So you want to write something for your business. A blog post, an email, a webpage.
You’re excited to share your insights with your audience and clients, and then… you have to start. You stare at the blank page and forget all the great things you know about coaching, investing or design, and sit there, stumped by empty space.
I see this all the time. Recently I’ve been helping clients to write thought leadership pieces, and lock their expertise down into interesting, shareable articles. Where it gets tricky is when leaders let the blank page get in the way of starting.
I find the process of starting easy enough, but I’m a professional copywriter. For business owners and leaders, it can be hard to get those first thoughts on the page. Sure, I could write the article and ask my clients to look over it and add input. But in my experience, content is doubly engaging when the author has been involved in early drafts and their voice is present. So what can you do?
Here’s how I help clients get past the blank page, and create a first draft in 30 minutes:
// I schedule a call and ask my client to talk. Most people communicate better over coffee than they do on the page. When we talk, we’re relaxed. We remember all the things we love about banking, baking or beekeeping. Verbal pitches are often tighter and more compelling than written ones. We’re more free and easy when we speak and that helps our ideas to flow easily. Writers commonly read their work aloud to proof it for the same reason – speaking loosens the mind, alerts us to what’s working and not working. Speaking is clarifying.
// So the solution is as easy as a phone call or a coffee catchup. As a copywriter or communications manager, if you arrange a 30 minute phone call with your client to brainstorm and talk through a copywriting piece, taking notes, by the end of the meeting you’ll have what you need. It might not be a perfect article, but you’ll have high-level key messages and enough ideas and content to play with that you can bring a draft together. This is so much more effective than an email exchange.
// And if you’re a business owner and stuck on your next blog post, the same goes. Schedule a conversation with a friend, or with yourself, to brainstorm your key points. If you’re writing on your own, pretend you’re talking to someone – speak out loud, into your phone or use a dictation device. Soon enough you’ll see themes and patterns emerging, and you’ll have captured the beginnings of a draft.
Conversations and speaking are a key (and commonly forgotten) tool in copywriting and effective communications. So next time you need input from a leader on a piece of writing, or next time you’re stuck writing for yourself, try scheduling a 30 minute conversation about the piece you’re writing.
Keep it relaxed and verbal and see what comes up. I think you’ll be surprised.