“I’m just not a writer.” Ever said that before?
The answer is “Yes” for the vast majority in the personal branding space. Sure, there are exceptions. But I’ve found even writers—copywriters and authors—are intimidated about creating their own content marketing.
Let me ask you a simple question.
Are you creating the amount of content marketing you’d like to right now?
Specifically, written content like blog articles or case studies.
If you’re honest, the answer is likely, ‘No’.
In fact, when that questions comes up for several of my friends in the personal branding space, you’ll see a lot of backpedaling.
Common utterances include:
- I don’t know what to say.
- I don’t have time. I’m too busy doing client work.
- I’ve tried in the past…and it took too much time…and I didn’t like the result.
And do you know why?
Those excuses aren’t the one thing preventing you from pumping out more blog articles.
True. They’re not helping you. But those common excuses aren’t the real problem.
I want to help you demolish a different roadblock preventing you from writing more blog articles.
This dam thing is clogging up your writing like a…dam. (Hah, gotcha!) I can almost guarantee it. Because I talk to so many friends and clients in the personal branding space.
Now before you decide to click away from this article (because you hate writing that much), I want to motivate you.
Here’s Some Serious Dollar-Sign Data to Motivate You About Content Marketing (And Your Writing)You’re on the fence. Wondering if busting through the dam is worth the effort for your personal brand.
Well, if we were playing poker, I’d lay these cards out and say, “Read ’em and weep.”
Content marketing will generate $300 billion by 2019. That’s to according to PQ Media’s Global Content Marketing Forecast 2015-19.
Yep, you read that correctly. That’s $300,000,000,000 in favor of content marketing.
A recent article in Forbes states, “Content marketing is becoming marketing.” The article goes on to point out the content marketing industry will be worth more than $400 billion by 2021.
So there’s 400 billion reasons to grow your content marketing and writing.
But what if dollar signs aren’t your primary motivation?
If You Love the Thrill of Outsmarting Your Competition as a Personal Brand, Pay Attention
Content marketing is more than a pile of money. It’s smart. Like, genius-level smart.
In his article for Inc.com, Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom says, “There’s no better long-term strategy than content marketing.”
“Content influences almost every other online strategy.”
As a personal brand, content marketing:
- Hikes up trust
- Helps your reputation
- Highlights your brand
- Heads readers down a path to becoming buyers
Let’s Pause and Recap…Let’s put the pieces together so far.
- You have a personal brand but you don’t love writing.
- You’re not creating the amount of blog articles you’d like. (Funny how 1 & 2 go together.)
- Content marketing via blog articles puts you on the smartest path to influence and revenue as a personal brand.
Busting Through The One Thing Standing Between You and More Blog ArticlesI was listening to a podcast when it hit me. I heard this quote. And it’s THE KEY to you writing more blog articles and creating more content marketing.
Here’s the setup to the quote in question…
“I thought the pilot was going to get me fired,” Micah said as he handed it over to his boss. His mind raced as the boss took it, turned around, and walked down the hallway. “I can’t believe how that turned out. It’s torture to get through,” he said to himself. That sinking feeling in his stomach grew heavier as he watched the bossman disappear around the corner.
Now, compare Micah’s reaction with the boss’s perspective of the pilot episode he just received…
The whole point of a pilot is to hear all the mistakes you will inevitably make when you’re trying to do something for the first time. —Alex Blumberg, Startup podcast.That’s the perspective of a skilled, successful, experienced content producer.
Here’s The Dirty Secret Damming Up Your Next Blog Article (And the One After That)You MUST write your first draft NOW! The ‘pilot episode’.No excuses. No delay. No spell check, grammar hints, formatting, or any other distractions.Write. Now. Right. Now.I know what you’re thinking.What?!? That‘s It? That’s what was hidden behind the curtain this whole time? Write a first draft?Yep. But before you chunk your laptop or phone at me, let me explain.You will never have a single blog article without a first draft. They don’t exist!Or to say it another way…Show me more first drafts and I will show you more finished, published, promoted blog articles. Case closed.You shouldn’t be surprised by the simplicity of this of this blockade. Dams, after all, are easy to see. They’re not hidden. In fact, they’re right out there in the dam open. But they still clog up the water and prevent it from flowing freely.The same thing is true for you as a personal brand.Yes, the key to you writing more blog articles is like so many other parts of building a successful personal brand. It’s simple. Easy? No. Achievable? Yes.Because I love helping personal brands race towards success, I can’t leave you here.So I’ve put together five obstacles standing between you and your first draft. Pull these five pieces of debris out of the way and watch the dam release.
