You have a brilliant idea for a new offer — a course, ebook, or consulting program. You know your audience will respond.
You just need to write a sales letter….and some blog posts to get your audience primed for what’s coming…and the content for the product itself…and a series of launch emails to your list.
You’ve also got to plan for post-launch and that’s a whole other set of writing requirements.
Each year the content creation demands become more intense.
When I started online you could get away with wooden prose and titles like “7 ways to get more readers on LinkedIn.” You can still offer 7 ways but they’ve got to be “amazing” or “little-known” or “used by the 10 most successful business owners.”
Today you’re competing with hundreds of gifted writers who share out-of-the-box ideas and give you an “aha” moment in every other paragraph. You’ve got to find graphics (or hire someone to create them for you).
But you just don’t have enough hours in the day.
At this point, some people give up their lives, chain themselves to their laptops, and become write-a-holics. Or they say, “No thank you” and find a way to pay the mortgage without writing at all.
Never fear: those aren’t your only two choices.
I’ve been through this challenge myself and helped dozens of clients get past Writing Overwhelm, so they can go back to enjoying their lives again.
Here’s a quick tour of three methods I’ve found to get the writing done and still have a life.
(1) Match your message to your story archetype.
Jane decides to write about time management. She shares a story about how she almost flunked out of college because she couldn’t organize her study time. She’ll write about how she tweaked her study schedule and ended up graduating with honors. Her writing goes smoothly.
Jane is what I call a Role Model archetype. Her message is, “If I can do it, you can too.” She markets her business by sharing stories of her personal struggles and accomplishments. She doesn’t waste time wondering how to write her story: she understands her message.
Edward tries to come up with a story like Jane’s. But it’s torture. He tries one story, then another.
Edward needs to realize he’s a different archetype. He’s an educator. He might tell a generic story of struggle (“For years I came to the end of the day and realized I got nothing done”).
But his message is, “I’ve got the knowledge to help you solve your biggest problem – and I know how to make it really simple.” His article will practically write itself when he presents “3 research-based ways to manage your time…and they actually work.”
Once you’ve identified your message, you now have a framework for writing blog posts (or anything else). Notice it’s a framework – not a set of handcuffs. You can go off course every so often, especially when you reference other guest experts.
Exercise: When you read articles, emails, and blog posts from the most prolific writers, notice how they tend to reinforce their message. It’s how they save time — and come across more consistently, too.
(2) Write only content that you can use at least three times
You send a message to your list. You revise the message to become a blog post. Then you take the same content and incorporate it into your new ebook. Or you turn it into a lead magnet.
As you commit to the 3X promise, you’ll start seeing even more ways to recycle content. For instance, one day I realized I could take a short comment on a blog post and turn it into an article.
Exercise: Next time you get ready to write, ask yourself, “What are the 3 ways I will use this content?” Make your commitment in writing.
(3) Start with your reader’s story.
The standard structure for articles these days is,
Story with a problem.
Tips for readers who are facing the same problem.
One way to do this is to tell your imaginary reader’s backstory. “Tom has given up sleeping. He feels he’s going in circles – reading the same email over and over again, revising the sales letter for the ninetieth time. He missed dinner with the family five times last week…”
You can write the opening in the second person, with questions rather than statements: “Have you given up sleeping because you’ve got so much work to do? Do you find yourself making payments late because you’ve lost the bills?”
Now you’ve established the problem. You know who you’re trying to reach with your article.
You can …
… share your own story of struggle and show how you turned things around.
… tell the story of a client who struggled with the problem.
… relate to your client by writing in the second person (“Are you struggling with…”)
Once you’ve shared the backstory, your article gets written faster.
You know exactly what you’re writing about and why.
If you can’t clearly identify the problem, you’re probably not ready to write the article. You need a new topic.
When it’s not coming together quickly, go away or get help.
When you’ve spent days struggling with a sales letter, or your website project gets held up because you haven’t written your About Page … it’s time to take a break. Many times I’ve been reading to give up on the project…but then I had to walk the dog or take a class at the gym. By the time I got home, the problem was solved.
You’ve probably heard of ROI — return on investment. Successful business owners also calculate ROT. That unfortunate acronym stands for “return on time.” What are you paying yourself as you keep revising that sales letter or landing page?
As I grew my copywriting career, I was surprised to find experienced, competent marketers hiring me to write their copy. They were perfectly capable of writing their own copy. But they realized they had a better use for their time. After all, I do this all day long. I can do it faster. And because I’m not too close to the project, I can bring an angle they can’t.
Getting help can make the difference between meeting or missing a deadline. It’s not unusual to solve a problem in just 90 minutes, not 90 days.
You may not need a full-blown writing project.
My Story Consultation will help you figure out why your copy isn’t working. You’ll get solid ideas that will get the project finished and generating revenue faster … and you just might find a new way to view your marketing. Click here to get started.
Resources to Become More Productive
I’ve been writing about content productivity and looking for systems for a long time. Then I came across this guide from Dennis Becker, just released at a very good price. When it comes to content creation, I’m not easily impressed. But I really like the system Dennis presents.
I’ve attended a lot of presentations where gurus (or guru wannabes) made a big deal about creating one type of content … articles, blog posts, podcasts, or videos. Dennis shares methods of not just creating content easily, but also repurposing each type of content to another format, so that you end up with greater copywriting productivity — getting yourself out there in front of the major players in your target audience.
Dennis shows you how to create 10 pieces of content in 5 different formats in one month. It’s very do-able (I’ve used it myself). You can repurpose each of these 50 pieces of content (such as turning a blog post into a Powerpoint video and then strip out the audio portion to make a podcast episode, and then maybe also post the article to Facebook and to an article directory).
The content creation of 50 content pieces in a month might take you around an hour a day, 5 days a week, and then maybe a little more time spent repurposing each. Of course, any or all of this process could be easily outsourced if you wanted.
Dennis calls this the 5×10 system and you can get your copy here.
And if you’d like to work with me on identifying your story brand, developing your content strategy, and strengthening your message, let’s set up a consultation here.