Writing content is such an important step to building a brand, a good search ranking, and it’s fun (usually). But how, and where, do you come up with enough ideas to be consistently producing content that people want to read?
The struggle here goes hand-in-hand with one of the biggest challenges in marketing: analysis paralysis. I’m guilty of it too. Wanting a project to be successful so badly that you spend so much time planning, researching, and testing, but never actually doing.
So how do you start with some form of a plan, but not too much of a plan? My suggestion, at least when it comes to writing, start here.
Set a goal
Why do you want to start writing? Is it a fun hobby to unwind at the end of the day? Are you trying to build a community? Or is it to sell something (including yourself)?
Who do you want reading your content? No one? Friends and family? Colleagues? Or even prospects?
The first step is figuring out the why. Cliché right? I know. But once you know what the point of it is, you can really get started. So even if it is just for fun — decide that and go for it.
Pick a category
What made you want to start writing? What do you do best? What new perspective can you add to the conversation?
Choosing a category to start writing about gives you a great starting point. Not sure how to pick a category? Take a step back. Write what you know. Write what you’re passionate about. Start with the things you care about, have a strong, or different, opinion about and the ideas will form from there.
If you start with a list of things you know, you can then narrow it down to what’s easiest to write about. For example, I love coffee, good pasta, and marketing. But you aren’t reading about coffee right now, are you?
That’s because I have the most knowledge on marketing, it’s what I love to do. And I get to share my perspective on it with a community that feels the same way. That’s why I’m here.
So, build a list of things you love, things you feel knowledgeable about, then narrow it down to what has the most potential.
Get a pulse on what’s happening
So you know why you want to start writing, and what you want to write about, now it’s time to find other people who are doing the same, or at least a similar thing. Find a few other sources writing about similar things, targeting similar audiences, and follow them.
To be clear, I know they say imitation is the highest form of flattery but I’m not about to tell you to copy. I’m telling you to take inspiration. Learn your audience, figure out which topics you might have a fresh perspective on, engage with other people in the community.
Now for the hardest part. Starting.
If you need help kicking it off, start with an outline, add some bullet points to each section, then write like you talk. Write like you’re explaining your topic to a friend. Your readers want to hear you. And not the stiff, freshman year of university English essay version of you, the you that is a human who has opinions about what you’re writing about.
Find a platform that’s easy to work with. (I really dig Medium). And get to creating.
Another day I’ll get into the details on how to build your audience, distribute your content, and boost your SEO. But for today, happy writing.