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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. The most productive people work for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break.

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.

5 steps you need to take to revive your business blog

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We get through a lot of words in a day here at Purple Content. But we’re writers and writing is our business.

For most business people, writing a blog is just one more demand on an already stretched diary. It’s not surprising that it ends up at the bottom of so many to-do lists and that so many business blogs go weeks or months without a fresh post.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Revive your business blog with these five steps.

 

1) Schedule your blogging time

Lack of time is the number one reason people give us for not being able to blog, and there’s no getting away from the fact that writing does take time. Be realistic about when you can set aside the hours you need. If you want to post a blog once a week, and you know you’ll need two hours to write and publish that blog, see where you could find that time.

I’m writing this blog at 8am, before I start client work for the day. Then I’ll leave it for few hours and come back after I’ve finished working on other projects to check it over and post.

If you can’t find the time you need, be honest with yourself about that. You’ll either need to change your blogging goals to fit your schedule, drop something else to fit in your blogging, or outsource.

 

2) Have clear goals

If you don’t know why you’re blogging, it’s going to be hard to make it a priority.

You might want to use your blog to:

Drive traffic to your website.

  • Build your email list.

  • Build your reputation as a thought leader.

  • Develop conversations with your customers.

Linking blogs to business goals is instant motivation.

 

3) Plan every post

You know that feeling when you have a blank page and no idea how you’re going to fill it?

You can banish that completely by spending time planning your posts. If I spend an hour working on a blog, I expect the first 20 minutes of that to be planning, and the last 20 to be editing and redrafting.

Make sure your post plan includes:

  • A headline.

  • An introduction.

  • Sub-headings.

  • A conclusion.

  • A call to action.

4) Be accountable

If no-one knows you’re blogging, no-one will know if you don’t do it. Get excited about your blog content, and tell your colleagues, employees and customers what you plan to write about.

 

5) Share ideas

Business bloggers often hit a wall after the first few posts as they run out of ideas. Keep talking, networking and sharing to find new ideas and enthusiasm. Take inspiration from other blogs and everyday conversations. Be proactive about looking for ideas everywhere you go, both online and in person.

It’s easy to let blogging become just another chore. But it’s a brilliant way to boost your SEO, engage with your customers and build your authority.

Need some support to develop your blog? Talk to us.

How to beat writer’s block

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We’ve all been there. Those long minutes and hours staring at a flashing cursor and a blank page, feeling unable to do anything about it.

If you’re running a small business, you probably have a long to-do list and no time to sit and stare. Writer’s block can easily put a swift (or not so swift) end to your blog writing ambitions.

As copywriters, we have to beat writer’s block. Our clients won’t be impressed with us if we tell them “sorry, we can’t meet your deadline, we couldn’t think of anything to write”. Writer’s block is about as good an excuse for missing deadlines as ‘the dog ate my laptop’ would be.

Here’s how we beat writer’s block:

 

1) We just f***ing write

First drafts are never good enough to be sent to clients, but they’re always good enough to be edited, redrafted and polished until they are. Having bad words on the page is far, far better than having no words. Bad words can be edited into good ones, no words can’t. After all, no-one ever talks about editor’s block.

 

2) We set manageable goals

Writing is just part of our job. We’re also editors, managers, marketers and administrators. So when we’re trying and failing to beat writer’s block, we’ll make a start on the writing, and then do something else for an hour. In that hour, inspiration usually hits,. We can go back to the page with clear head and eager fingers.

We’ll also sometimes use the Pomodoro Technique to get words on the page. This means choosing a short time slot (20 minutes works well) and committing to writing flat-out for that time. When the timer buzzes, it’s time for a break. It works because 20 minutes an easy amount of time to commit to. And it’s amazing how much you can write when you focus for 20 minutes.

 

3) We don’t write up against a deadline

Deadlines can be great motivators. But writing right up against them is often difficult because it’s panic-inducing. If our client is paying us for our work, we want it to be our best work, not something we knocked up in an hour because we promised we’d get it to them by 10am. Deadlines mean you’ll get something done, but it’s not likely to be great, because you’ll be writing through fear.

 

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