Writing plays a key role at every step in your journey to personal branding success.
Efficient and effective writing skills are central to your ability to express yourself and differentiate yourself from your competition, so you can get noticed, trusted, and assume increased responsibilities.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you improve the quality of everything you write. Whether you want to write a book, improve your resume, prepare a report, or improve the quality and frequency of your blog and social media postings, the following proven techniques can get you started.
- Know your readers. Writing success is not about grammar or the quality of your ideas! Rather, writing success is about the relevance of your ideas to your intended readers. So the starting point is to create personas describing your intended readers and what their frustrations, problems, and goals. To succeed, your message must engage your reader’s interest and resonate with them. For this to occur, you have to identify and understand your readers and speak directly to them.
- Select topics in advance. Writing under the pressure of last-minute deadlines seldom leads to personal branding success. Although the adrenalin-rush of a deadline can spur you to action, it often leads to frustration, unnecessary stress, and wasted effort. The best way to master the writing workload needed for personal branding success is to create an editorial calendar that spells out the topics you’re going to be writing about in coming months. Choosing your topics ahead of time engages your brain, so that–while you’re sleeping or driving–your mind is processing ideas for your upcoming projects. That way, when you start to write, your brain has already done a lot of the work!
- Finish ahead of time. Never press “send”, or submit a blog post, immediately after finishing it! Put it aside for at least 10 minutes, preferably, overnight. Then, review it from a fresh perspective. You’re too familiar with it. As a result, you’re likely to overlook mistakes and awkward phrasing that would be obvious to you after a little time has passed. Better, yet, print out a copy of what you’ve written, and proof the printed page. If you can, read it out loud…which is a great way to identify run-on sentences or awkward phrases.
- Broaden your horizons. Don’t just read what others in your field are writing about. Set aside some time each week to read outside of your field. You may be surprised to discover ideas that you can adapt for your brand-building writing. In addition, make it a practice to critically analyze what you’re reading. Ask yourself questions like, “What is it that makes this article or blog post interesting?” Or, “Why am I having so much trouble reading this white paper?” Study writing that works, and writing that doesn’t work, so you can improve your own writing.
- Create a process. Strive for efficiency by creating an efficient writing process. The proper approach to improving your writing for personal branding success is not to view it as an “event,” i.e., reading a book about writing or taking a day-long writing workshop. Writing success is habit-based. The best way to improve your writing is to create the writing habit. This involves scheduling writing time each day and committing to consistency.
Habits, not talent, lie at the root of successful writing.
Take a look at your writing habits
What are your writing habits? Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you begin each project by analyzing how your ideas can be made more relevant to your readers, or do you simply start writing?
- Do you handicap your writing abilities by waiting until the last minute to prepare a report, update your blog, or begin writing a speech? Do you have an editorial calendar for your blog posts and newsletters?
- Do you allow time to edit and review your project from a fresh perspective before submitting it?
- Do you look for ideas beyond the “required reading” in your field or industry? Do you analyze what you’re reading to see how others have organized and expressed their ideas?
- How effectively is your current writing process serving you and your personal brand? Is it time for a change?
As the end of the year approaches, perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at how effective your writing is in supporting your personal brand, so you can make the changes needed for better writing and personal branding in 2013. Share your writing concerns and questions below, as comments. In return, I’ll do my best to either respond to your specific concerns, or address them in future posts!
Roger C. Parker invites you to ask your questions about writing for brand building success. Submit questions as comments, below, or use my online form. Download Roger’s free workbook, Questions to Ask Before You Start to Write.