting blogging done: do-it-yourself, done with you, and done for you. The first option is to use these tips to build your own blog-writing proficiency. The second is to collaborate with a writer who’s willing to interview you and translate your thoughts to paper for you. The third option is to hire a ghostwriter who can understand your brand’s voice, do the research, and produce powerful blog content for you.
Done with You: Collaborate with a Writer. This is the number one strategy I use with clients. I like this option because it maintains the integrity of the voice of the business owner. At the same time, it allows the business owner to stay focused on what they do best; running their business. Here’s how it works:
- Lead Love generates a short list of topics based on the content strategy, and emails it to the business owner to consider.
- The business owner schedules a 1-hour interview to discuss the topics they like.
- The writer and the business owner meet for 1 hour. The call is recorded, and usually 2 – 3 blog topics are covered within that 60 minutes.
- The writer turns that recording into 2 -3 blog posts.
- The business owner reads, and gives approval for the posts to be published.
Done for You: Hire a Ghost Writer. This description speaks for itself. Some clients prefer rely on the agency to help develop the brand voice, and run with the strategy. Lead Love collaborates with specialized B2B content writers, like Lost Lass, who are experts at doing the research and writing meaningful content for a given industry. All you need to do is participate in an initial strategy session, and give approval for publishing.
Inability to keep up with writing new content: It is the wrench that brings a successful content marketing strategy to a halt.
Honestly, writing my own content has kept me from promoting Lead Love the way I help clients promote themselves. I’ve had the same opposition to writing. Mainly, this broken-record of an excuse: “I don’t have time to write”. I’m deciding to get over it. Content marketing truly does build trust, and deliver the momentum an organization needs to grow. Let’s make it a priority.
Want to speak with Lead Love about your content and email marketing strategy? We’d love to hear from you – schedule a quick 15-minute phone call.