3 Steps for Consistent Writing When You’re Not a Writer - David DeWolf

4 Steps for Consistent Writing When You’re Not a Writer

700 467 David DeWolf

Do you hate writing? Find it cumbersome? Simply can’t seem to find the time?

I enjoy writing, but I don’t always have the time to do a lot. I am the CEO of a global business and have six young children. I’m not a professional writer, and I never will be. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to be.

Blogging, however, demands consistent writing. Putting that into practice if you’re not a professional writer and you already have a consumed schedule is very difficult.

Here are my four steps for creating leverage for writing within my own life. These steps have allowed me to run my business while also building a personal platform.

By following these steps, I have been able to successfully minimize the amount of time I spend preparing and polishing my content. This has allowed me to build a personal platform while running a 650-person business, participating in philanthropic endeavors, and staying actively involved in the lives of my wife and kids.

1. Find your voice.

Know what you want to talk about, who you’re going to talk to, and how you will say it. Develop your own message and style. Figure out what ‘you’ sounds like. This is the foundation for your platform and nobody can do it except you.

You cannot delegate content production, publication, or editing to others before you have developed your own voice. It’s impossible for a content manager to speak in your voice if that voice is undefined.

Bite the bullet. The up-front investment is worth it and after a few months of semi-consistent writing, you will find your voice. By finding what you want to talk about, the tone you naturally use, and your type of writing, you will create the foundation.

2. Produce raw content.

The one thing that you’ll never be able to get away from is creating your own raw content. You must learn to find creative ways to capture and create raw content.

Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually fairly easy. The trick is figuring out what raw content really is – it’s not a rough blog post or a speech to transcribe. Raw content is a dump of your thoughts: your premise, your rationale, your stories and conclusions, and it comes in many forms.

One of my favorite ways to create raw content is to record audio clips while I’m driving (or during other inopportune times). As a thought worth sharing passes my mind, I will open Evernote and record my thoughts. I’m not worried about whether I ramble, whether I trip on my own words, or if I fully complete the thought. I simply want to capture the concept and lay out enough information to represent my thought process.

This raw content becomes the foundation for a new blog post. Sometimes I will transform this content into a post myself, but most of the time my content manager will combine my raw thoughts with my voice, crafting them into a blog post for me.

The key is to capture content all the time and in creative ways. By doing so, I’m able to produce content much more efficiently. It takes me a lot more time to write than it does for me to speak off the top of my head.

3. Transfer your voice.

You have a voice and you have your content, but, unfortunately, it takes someone special to combine the two into you. It’s simply not enough to hand over your content and examples of past writing, and say “Write.” The result will not be “you.”

In order to transfer your voice, you need to run in parallel with your content manager for a period of time. A great editor will be able to come up to speed within a matter of weeks by simply reading your previous writing and learning from how you react to the results. You’ll find that they will fall into sync fairly easily.

That said, it is still important that you spend the time actually transferring your voice. To do so, slowly back off the polish you are providing to your posts. Over time, you will find that the content manager is able to do more and more, creating more and more leverage. Here is the natural progression that works for me:

  • Phase One: Ask your content manager to do a final proof, choose an image and publish your content. During this phase, you will still be doing the heavy lifting but will reduce the amount of administrative time associated with publishing content.
  • Phase Two: Ask your content manager to dive deeper into the editing process. During this phase, you will write all of your own blog posts, but you will minimize the amount of time it takes to really polish the article.
  • Phase Three: Ask your content manager to start forming your raw content into the written word. At this phase, you are offloading the majority of the process and you have truly delegated the results.

In all of these phases, take the time to pay attention to the details, the words used, and even the graphics and images chosen. Make sure the content manager is consistently using your voice. Provide course correction early and often on so that s/he can truly learn your voice. Once they’re up and running, you’ll develop more and more confidence.

To this day, I still spot-check nearly all posts that go out, but I have so much trust that I don’t panic if I miss one. I provide a small tweak on maybe one out of every 15 posts.

4. Leverage your existing content.

Regardless of how many creative ways you find to create raw content, you will inevitably find the day when you’re plumb out. A good content manager will know how to repurpose content for publication.

Remember that podcast you recorded 7 months ago? The interview with the industry magazine you held last week? The presentation that you gave to your kid’s class? A great content manager will be able to transform this content into a new blog post in no time.

That blog post that you wrote last week and it exploded on social media? Perhaps it can be turned into an infographic. Learn to collect artifacts that your content manager can use to produce content when you’re short.

Creating leverage is not just about administrative duties. You can delegate to more than just an executive assistant. If you want to build a platform that’s your primary focal point, hiring a content manager may be the right solution.

What other tips have you found for creating leverage in platform building? What creative ways have you come up with for creating raw content?