Take control back today, before it rears its ugly head again.
It’s the plague of the entrepreneur — we have so many inspired ideas, and we take note of them all.
One day, we realize we have all this drafted content that isn’t making it out to our readership. How do we take the reins on inspired copywriting to ensure it becomes something more than just another file in our “ideas” folder?
Let me fill you in on what I do as a content strategist to be the master of my own artist’s brain, rather than letting it rule the roost:
Start with point form.
Inspiration has a funny way of going from an echo in an empty room to a flash-flood in a matter of seconds.
In those moments, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Do yourself a favour and save a few headaches by following these 4 steps:
- Open a writing document or grab a pen and paper.
- Take bullet notes of each idea. Try not to expand unless you’re convinced the specific sentence in your head is your lyrical ticket to the big leagues.
- Once the initial storm has passed, begin expanding on the points that answer your audiences’ questions or will simplify their lives, and cross out the ones that won’t.
Get to the meat of your content.
Anyone with an understanding of basic communications knows that quantity doesn’t equal quality.
Readers have short attention spans online, so whether you’re writing a tweet or a blog post, put the goods of your content at the beginning and be clear.
Be sure to also condense your writing and take out any unnecessary language so that you don’t over-feed your audience and lose their attention.
Read your content aloud.
Getting caught somewhere? Maybe it’s an awkward word, or a run-on sentence. If so, replace, edit or remove.
Reading your content aloud gives you the best insight into the natural flow of your copy. If you yourself are getting stuck, your readers definitely will. So pay close attention to those moments when you’re stumbling as you read your content aloud to yourself.
Print to proof.
Screens are deceiving. They make it too easy to skim over typos or grammatical errors.
Sometimes old-fashioned is the way to go — in the PR/communications industry, we swear by paper-proofing. Editing by paper slows down your proofing process, making it easier to evaluate whether your tone and vocabulary are consistent with your brand and message.
Don’t believe me?
Carefully proof your next blog draft or batch of Facebook posts on your computer, and then print them off. You’ll be surprised by how many changes you decide to make or second thoughts you have once that sheet of paper is in front of you.
Be honest with yourself.
Whether it’s the piece you’re currently working on, or an idea you jotted down way back when, take a minute and have a heart-to-heart with the boss (ie. yourself).
Is this what your audience really wants and needs? Will you ever actually get around to developing this idea? Your services have evolved — does this content still fit?
If you’re saying “no” to any of the above, make the executive decision to scrap the idea. It's simply not worth your time or energy.
I challenge you to take an hour this week to thin out the drafted content that just doesn’t seem to resonate anymore with you, your audience, or your brand. You’ll feel the weight lift immediately, I promise.
Reality is, we’re a society absolutely drowning in content, whether we’re the consumer or the creator.
It’s best to keep in mind that your readers are over-assaulted by messages on a daily basis. Making sure yours are both helpful and memorable should be a top priority.
What are your hacks for keeping a cool head in the moment of inspiration-overload? Pop your thought in a note below.