How to Write More Business Content
I am a total hypocrite! There, I said it. And not because I keep telling my daughter to keep her room clean and put away her shoes, all the while staring at a washing basket of my own clothes that have a higher chance of being worn and washed again than ever being folded and put in a wardrobe (...of this, I am guilty too but have diplomatic immunity just because I am the mum).
What I'm confessing today is that I spent most of last year coaching my small business clients to find the time to update their blog "at least once a month, but preferably once a week", but only managed to write two whole entries myself on mine! [insert embarrassed emoji face here, and maybe also the 'monkey speak-no-evil' one just for good measure]
Of course, in my defense, it is so much easier to write blogs when you're getting paid to do them so writing for my clients comes naturally and easily. What's harder is finding the time, as a small business owner, amongst all the other things you have to do - customer service, invoicing, social media, etc etc etc etc etc (you know what I mean). When everything else comes knocking, business website content is the first to fall to the end of the to-do list (or even completely off the list altogether)! But it IS important - for your website SEO, as a tool to get your Facebook cranking, for business branding and reputation, and MOST IMPORTANTLY to attract new customers.
So, here are my tips for making content writing more achievable this year (and with them, I make a vow to update my own blog and my content on the Content Makers Directory more regularly as well):
Keep a content or topic ideas list
Where do your best ideas come to you? For some people, it's the shower, while others get them driving or at 2 am in the morning. As soon as something comes to you, even if it's just a heading or topic or unformed thought, WRITE IT DOWN. Do this on your phone, a notepad or an app that syncs with your computer. The idea might not make sense right now, but it could form a great idea later with more consideration. One thing I will guarantee is that if you don't jot it down, you'll be straining to think of it next time you're blogging.
Schedule time in your diary to write
It seems obvious, but not many people do it. And in the same way that I suggest to clients that they use programs like Later or Meet Edgar so they're not doing social media on the fly and feeling overwhelmed by it, so too planning time to sit down and write content will mean it actually gets done. You schedule meetings with people, so put a recurring calendar appointment in your diary to catch up with your website.
Don't write when people will interrupt you
There's nothing worse than losing your flow while writing (as I write this sentence, my husband calls my mobile and I totally lose my keyboard mojo). Working in magazines for years as a features writer and editor, I would constantly face the battle of getting in a writing zone while sitting in an office of loud and fun conversations. If you can't find a quiet place to write, then try something most mag writers have mastered - put earphones in with some loud but easily ignorable music that helps drown out other distractions. My favourite is classical or any upbeat instrumental (no words, but highly energising)!
Ask yourself, 'what questions are my customers always asking me?'
If you don't feel inspired or have a big long list of thought explosions for 2 am in the morning, then this is also a great way to get content ideas. Remember, you're writing content that will be of interest to your customers so it makes sense to think about what it is your customers have been asking for.
Find some good tools that help make writing quicker
I never said you need to waste hours on the task. Anything you can find to help move it along is a bonus in my book. One big mental block for lots of people writing is that grammar or punctuation doesn't come naturally. Grammarly is a great tool if this is an issue for you. It corrects spelling and grammatical errors as you write. If you're using Google Chrome as your internet browser and writing straight to blogs within that browser then you can download a free version of Grammarly. Upgrading to their Premium version will get you more advanced checks on punctuation and sentence structure, a plagiarism detector, and vocabulary enhancement suggestions. This also then works as an app on your desktop or laptop which syncs directly with Office and other programs. A yearly subscription is around US$140 and well worth it!
Remember, you're writing for YOUR business which is run by YOU and YOU are an expert in the area in which that business operates. Online content is meant to help customers get a better understanding of you, your business, your services and your expertise, so don't feel like you have to be anyone but yourself. Genuine content is always the best!
Hope you're feeling as pumped as I am to get the year's website content up and running. Here's one more idea... Let's catch back up in 12 months and see where we're both at? You can hold me accountable and I will you. Happy writing!