The following 7 writing tips for small business owners who dislike writing have little to do with grammar, vocabulary, or inherited talent.
The reason many small business owners dislike writing is that they don’t give themselves a chance…they don’t have a simple structure, process, system, for creating the ongoing stream of content needed to build their brand, educate their customers, and maintain consistent visibility in today’s social media world.
Successful authors understand that writing success is based more on writing habits and time management than on ability or talent.
The following writing tips can help any small business owner develop the habits necessary for social marketing and writing success:
- Start early. Procrastination is the number one reason small business owners experiences difficulties. Starting too late is a recipe for disaster. (On the other hand, it’s never too early to start to write a blog post, white paper, or social media profile statement.) Late starts lead to last minute deadlines that create stress and freezes creativity. Use the draft feature of your blogging software to get an early start on your posts–even you only insert a tentative title and a few sentences or bullet points. You’ll be surprised how much you get done when you come back later.
- Know your objectives. Small business owners are typically quite effective–and comfortable–selling on a 1-to-1 basis. That’s because they know what they want to accomplish–i.e., make a sale! In a similar manner, writing becomes easy when you know what you want to accomplish before you start writing. Progress comes quickly once you identify who you’re writing for, what their goals and objectives are, the action you want them to take, and the information needed to convince them.
- Schedule your writing sessions in advance. Many small business owners leave writing for the time that’s left over after they’ve finished their other tasks. This doesn’t work–there’s always something that needs to be done. Instead, schedule your writing–make an appointment to spend 30-45 minutes each Monday afternoon starting your weekly blog post, and schedule another, perhaps shorter, session Tuesday afternoons to to review what you’ve written and finish it. The more you establish a routine, the easier it will be to keep on schedule. (In my case, I start to write my posts late Saturday, and finish them Sunday afternoons.)
- Choose your topics in advance. One of the easiest ways to improve your writing is to choose your topics in advance. A single sheet of paper containing a topic or theme for each month is all you need. Writing down a year’s worth of monthly topics engages your mind and creates a feeling of progress. Occasionally review your list of upcoming topics. While you’re sleeping or driving, your subconscious brain will be making connections and organizing your ides.
- Start with a framework or structure. Never start to write with a blank screen. Instead, before you start write, create an outline, or a mind map (like the example, above, I used to prepare this post). I created the mind map in bed, using a free copy of Mindjet’s MindManager iPad Mobile App. (The mind map stage is where I did the hard work on this post, and others!) Once I chose the 7 tips I wanted to describe, and copied them into this post, I was off and running!
- Write as you speak. Small business owners persuade clients and prospects using words like I, you, and we, i.e, “Our guarantee policies protect you…” However, the same small business owners often write in an awkward third person, i.e., “The purpose of the guarantee policy is to offer…” Suggestion: when you run into trouble writing, write the first draft as a letter to a friend. This is often enough to get me started.
- Leave time to edit. Always leave time to review your completed article or blog post before you submit it. It’s essential that you review your work from a fresh perspective. Save your blog posts as Drafts, and review them the next morning. Even putting your work aside for a half hour can be enough. In addition, print your article or blog post and review the printed version. You’ll be surprised how you’ll notice problems that weren’t obvious the first time around.
Before investing in big ticket writing or copywriting courses, take a look at your current writing habits. Look for patterns of late starts, blank screens, and rushing to meet last-minute deadlines.
If you’re like most small business owners, you can make a significant writing improvement on your own, by simply replacing your current writing habits with habits based on the 7 tips described above. Share your experiences as comments, below.