Get Focused Before You Start to Write


If you want to be doing more content marketing but aren't, do you know what's stopping you? A few months ago I wrote this article - Where Do You Get Stuck? - and ever since I have been committed to developing solutions for these stumbling blocks:
  1. coming up with ideas
  2. adapting your ideas for writing
  3. starting to write
  4. finishing writing
  5. editing and proofing
  6. finding or creating graphics
  7. keywords and publishing
Adapting ideas for writing (#2) is a common challenge for small business owners who may not have much writing experience. Here is a way to conquer that stumbling block.

5 Steps to Plan Your Article Before You Start to Write

#1. What is your purpose or goal?
  • To give or explain information
  • To persuade with your opinions
  • To share ideas, thoughts or concepts
Knowing your goal will inform the style you use for writing. Giving information requires a good detailed outline, simple words, and facts. Persuading requires good research and planning, examples, and writing techniques such as comparisons. Sharing ideas requires many of these things but also a more creative writing style where you paint a picture for your reader.

#2. Who is your article for?

This is likely a subset of your target market. Don't write for everyone. Instead, write for the people who will find the most value in your content. Your message needs to resonate with them to be successful.

#3. What is the topic?

Write a one-line description. This might be the eventual title for your article but don't get hung up on the words. Get it down in such a way that it's simple and clear. Worry about finessing words later.

#4. Do you need to research?

What do you need to know and how can you find out? List questions and possible sources. If you don't research when preparing your article, consider researching after it's written. For example, I tend to avoid researching up front to avoid the risk of plagiarism. But often, once my article is drafted, I'll search to see what others are writing about on the topic and if I've missed an important point.

#5. What main points do you want to make?

List only 1-3 items. If you have more items, you might consider a series or a checklist article.

Once you have done this planning, you'll feel more confident and organized when you sit down to write. And this only takes a few minutes. Click here to download a worksheet you can use as part of your blogging process. You'll find it's a few minutes well spent!

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