You have probably heard that writing articles is a great way to promote your business. But how do you reach the goal of writing an article? Mark Twain said it best, "Write, write, then write." All humor aside, to reach the goal you will need to spend some writing. Like a lot of things it is easier to find time to write in small chunks. Spending just thirty minutes a day on one or more of the following steps will move you toward your goal.
Step 1: Getting an idea. Many people get put off of writing because they immediately think they need to come up with a new idea. It is much better to start by writing about topics that you have already read about and formed opinions on. Look at titles of articles and choose some topics you might write about.
Step 2: If you are like most people, you will start having great ideas for articles, and then promptly forget them. Write your ideas down in a pocket notebook as soon as you have the idea. You won't use every idea you write down, but some will turn out to be just the topic you wanted.
Step 3: Now that you have a topic you need to write one sentence that outlines the paragraphs you are going to write. The sentence will go something like this: You (the reader) need to know about the importance of _____________ because of ________, ________, and ________. Let's say you are writing an article about paying attention to your customers. You might write, "You need to know about the importance of paying attention to your customers because of customer retention, more sales, and more referrals." Don't worry about making this sentence sound good for now. Keep it simple.
Step 4: Write the first paragraph. Bring up the topic in the first sentence or two, and then use your outline sentence. In the example above you might use, "The importance of paying attention to customers just can't be stressed enough." Then insert the outline sentence. Then finish up with something like, "This article will explain how paying attention affects retention, sales, and referrals."
Step 5: Write two or three sentences about each of the other topics (paragraphs) in your thesis statement (e.g., retention, sales and referrals). Don't worry about writing more now.
Step 6: Finish up by writing a summation sentence and paragraph. Continuing with the "attention" example you might begin by writing, "You can see why paying attention to your customers is so important and can make life easier on you in the long run." In general you will tell the reader what benefits they are going to get, the time they are going to save, money the are going to make, etc. I recommend you keep the last paragraph brief and to the point.
Step 7: Read through the article and fill in any things you obviously left out, but don't get too carried away. You just want to clean it up a bit and get the outline of the article in your head. Now set it aside for a day or two and let your brain work it over for awhile.
Step 8: Now go back and carefully read your article. Fill in any information you think needs to be there and take out the unneeded. If needed, turn most, if not all of the passive sentences into active ones. Improve your sentences, making sure each one flows to the next. At this point you're done, or at least almost done. Read it over a few times to make sure it sounds good to you and spell check it. If it does not sound good to you put it aside where you can find it in a few days or weeks. I always have several articles at this stage. Once a week I look them over and choose one to finish.
Step 9: (Optional) Have someone you trust read the article to get their opinion and find typos.
Step 10: Publish the article. The Internet has made this simple. You can publish it in your own newsletter or send it to other newsletter publishers.
Spend thirty minutes a day on one or more of these steps you will be at step 10 before you know it. Keep it up and in a short time you will have several articles in your portfolio.
Copyright 1999. All Rights Reserved
Dr. Polk is a goal and time management coach, writer and speaker. Need more time to write? More time for fun? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.timedoctor.com.