Many small business owners dislike writing so much they avoid it as much as possible, or put it off until the last minute.
Many small business owners can talk the moss off a rock, but freeze when asked to write an article, a series of blog posts, or–heaven forbid!–a book to promote their business and build their brand. Their dislike of writing hurts their businesses in several ways:
- Lost opportunities lead to lost profits. Writing is the currency of brand-building and social marketing. In today’s Internet-driven world, small business owners must be able to efficiently write an on-going parade of 140-character Tweets, e-mail subject lines, blog posts, landing pages, and social media profile pages. Without consistent online visibility and social media participation, small businesses wither and die.
- Procrastination. Small business owners who dislike writing inevitably put it off until the last minute. This inevitably leads to frustration, stress, and unsatisfying results which reinforces the owner’s dislike of writing.
Where does this dislike of writing come from?
Many small business owners dislike writing because they haven’t been taught an efficient way to produce the social media content needed today. Contributing factors include:
- Irrelevant writing classes. High school and college courses often approach writing from a “literary,” or “creative,” point of view. This approach emphasizes reading, analyzing, and critiquing books written by history’s top fiction authors. Little, or no, emphasis is placed on rhetoric, or creating an efficient process for goal-directed writing to persuade.
- Negative writing experiences. This emphasis on “best examples” sets students up for later failure. Their assignments and term papers don’t come out anywhere near as good as the books written by the authors they’re studying. In addition, their assignments are returned with judgmental comments that further undermine their confidence.
- Unrealistic expectations. Classes rarely address practical writing considerations, like time management and the importance role that editing plays in writing success. As a result, small business owners start to write articles and blog post at the last minute. When their projects don’t come out right, they feel it’s because they’ve failed, not because they weren’t taught how to efficiently schedule projects and manage their time.
- Bad writing habits. Small business owners often developed poor writing habits in college. A lack of structure coupled with peer pressure encourages last-minute cramming for exams and “binge writing” the night before papers were due. Unfortunately, techniques that helped “beat the system” in college don’t rarely work later in business.
- Lack of consistency. Most small business owners don’t write enough. Because they only write when they have to, they never develop the habits, rituals, and systems, that professional authors depend on. These include short, frequent daily writing sessions, choosing the right tools to organize their ideas, reviewing their progress between writing sessions, and tracking their progress.
- Failure to plan before writing. Small business owners often start to write by staring at a blank computer screen, trying out ideas and waiting for words to appear. Writing without identifying their goals, their reader’s needs, or creating a framework to guide their writing usually results in stress, false starts, and wasted time.
- Premature editing. Although small business owners are usually familiar with the basics of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, they usually haven’t been taught when to edit. They often start editing too soon, before the first draft is completed. As a result, writing sessions turn into editing sessions, with little progress to show for it.
A writing process for small business owners
To build lasting brands, owners of small businesses must overcome their dislike of writing. They need a new approach to writing, one that focuses on the type of short-form writing, (140-character Tweets, 500 word blog posts, scripts for 4-minute videos, etc), needed for brand-building in the social media world.
Small business owners must begin to like writing, viewing writing as a way they can become content creators rather than “artists” seeking critical judgment. Writing can no longer be a stressful task put off as long as possible. Writing has to become an on-going process of sharing expertise, educating their market, and building lasting relationships that attract followers and convert them into prospects, and—later—clients. With writing the currency of social marketing today, small business owners have to like writing in order to prosper and survive.
Roger C. Parker’s Published & Profitable offers ideas and tools for writing a brand-building book. Download his free 99 Questions to Ask Before You Write and Self-publish a Brand-building Book.