Imagine that you find a recipe book for making the perfect sandwich. You’ll get advised to start with 2 slices of bread…white, wheat, rye or hoagie roll. Then you’re advised, “Add a delicious filling.”
That’s a good start…it’s the formula for a sandwich. Take 2 pieces of bread or 1 large roll. Put something in between them. Voila! You’ve got a sandwich.
Not so fast.
What makes the sandwich work will be the filling. If you’re putting something on the sandwich that people won’t like, it doesn’t matter how closely you followed the formula.
So when you’re thinking of writing a blog post, article, email message or other content, you can consult a template or model. Now you have to add words and yes, stories. Otherwise you’ve got bread without filling.
For example, one marketer suggested a system for writing blog posts:
1 – Find a straightforward topic that’s of deep interest to your market.
2 – Come up with an outline. You might have an opening, 3 points, and a summary.
3 – Create a call to action at the end of the post.
That’s a great plan. There’s just one problem.
It’s the bread, not the sandwich.
Most business owners will get stuck at the first step. If you don’t know your audience, it doesn’t matter what you write in the blog post. If you choose a topic. That’s not relevant, your outline won’t make a difference.
The same principle holds when you get a list of ideas for blog posts. They usually look like this:
Something you learned about your business in the last six months
Behind the scenes at your business
Biggest mistakes you see in your industry
These are good frameworks. They’re more like the dressing on the sandwich – mayo, butter or mustard.
But here’s a better way.
Come up with a story about a problem your audience has. For instance:
“It’s the end of fall. For the last six weeks, I’ve been totally lazy….I want to stay on vacation! If this keeps up, I’ll be broke by New Year’s Day.”
That’s the problem of a business owner. Let’s call her Linda. You write a blog post to help Linda solve her problem.
Start with your archetype.
As an Educator archetype, I might talk about psychological primes. For instance when I go to a coworking space my energy shifts. Linda could set up a dedicated work area so she’d associate that space with work.
As an Innovator, you might suggest the new style of journaling you’ve invented. You might have created software to jumpstart a new writing project.
If you’re a Role Model, this one’s easy. You reflect back to a time when you shared Linda’s problem…or a way you’ve found to dig yourself out of any problems.
Celebrity? You’ve probably got something out-of-the-box and edgy (and you’re not reading this article anyway).
Passionate advocate? You focus on the “desperate” part of Linda’s problem. You can come in and save the day.
That’s it. Five blog posts from that one backstory.
If you want to add some structure you could create an outline – Problem, Why You Can’t Solve The Problem, Tips and Call To Action.
But when you get a topic that resonates with a hungry audience, you may not need a formula. Just use your archetype and you’ve got the answer.
If you’d like to learn more about getting inside your audience’s backstory, check out my course: The Client Advantage. Use the code THANKS30 to take $30 off the published price. (Subject to removal at any time.)
If you’d like to go beyond templates and become a copywriter yourself, I can recommend my program, Become A Copywriter. It’s got a ton of information about working as a copywriter – marketing yourself and sharpening your skills.