“I don’t know what to write!” “When I write, it comes out wrong.” “I get jammed up and stuck for ideas.” Does this sound like you?
I started blogging back in 1998, when they called it journaling. I was terrible at it. Most of my posts were about my own opinion on things. There was no consistency of voice. I’d just finish the post when I felt done with my writing. Junk. And no one read my blog.
It took me eight years to get my first 100 readers. To my defense, no one was reading blogs back then. But also, I stunk. My mom read my blog. Becky read my blog. Jon. That was about it.
And then I got good.
How to Make Great Content Without So Much Effort and Fuss
I’ll tell you what I know. The reason YOU are probably having a tough time is that you’re really really (really!) self conscious as you write. “How will this be received? What will people say? What if they say I’m full of crap?” (They won’t say “crap.”)
When I came to master my voice in writing and creating content, I focused on just a few really important factors:
- Have a Goal – “I’m writing this because…” Answer that. If your answer is “because I haven’t created anything in a while,” that’s a crap answer. Write this because you want to help people like you. Shoot that video because you want to show how much you love something (see below). You need a reason why to write/communicate. And ultimately, if you’re writing for business, you need two goals – something for them and something for you.
- Write Like You Talk – Too many people create as if they’re turning in an essay to a teacher. If you “write like a grown up,” it’s going to read as boring. There are a few places where that’s important, I guess. But a lot of business has changed. Your “over coffee” or “over beer” voice is what will convey your information the best.
- Have a Point of View – Telling me all the features of the Rainmaker platform might be helpful, but telling me “THIS is why you should buy Rainmaker” is much better. If you alienate some people, that’s actually a good thing. You want those people who align with you, not everyone.
- Make Your Writing/Communications Serve Others – The best way to get better at writing and making content is to create every piece in the service of others. Think of one important person in your life, real or imagined, and create everything in the aid of that person.
- Finish Strong – When you write a piece or shoot a video, have a landing in mind. End the piece with some kind of next action. In content marketing, that’s often a next step in the sales process. It might be a qualifier of some kind. But end the piece such that it encourages a next action from the reader/consumer.
“Easy for you to say, Chris Brogan. But you’ve been at this for years.”
How to Get Better at Communicating/Writing/Video
Here’s what I can tell you. Writing is a daily experience. Communicating is a daily experience. If you put it off like letting laundry pile up, it’ll always be difficult. When you take up running, you go phone pole to phone pole. Then, you get a bit further. Then you do a minute running, two walking. Until you can run for miles unbroken. That’s writing.
Want some advice?
Write and Publish Daily – Even if it’s to somewhere small, publish daily. The more you create, the more you’ll improve. The best way to get good at something is to do it daily. Everything you excel at in life revolves around something you do all the time. Right?
Write Simpler – Leave big words at home. Look back at this piece. I don’t use big words often. I can see a few that I should make simpler. But every time you throw your vocabulary around, you’re isolating people or at worse, you’re making them invest their brain energy into translating your words.
Look Out, Not In – Writing gets messy when we look at our belly buttons. If you’re worried about how people will perceive you, nothing good will come out. Focus on service. Help others. Give THEM the information you want them to have. Ask, “How will this help?” And then write it.
Be You, Damn It! – Watch this video of me talking about the Amazon Echo Dot. See how it’s not fancy or fussy? THIS is how you connect to people. Not by worrying about how you’re perceived:
Find Your Writing Voice
I wrote this short book for my fiance because she was launching a website project and needed some help with expressing herself better. She’s a great verbal communicator but gets wrapped up when it hits the page. Find Your Writing Voice is all about the action, and it comes with a private little online group, too, where you can share your work with people just as nervous about it all as you.
Writing and creating content is part of EVERYONE’s business now. You can’t keep avoiding it, and what you’ve done so far hasn’t really helped, has it? I can help.