Last week, I was talking to a new coworker about my online businesses when she asked, “How do you manage to get everything done?!” It’s a fair question – besides having a day job and a few online businesses, I also take several dance classes a week, volunteer and do my best to find time to spend out with my husband and our friends.
But her question caught me off guard – in part because being this busy has become second nature to me – and got me thinking. What one skill that I’ve developed has contributed the most to my business success so far?
And the interesting thing is that, for me, it isn’t the ability to pre-sell, the keyword research skills I’ve learned or some sophisticated time management system that keeps me on track.
Honestly, the skill I value the most is being able to write fast. Crazy, right?!
Being able to write coherent content quickly means that I can build more minisites, generate more content for backlinks and be more active on social networking sites, simply because I can express my thoughts in written form faster. It also cuts down my business expenses – and anyone who’s ever paid to outsource content creation can understand why!
I was hugely fortunate to develop this skill while running my former web content agency, New Arbor Enterprise. When you’ve got 100+ website articles to crank out in a week, you learn how to synthesize information quickly and slap it down on a page coherently – otherwise, you’re going to be dealing with some very unhappy clients!
But you don’t need to run a web content agency or plow through 2,000+ articles just to increase your writing speed. With a few simple adjustments and a little practice, you can dramatically improve the amount of time you spend writing content.
Here’s my process for writing web articles as quickly as possible:
1. Start with good research sources. If you’re writing content in a niche you know well, you might not need to do any research before you begin writing, but for the sake of this article, I’m assuming you’re writing on a topic you don’t know well.
Go to Google and search for information on your article topic. Then, read through the first three reputable pages you come across. Now, close your browser window and think through everything you’ve read. Jot down three main points, and then imagine yourself explaining what you’ve learned to a friend.
2. Use your three main points as the basis for your article. One of the easiest content structures in the world to write is, “Introduction, Main Point 1, Main Point 2, Main Point 3, Conclusion.” Write your article using this structure and the same tone of voice you used when you imagined sharing your new knowledge with a friend. Don’t censor yourself at this point, or worry about spelling or grammar – just focus on getting the information down on the page as quickly as possible.
3. Revise your content. Once you’ve written the entire article in your own voice, go back through and make any spelling or grammar corrections necessary. When you’re first getting started, you might also find it helpful to read your content out loud, as this will help you catch any clunky wording or sentences that don’t flow correctly.
4. Practice and track your results. Perhaps the most important piece of advice in this entire article is that if you want to get better at writing quickly, you’ve got to practice, practice, practice! Seriously, the more you write, the faster and easier the entire process becomes.
In addition, while you’re writing all of this content, it’s a good idea to track what’s working for you and what isn’t. If you’re writing content articles for a website, keep an eye on which articles get the most traffic. Or, if you’re submitting your articles to an article directory, use a directory that allows you to see how many views each of your articles receive. If one of your pages performs significantly better than others, try to understand what makes that page special and incorporate that lesson into your future writing.
Like any new skill, writing quickly takes time to learn and repeated practice to perfect. However, if your experience is anything like mine, I think you’ll find the effort you put into developing this skill to be well worth your time.
So what do you think? Do you have any other advice on how to write content quickly?
Image: Damon Duncan