One of the most precious resources in business, is time. Despite most of us starting our businesses so we could have more freedom, set our own hours and allocate our time as we saw fit, time is often the thing that eludes us the most.
I met with a new client this morning to get his website copy done after months and months of trying. As I left his office, I told him I'd have his first draft to him by the start of next week.
He said "That's fine. It's taken me eight months to get to this point...there's no hurry."
For eight long months he'd been trying to find the time, the motivation and the energy to write his website copy. Aside from it not being his strength, he just didn't know where to start. Plus, he was often working long days in the heat of engine rooms and contained spaces so the last thing he wanted to do after a day of that was open his laptop and write.
We got through more in two hours this morning than he had in two-thirds of year. The relief on his face was evident.
But not everyone is in the position to hire me - I totally get it - so here are some useful tips to help you make the most of the time you do have.
Even the biggest projects in the world are broken down into small, measurable chunks. The trick with writing is not to overwhelm yourself by making the chunks too big.
So, instead of setting yourself the task of writing the 'about us' page, set yourself the task of writing a paragraph about the history of your business. Then write a paragraph about your qualifications. And so on. If you only get one paragraph done a day, that's progress!
You don't get to the summit of Mt Everest in one go.
The skeleton draft is your best friend. It's the bones that your final copy will hang off.
So if you're writing that 'about us' page, your skeleton draft might look like this:
- started 2000
- 1 employee, now 25
- grown to six branches
Vision and values
- quality, service, honesty
- how these came to be
- business point of difference
- All staff have construction white card, EWP and HRL
- I have Masters
- company has professional development leave
- benefits to customer
- Quality Management
Each heading is the topic of the paragraph and the dot points underneath indicate what you are going to talk about within that paragraph.
The skeleton draft helps direct you when writing and helps you make sure you've covered everything you want and need to cover.
The trick with "stream of consciousness" writing is to just type whatever comes into your head. Don't fix typos, don't think about formatting, just type.
Even if you're a slow typist, you'll get a heap done if you stop judging what comes out of your fingers. You'll find that you won't even feel the time pass.
Then, next time you have 5 minutes, set your timer and go through and edit.
If you're not a great typist then you can take advantage of the technology on your computer and your phone to record your thoughts. Just like with your 5 minutes of typing, don't judge anything you say, just say it.
If you take a walk, put your headphones in and record yourself talking about what you want to write about.
If you go for coffee, pretend you're on a phone call and talk into your phone.
If you're in front of your computer, most systems have a way of recording your voice. Some even have voice to text - just like your phone - so you can pace around your office and type without touching a single key.
This is a great way to make sure your copy is conversational and easy for your customers to read!
If you don't want to pay for a copywriter to do the whole thing, you can hire a copywriter to help you do part of it.
A copywriter can help with your strategy, the layout and order of your content, what to write on each of your pages, or even the editing and proofing.
Sometimes just having someone to talk your ideas over with will be a great help in getting you focussed and confident.
If you're keen to write your own copy but you're not sure how to get started, give me a call and I can give you a heap of ways I can help. Whether it's an ASBAS subsidised coaching session, a tailored workshop for you and your staff or just some proofing and editing, there's an option that will suit you.
As always, if you've got any questions, just comment below!