Back in my newspaper reporter days, I remember thinking everybody could write.
I was surrounded by writers and writing every day. It wasn’t until I left and entered the communications/marketing world that I saw writing can cause serious anxiety for some people, akin to public speaking.
We write a lot of content on behalf of our clients here at Chartwell Agency, from blogs to industry articles to social media posts to advertising copy. Our job is to understand our clients’ needs and translate those into content that connects with their audience.
Sometimes, that means hopping on the phone to interview a client or run through some talking points so we can get an article or blog started, then toss it over for editing and final touches. Offering to start a blog, for example, is a good way to help clients push through writer’s block or remove some of the stress associated with producing content.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind if content feels overwhelming or keeps falling to the bottom of your to-do list.
Keep it simple
Don’t stress about length for your everyday blog, news item or press release. Simple is better. Remember 81% of people own smartphones, which means they’re reading content on the go. Do you like scrolling through long content?
Hubspot recently shared the ideal blog post length should be 2,100-2,400 words. That even makes me anxious. I try to guide clients that 500 to 1,000 words is a good goal, depending on the type of content and especially if you don’t have a lot of resources (time or people).
I also remind clients and partners to write what they know. Don’t pretend to be an expert in something you’re not and don’t shy away from personal stories or anecdotes (it’s OK to use “I” or first-person style in your writing). Think of what you do on a daily basis and the questions or concerns you regularly hear from clients, customers, or patients. Answer those questions with your content, push it out through your social channels, use those talking points in a pitch to local media, and repurpose the content when the topic is in the news.
Check your work
As your friendly neighborhood editor, I ask you to please run a spell check after you’re finished writing and read through your content one last time before sending it on for editing. If you have more time, read it out loud – you’ll be surprised how something that seemed to make sense in written form doesn’t sound as good when you hear it.
If you have even more time, come back to your blog or article the next morning. I did that recently with an article, and a little time away and a fresh outlook allowed me to tweak a few final things and improve the flow.
Make a reasonable commitment
Content is the foundation for many things – your website, social media channels, marketing collateral and advertising. You’re going to need some type of content on a regular basis but keep your commitment reasonable if you’re going to start or maintain a blog.
Shoot for one blog a month. Then increase it to two per month. Create a content calendar for the year so you’re not scrambling for ideas on what to write, but also be responsive to breaking news or trends that could be good opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership.
And if you commit to putting a blog and/or news section on your website, prioritize filling it. Check out the blog/news section on your website after you read this. When was the last content posted?
A lot of this seems like obvious advice, but these are good reminders to help push through occasional bouts of writer’s block. More thoughtful, useful content in today’s world is always needed. If you want to get started or you’re struggling with motivation, we can help clear those hurdles.