5 Simple Steps To Help You Write Almost Anything
Struggle to find the right words when writing your website content, blog posts, marketing emails or social media updates?
These 5 simple steps will help you write just about anything.
Text version below the video for people who prefer to read/skim (or who’d rather not look at my face or listen to my voice).
Step 1: Planning
Be really intentional about what you’re writing, no matter how short it’s going to be.
It’s a piece of communication and you’re writing it for a reason.
In your planning step, imagine the reader has reached the end of this piece of content that you’re trying to write, what is it that you want them to:
* And Do?
This first step will make a big difference to the effectiveness of your communication, because you’re actually beginning with goals in mind, rather than just writing for the sake of creating content.
Step 2: Brain Dump
Get the ideas inside your head out onto a piece of paper.
Don’t edit yourself.
Don’t worry about the order or the structure.
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing in full sentences or not.
Or how many spelling mistakes and typos you make.
As long as it makes sense to you when you read it back, then that’s good enough.
Just focus on getting the ideas, points, messages out of your head as quickly as possible.
Step 3: Closing Time
What is your conclusion going to be?
How are you going to end this piece of text?
Revisit what you want them to do know, feel and do.
The closing section of your piece of content is a good time to remind them of what you’ve told them (know), prod any emotions (feel) and then give a very clear call-to-action about what they need to do next.
Your call to action should be what you want them to do next, but it should be the next most logical step that they would take, not an enormous leap.
Having reached the end of that blog post, or social media post, or marketing email, it’s time to move your relationship on even just a small amount.
So if you’ve got a free Facebook group, invite them into that.
If you’ve got a newsletter, ask them to opt in to that.
It’s something that helps take this stranger, who’s just invested some time reading your content and moves them along to the next step.
This truly epic guide to choosing your call-to-action will help you with this.
Step 4: The Opener
I know, this isn’t in a logical order - but there is a good reason for ordering the steps like this.
Step four, after you’ve written the conclusion, you need to go back up to the top and write the opener.
This is your attention-getting headline plus one or two sentences to really draw them in and get them to read the content.
It depends on how much you’re writing.
If it’s like a 100-word social media update, then just a headline.
If it’s a much longer piece, then you want a headline plus an intro that kind of gives an overview as to what it is, that’s coming up for them so that they’ve got that high-level perspective on what’s coming and then it helps them read through the rest of the content. They know what’s coming up and they can anticipate it and be curious about it.
The reason that I’ve moved this down to step four is because in my experience, not just for me, but for my clients, if you start by trying to create this attention-getting headline or the title of your blog posts, your subject line for email, you basically never leave that point.
You get so hung up on it and stay stuck on it,
But if you’ve already put the effort into writing that first draft, I’m fairly certain that given five minutes, you’ll come up with a decent enough headline to publish and put it out there.
Step 5: Polish And Proof
Right now it’s probably quite an ugly piece of writing with a lot of typos, a lot of red squiggles that a word or Google docs has helpfully put all through it
As you polish and proofread you’re looking for:
* How can you communicate the same message in a tighter way? Remove waffle.
* Have you got more than one idea going on here? Cut surplus material and move it to a separate document so you can reuse it for a different piece of content.
* Have you used structure to communicate the idea clearly? Use bullet points, numbered steps and subheaders to help the reader follow what you are saying.
* How well have you met the ‘Know, Feel, Do’ goals?
* Does it flow when you read it out loud?
Proofread it to make sure it’s as near to perfect as you can get, while accepting that you’re not going to get it perfect.
The minute you send that email or you publish that post, you’re going to spot a typo because they hide until after it’s too late to do anything about it.
You can print out the text as looking at it in a different format helps errors jump out.
You could also try checking on your mobile phone instead of your computer as that will have the same effect.
And that’s it, that’s five steps.
I can’t think of anything that it wouldn’t work for.
I’ve said it will work for almost anything.
But I genuinely can’t think of anything it wouldn’t work for.
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