5 Obstacles Damming Up Your First Draft
1. You Have The Wrong PerspectiveStart with a simple shift of mindset. I implore you to change your perspective about the ‘first draft’.Instead of thinking of your first draft as the primordial mess you knew it would be, look at it for the potential it represents. Don’t focus on what it’s not. Get a fire in your belly for what it will be.Remember, there has never been a final draft without a first draft…EVER.So hammer out a first draft. Then throw a dam party. You are on your way with something tangible to show for it.
2. You’re Missing Out On How Easy This IsWriting a first draft is easy! In fact, it’s the easiest part.Why?Because there’s no wrong way to write a first draft.Famous copywriter Ann Handley calls it the ‘Rough First Draft.’ Her advice is to ‘vomit up a first draft.’ While that’s not the most enticing word picture, you have to admit…vomiting isn’t hard.You can arrive at a first draft from countless different routes.You can outline it.You can write it out of order. Just paragraphs of various thoughts.You can write your conclusion before you write anything else.Just write. Writing is right. Not writing is the wrong way to get to a first draft.
3. You Don’t Need Any HelpYou don’t need all the extras your word processor thinks you need. Not for your first draft.No doubt you have a ‘weapon of choice’ for documents. Most likely, it’s Word, Google Docs, or Pages (on the Mac).But for all the help they’re trying to give you…they actually become distractions for this kind of ‘first draft’ writing.First drafts require NO OUTSIDE HELP or distractions. That’s the key to getting a first draft.Feel encouraged? You should. I’m telling you to write a first draft and NOT give a dam about those other anchors trying to slow your mojo.So where should you hammer out a first draft?Thankfully, there are a number of good options for ‘distraction-free writing’. Many of those options are free. I’ve include a list of the best options in a resource guide at the end of this article!For now, make a commitment to ween yourself off all the ‘help’ (aka distractions) your word processor wants to shove in your face.For reference, here’s a quick list of the typical distractions standing in your way of a fast first draft…
SpellcheckFormattingGrammarWord countSynonyms (suggestions for better word choices)Media & Links (inserting media and links)Ignore all those in your first draft. Your goal is speed, not spelling. For fun, challenge yourself to NEVER go back with your cursor. Only move forward.
4. You Can Fly Through Your First Draft Using Only Two LettersThis all sounds great. But what about research, or images, or links you want to use in your article. How do you create a first draft without stopping and inserting those items where they go?Simple.Use ‘TK’.Yep, you simply insert “TK insert picture”. Or “TK find a stat to back this point up”.You use ‘TK’ because it’s easy to come back later using Find/Replace. You just do a quick search for ‘tk’. That two-letter combination is rare in English words. So they make a fast, easy marker in your first draft.From now on, use ‘TK’ and keep flying through your first draft.
5. You’re Depriving Yourself Of Your Favorite WordIf you have kids, you remember their favorite word. Not long after they mutter ‘Momma’ or ‘Dadda’, they learn ‘No’. From that moment on, ‘No’ becomes their favorite word.Here’s the thing…We don’t grow out of wanting to say ‘No’.In his excellent book Never Split The Difference, former FBI negotiator Chris Voss explains the power of ‘No’.Saying ‘No’ gives us the feeling of autonomy. And who doesn’t like to be in control…says every human since the Garden.When you smash out a first draft, you now have something to look at and say ‘No’ to.You can say no to the order of ideas, the way a sentence reads, or the third heading.Again, your final draft is just on the other side of your first draft. Your first draft gives you something concrete to edit. (Here are 12 tips for how to edit your content like a champ.)But you can’t edit what doesn’t exist.
The Honest Truth About Writing More Blog Articles for Your Personal BrandLet’s be honest.Writing a first draft of your next blog article won’t instantly make you a pulitzer prize winning author. A first draft won’t jettison you atop the personal branding mountain. No one will pay you the slightest bit of attention simply because you have a first draft in hand. And your phone won’t ring with an invitation to keynote the next big marketing conference based on an unpublished first draft.But I can promise you this…
- There is no pulitzer prize winning author without a first draft.
- There is no personal brand of significant influence without a body of work (often in the form of blog articles) without first drafts strewn about.
- There are personal brands gaining more attention right now because of content created from a first draft.
- There are no keynote speakers worth listening to with stale, stagnate, blogs. Nope. They offer valuable information to their audience. Often in the form of blog articles…all of which begin with a first draft.Why not start today? Isn’t it about dam time you wrote a first draft? Your next killer blog article begins with a simple first draft. A first draft you can write TODAY!Get that first draft knocked out. THEN shoot me an email and let me know how it went.