Everyone asks us, “How can I write more content for my website without losing so much time in the process?” Great question and one that when you have the answer, watch out world, you’re going to be on fire.
On YourTango, some months we publish a thousand articles. Literally 1K. It’s kind of incredible when you think about it.
How do we do it?
With a plan that’s well established months in advance, yet keeps room for inspiration.
You can do the same thing. If you’re a “died in the wool” believer in content marketing, a plan is the one thing you need to make it work.
Instead of having all the time in the world, you’re more like a newspaper desk reporter who is on a deadline demanding that you write more content. With a little planning, and some creative thinking before you write your articles, you’ll find yourself more prepared and the entire process becomes a whole LOT easier.
Here are our 9 tips to help you write more content FASTER:
1. Survey your clients for topics they care about – especially the topics that led them to hire you.
The truth is there are two kinds of topics.
The first are the ones you care about because they further your interest level, promote your name/practice/brand or they speak to something you want your name and brand associated with.
The other topics are the ones your clients care about as they look for help and support.
Sometimes these topics overlap. Sometimes they don’t.
If your objective is content marketing, then to achieve your marketing goals, you need to understand what you want the world to do with your writing.
Ask yourself where you need the clients (readers of your articles) to step into your life? Do you need actual clients? Do you want brand association so your name/practice is connected to a particular topic? Do you want to sell an online service or product?
Each article can serve one goal at best. Sometimes two but it’s very hard to have two goals competing for top placement. You need to pick one main goal for each of your articles and lead with that.
With that in mind, what does the reader, assuming they take your lead in the article, care about? What does he or she need to learn, read or understand in order to take a step with you after reading the article?
Whatever that is, that is your topic.
2. From that exercise, create a list of topics to write about ahead of time.
As a writer, it’s far easier to step into a list of ideas and pick one to write on than it is to sit down to an empty page and write a masterpiece. Your client’s needs as outlined in #1 will show you the way to an entire list of ideas to write about. If your goal is to write more content, then you need this list in front of you when you begin your writing process.
Then, you can cherry pick off the list what you feel inspired to write about at the moment, knowing that you’re on target for your audience and your content marketing goals.
3. While you’re at it, create a list of headlines to go with your article ideas ahead of time.
Titles are the frame for your article. And great headlines are the first step in getting someone to choose your piece over a sea of others. You need strong headlines that interrupt the reader’s thoughts and grab their attention.
Not sure how to write catchy ones? Take our free business class on “How to write killer headlines”, we cover it all.
4. Write like you speak.
Conversational tone is key to getting your reader from the headline to the end of your article. Thankfully, this is one writing skill you don’t need to learn how to do, you already do it in every therapy or coaching session you have.
It’s not hard to do, conversational tone is literally writing the way you speak in a conversation. And it’s the one key that will allow you to write more content without having to really think it all through. You know how to do this, you do it every. single. day.
Not sure, don’t worry, the steps for how to write in a conversational tone can be found here.
5. Write first. Edit second. Not at the same time.
This advice is key to your mental health. If you allow your mean, ol’ inner critic to come out when you’re inspired, the creative muse who is writing will go nowhere. It’s really important, unless you’re a seasoned writer and editor, that you allow yourself the space to be creative without having to endure your monkey mind tell you “you’re awful”, or “no one will read this” or “you have no idea what you’re doing” or “this sucks” or whatever version of that nonsense you hear in your own head.
Give your inner critic the day off when you write. Instead, invite in loving thoughts that help you stay connected to your goal. If you fall off track, remind yourself that like yoga, this is a practice and one that takes time.
In the same way that you didn’t learn to be a therapist or coach in one day, you won’t become a polished writer overnight. It takes time.
And, it takes practice.
You need to write crappy pieces in order to recognize what’s good, and what’s crap. Your inner critic doesn’t know the difference. Very likely, he or she hasn’t seen the rewards of lots of shares or comments on an article before. Your inner critic hasn’t heard a client say, “I read your article and that’s what gave me the courage to call you.”
All your inner critic knows is what’s bad.
So in those moments when you find your mind traveling to the negative, gently redirect your thoughts to more positive ones.
To be successful, you need to separate your writing from your editing. Set aside different times for those activities and you’ll find the whole process a lot easier.
6. Schedule your time to write.
No one writes articles consistently without getting it on a schedule first. You have to plan your marketing. Finding the right client doesn’t happen overnight and your business requires time to attract the right prospects to your door.
Consider that for many of you, finding a new client is really the only reason you’re blogging at all. If you want to build up your body of work, you have to make the time to do it. Put it on your calendar and don’t let anything distract you. Just get it done.
7. Write even when you feel distracted, uncreative or bored.
Maybe that speaks for itself. Again, the mantra here is “JUST DO IT.”
8. Have patience with the process and detach from the results.
It’s a terrible feeling to watch your results like a hawk. What I can tell you from working for YourTango for almost a decade is that some of the articles I loved the best, didn’t perform “all that well”.
There have also been thousands of surprises. Articles that we thought were good and then took off like wildfire on Facebook, Pinterest or within Google itself much to our delight.
The public’s awareness and education about a topic changes often. You could even say daily. So it’s hard to anticipate when a topic that seems “ok” will morph into something amazing.
Here’s an example of this happening.
One of our members wrote an article about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. In her world, this is an evergreen topic that could be written any day of the week.
However, to her surprise- ours too, as I said these things sometimes just happen– shortly after she published it Kourtney Kardashian tweeted that she drinks apple cider vinegar daily (read more about that here). Suddenly, everyone wanted to know about apple cider vinegar and this newly published piece was picked up by MSN and added to Google’s news box for several weeks.
The net result was this:
That’s 163K pageviews from 146K people and an average of 4:51 (four minutes, fifty-one seconds) spent reading her article.
I’d call that a huge success.
You can read her original here: https://www.yourtango.com/experts/ingrid-dehart/health-benefits-apple-cider-vinegar-weight-loss-blood-sugar
And MSN’s syndication of it here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/6-reasons-apple-cider-vinegar-is-basically-a-miracle-food/ar-BBICwbS
Ingrid was traveling at the time this all happened and had the delight of being on vacation while hundreds of people registered for her newsletter (you can too right here).
This success was not predictable. And it was the right piece at the right time doing the work. Had Ingrid not written this article, she would never have enjoyed the results.
9. Finally, do it again.
Keep writing. No matter what. Content marketing works. It’s not my opinion, it’s been proven industry over. If proof helps you commit to the writing process, Hubspot is a great site that gathers data on usage, satisfaction and results from content marketing, along with trends expected from the future.
And the punchline is that they don’t see it changing at all. In fact, the benefits of writing over time are incredible and really indicate that content can often perform better over time. If you’re curious, you can find all of their data here.
When it comes to what it takes to write more content and get good results, think of it like making a wonderful meal. To be successful, you need the right mix of ingredients, time, patience and consistency. Like any great meal, if you keep opening the oven door or checking under the lid, it will take longer and may in fact, never happen.
Writing does get easier over time. By following this formula, you will see that the results present themselves.
And if they don’t, it may be that you’re writing on topics that the world is not as interested in as you hoped they would be. Go back to step one and revisit your clients and their needs. Ask yourself, what are your clients experiencing at the time they hire you?
That is the best insight you can get into great topics to write on unless you want to actually get the data around your topics and keywords.
In that arena, we can help.
Please reach out for a free consultation with our team and we can share the research we do for clients to alert them to the right keywords, the best titles and the encouragement needed to write more content. In this realm, we aim to let the research do the talking. If you’re curious what your clients are drawn to read online, please reach out, we have the answer.