Content Creation for Everyone
Not everyone is a Writer with a capital W. Not everyone can easily take the information in their heads and turn it into words on paper. But often people who don’t think of themselves as writers have wonderful information and knowledge that could and should be shared with others. An article or blog post can be one way to do that. We frequently work with companies and individuals who have wonderful knowledge “trapped between two ears.” Here are a few ideas on how to extract it with an eye toward the creation of newsletter articles and blog posts.
Remember your schooling.
- Often the hardest part of writing something is getting started. Go back to school. Create an abstract or thesis. Create an outline. Start filling in the outline. Make your outline more detailed. Soon, you have an article.
- Start by telling the reader what you are going to tell them. Why are you writing this article? What is the goal of the article? What will it teach the reader? What will it help them do?
- Start at the beginning. It may be basic knowledge to you but not everyone has your knowledge. Create an “Introduction to…” article.
Don’t open a Word document. Open an email, or your calendar.
- An empty Word document can be intimidating. Try writing an email to someone (a particular someone.) Persuade them, educate them, explain something. “Dear George…”
- Struggling for a topic? Review your calendar. Create a typical day and document it for a “A Day in the Life of a (Your title here).” Or, look for meetings where big decisions were made. Document those types of decisions and create a checklist for others to use. What information would they need to make that same kind of decision in their company?
Look for writing you’ve already done. Often this is a great starting point.
- Did a client ask a question via email and you answered in another email? Grab that explanation. Do you have multiple examples of questions people have asked you about your business or your industry? String them together into an article called “What everyone wants to know about being a (your title here).”
- Do your proposals include an overview section with a discussion of your industry? This could become a “state of our industry” article.
- Do your proposals address a particular company’s challenges? A generic discussion on solving these problems would probably apply to many other companies in the same industry.
Look for questions to answer.
- Quora.com, Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers are online opportunities to help others, demonstrate your knowledge AND get an idea of what other people think is interesting and helpful. These answers can be turned into short articles or blog posts for your own site.
Look for what other people write, especially if you disagree with them.
- Great writers write with passion. People who are passionate about a topic are often better writers than they are usually. Get passionate on a topic. Argue your point.
- Look at what other people have done and offer an alternative.
- Look what other people have done and praise them, showing why what they have said will work.
- If you are working on a blog, you can collect what others have written on a topic and connect all the different points of view. (Be careful to not plagiarize but offer new ideas and commentary, including links to the other points of view.)
An article doesn’t have to be an article. It can be a…
- A checklist
- A list of the best resources
- A step-by-step process of something you do every day
- A step-by-step process of something that gets done annually
- A calendar or schedule
- A sample
- An example of a new or standard policy or procedure
- An overview
- A list of do’s and don’ts
- A roundup or collection of information
- Your viewpoint or opinion
- A review of a product, a movie, a website or a book
- Did you create something for one use? It can probably be used again. Expand it or contract it. A white paper can become several articles. Several articles can be combined to be a white paper or e-book. A year’s worth of blog posts or newsletter articles could become a book.
Really “can’t” write?
- Consider dictation software like Dragon Naturally Speaking – talk to your computer and capture the words for future editing.
- Video – set up a camera and tell a story
- Record yourself and turn it into a podcast.
- Create a presentation and share it
- Take a bunch of pictures and create a slideshow demonstrating your point
- Ask for help. Tell someone else your story (preferably a professional writer, we know a few if you don’t) and work with them to create your article. You can send them an email telling them about your idea. (Sometimes you may find that just the process of telling someone else is enough to get your story started.)