Unless you’re a creative savant, your next post, newsletter or other content will not descend from heaven. As I recently told members of the Professional Organizers of Canada, most people need to follow a step-by-step process, just like they’d advise me on clearing clutter or sorting tax receipts.
Here are the four main steps: 1. Think 2. Write like you talk 3. Make it better 4. Recycle.
Let me break these down, with questions you need to pursue.
Who do you most want to connect with? What gets them going in the morning? What keeps them awake at night?
Who are you writing as? How can you express your personality? How you can reflect your brand?
What’s your main message? in 25 words or less or a tweet
What’s the best way to structure your content? e.g. tips, a personal story or step-by-step instructions
2. Write like you talk
What do you enjoy in conversation?
What would the person you most want to connect with enjoy?
How would you strike up a conversation?
How would you keep it rolling?
Does your content sound conversational when you read it out loud?
3. Make it better
How can you help your readers remember?
How can you shorten your content?
How can you make sure numbers and other details are meaningful to the person you most want to connect with?
Have you avoided spelling and grammar gaffes, especially the common ones that spell check can’t catch?
Does your content make you look professional?
Can you get a picky person to proofread? Have you read out loud and in print?
What are some Hollywood techniques you can borrow? e.g. humor
Which media does your most important person love and how can you adapt its techniques? e.g. gamification for video game fans
How can you revise your content for other purposes?
How should you change it for the different audience you’ll meet at different media?
What are the special requirements or preferences for each media? e.g. character limits, photos
Getting organized about content creation will save time and produce better results. As star organizer Martha Stewart would say, “That’s a good thing.”