This article was originally published in “Totally Thriving”, a magazine by Creative Possibility, December 2015. Reprinted with permission from Shannon Bush.
It wasn’t so long ago that I spent a decent 12 hours sweating in anticipation, about to press ‘publish’ on my first blog.
So, I feel your pain.
Although I’d spent over a decade writing as an employee for various institutions, the first piece bearing my own name just about sent me into convulsions.
Here’s my no-fail advice regarding tricks to create stress free content:
There is no trick
Of course you’re going to struggle with the first, and perhaps even twentieth, time you publish. If you’ve been fortunate enough to be shot out of the content creation cannon because someone has asked you to guest blog for them, you’re probably also going to scrutinise every word of said invitation and re-write the email you send in response seventeen times. Perhaps you’ll spend hours on that old buddy, thesaurus.com, and you’ll likely ask every family member that has an email address to read it through for you too. (You’ll give this up fairly soon. After all, family members are not usually anywhere near your ideal clients!)
When clients come to me at this point; overwhelmed and overthinking, I speak in a calming voice. I say this: “The best thing about digital communication is that it can be edited”.
So, this is my absolute best advice for new bloggers and writers, business people trying to get their story told and messages out there: just begin.
Progress is better than perfection. Excellent progress takes the cake. Start small. Publish quietly, if you need to. If you’re the kind of person that revels in last moment deadlines and performs beautifully under pressure, launch into the online world like a rocket ship and make yourself accountable to a date and time. But do begin.
This tried and true (and tested and failed and resisted and celebrated) advice worked for me. You are welcome to use it too:
1. Always, always start with ‘Why?’
What’s your vision and mission? What are your values? What do you believe in? We, as your customers, want to know this about you so we can tell if your ethics align with ours.
2. Who are you speaking to? Keep them in mind at all times. You won’t ever appeal to the masses, but you should be writing for the kind of client or customer you want in your world.
3. Watch your language! Write like you would speak, so that when that client meets you for the first time they feel as if it’s a continuation of a conversation, not that you’re two different people.
4. Get structured. Just like we were taught in school, have an introduction, the goodies, and a summary. Resolve your writing with a reason for the client to contact you.
5. It’s a first date. So be honest, create a good impression, and be trustworthy. Whenever you write, ensure you re-read out loud. This way you will hear what sounds clunky, when you may have repeated yourself, and if you’re missing something. Then remove all the filler (and lazy) words – ‘very’, ‘really’, and I am personally banning you from using the word ‘just’.
Following that, hit publish. Sweat it out and do it anyway. Now, welcome to the world of digital communication. You clever thing, you!
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name
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