The 4 things you need to do to be a productive business writer

Spending hours stuck to your desk, trying to write that blog post or website update when you’d much rather be out there running your business?

Writing can feel like being back at school, trapped in a sticky classroom on a summer afternoon, desperate to be running around the park with an ice cream rather than wrestling with an essay.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Use the four strategies below and you’ll be able to write faster, get finished quicker and crack on sooner with the business work you really love.

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1) Know who you’re writing for and why

When you start a piece of writing, what do you think about first? The answer should be ‘my reader’.

When I sat down to write this blog post, I answered two questions before I started

1. Who am I writing this for?

Answer: business owners who find writing tough and want to become more efficient writers. People who want to spend less time writing and more time doing what they love.

2.Why am I writing it?

Answer: because I want to share my expertise and demonstrate how we work at Purple Content.

Every time you write something for your business, answer these two questions first. If you can’t, ask yourself whether the writing you plan to do is going to help you achieve your business goals. If you don’t think it will, why are you wasting time writing it?

 2) Plan your content and your time

Once you know who you’re writing for and why, you have the foundations of a writing plan. It’s tempting to dive in and write as soon as you’ve answered those two questions. But if you do that, you’re likely to run up against writer’s block pretty quickly, because while you know why you’re writing, you still don’t know what.

 Write a step-by-step plan for your content, detailing what will go where. Include every sub-section, and make sure everything you plan to write will benefit or connect with the people you’re writing for.

If you make a detailed plan, when you start writing, you’ll already have done more than half the job.

You should also plan your time. Schedule in time for writing. Give yourself 30 minutes, or an hour, or whatever is realistic for you, and commit to writing for the whole of that time. It’s easy to get a lot of writing done in an hour. It’s also easy to do a lot of staring at a screen. Decide to write and just get on with it.

And don’t forget to plan in time for breaks. Productive people understand the importance of active rest.

3) Break up your big goals

It’s fun to set big goals for your writing, and it is (of course) good to be ambitious. Want thousands of blog readers? Hundreds of new customers? Fantastic.

The problem with these kinds of goals is that they’re not only big, they’re vague. They feel exciting but they can be difficult to achieve and a little overwhelming. Make them work by breaking them up into manageable, achievable chunks.

If your goal is to gain a thousand blog readers, break that down by deciding:

  1. How fast you want to achieve it.

  2. How many readers you need to gain each week to achieve it.

  3. How many posts you need to write each week to gain those readers.

Then, schedule in the time you need to write those posts. If you can’t find the time, adjust your goal until you can. If a goal is unachievable, it’s better to recognise that and change it rather than fighting on for something that can’t be done.

4) Love what you do

If you don’t love what you do, why should anyone else? Writing for your business is an exercise in sharing your enthusiasm and getting others to see the value in your work.

If you’ve followed all these tips and you’re still struggling to write, think about whether you’re really doing what you love.

Want more help with writing? Let us know more about your business and we’ll talk about how we can work together.

Alice is a copywriter, editor, writing coach and founder of Purple Content. She’s been writing copy for businesses since 2009, after escaping a life of project management. She lives by the sea in Brighton and loves salty air, candlelit pubs and dystopian fiction.