It's because writing short and snappy is better on the Web than long, convoluted, and detailed. Doctors and lawyers and other highly educated people like to be correct; sometimes that takes more than one sentence.
The problem is too much information distracts a writer from getting to point quickly and clearly. I'm preparing materials for a class I'm teaching to lawyers who want to master online marketing with blog content, articles and ebooks.
I'd say it's a challenge for some lawyers to be fast and to the point about things, for fear of being wrong or misleading people. But maybe that's stereotyping and I'm making assumptions. I usually do.
Nevertheless, I've made a list of 10 content creating strategies to help write blog posts and articles for the Web, with an emphasis on being short and snappy.
Here are 10 steps that I'm sharing with them, to help anyone write faster, clearer, better.
Patsi’s Magic Time-Saving Content Creation Strategies
- Get clear on what your expertise is.
- Figure out which keywords you want to be found for.
- Make a list of topics and subtopics. Topics would be the same as the categories on your blog, and if you have a book or thinking about creating one, think in terms of a table of contents.
- For each chapter, or category, make another list of key points or how-to tips. Each tip would constitute one blog post, which could be expanded into an article. Generally, you'll have a lot to say about each key point, which is how you'll create many blog posts on each topic or tip. Use client stories to illustrate each unique blog post or tip.
- Make a list of key resources you’ve found that have helped you develop your expertise in each sub-topic or chapter or category. Use the list to inspire new content ideas. These can be books, other blogs, websites. You’ll want to refer to them and cite them, link to them. These resources will inspire you with additional content that may be parallel yet different to your own approach. This makes you a go-to resource for your readers. If you’re using books, you can go deeper into the topic, and provide a historical perspective. You can also use a photo to illustrate a concept. There are excellent sites that provide compelling photos and illustrations like Shutterstock.com or iStockphoto.com.
- Make a list of challenges your readers face. Ask your readers questions about this problem. This focuses the reader on the topic at hand and gets your readers engaged immediately.
- What makes you mad about this topic? What makes your readers mad? (Make a list of these and use it as inspiration.) Going on a rant, when done respectfully, especially with humor, makes for a compelling read. Get tough, go out on a limb, stir things up. Don’t be boring, be controversial. (No one’s going to sue you…)
- Use bulleted lists generously in your writing. This makes it easy for you to organize your thoughts, and makes it easy for readers in a hurry to scan.
- Start your piece with a question. This will get you to the point right away, and more importantly, it will engage your reader to think.
- End your piece with a question. This leaves your reader with something to think about, something to respond to, leave a comment about, or, you can ask them to share their experiences and ideas.
Since my content creation strategy involves making a lot of lists, you will begin to see everything in terms of 1-2-3 steps or key points. This is an important step in learning to become a more concise writer. (Secret: it’s a key factor in saving time in writing.)
What would you add to this list of lists? What are your tips for saving time when it comes to writing blog posts, articles, ebooks?