In working with entrepreneurs on their small businesses, one of the hardest thing to get them to do is to write content for their business. The reason for that is, unless you are in the writing business, you probably don't fashion yourself as a writer. Because of this it's tough for business owners to find time to write a newsletter or a blog post let alone an entire e-book. In today's information market everyone needs to be a writer to maximize success.
With the free fall of the publishing industry, I am strictly talking about online mediums for producing content. (Which ironically if you use online methods properly will lead you to be able to more easily create hard copy content if you so desire.) Specifically there are 3 primary online content vehicles: newsletters, blogs and e-books.
A newsletter is a really simple medium to produce as an added bonus for current clients or as a way to start building a relationship with a prospective client. The key is to give great content and do it on a consistent basis. Your time frame can be monthly, bi-weekly, weekly or daily. It really doesn't matter how often you do it as long as you are consistent. A big mistake that business owners make with newsletters is putting their newsletters out sporadically. As far as length it doesn't have to be long. It can be just a couple of articles that provide good content. There are plenty of templates available to produce your newsletter too. If you use a contact management system like aWeber or iContact, they have several templates that you can choose from to put together your newsletter. Putting together and managing a newsletter is pretty simple.
Blogging is a little more time consuming. To be an effective blogger, you need to provide content on a more frequent basis. I have heard 2-3 posts/week is a good number for blogging. Once your are more established you can probably blog less frequently and even have other bloggers provide content for your site. The key is getting your blog set up and committing to providing regular content. Business owners really struggle to do this mainly because they aren't always sold on how important it is and they don't always manage their time well. You posts don't need to be very long, 300-500 words is great. Another point to make about blogging is that if you are serious about building traffic and a following, you need to set up your own hosting for your blog that contains a unique URL. If you are blogging for more than just the fun of it, services like wordpress.com and Blogger will not serve you as well. For more on why should host your own blog click here.
Last, but not least, it seems that every event that I go to, 95% of the people that I meet are either writing a book or want to write a book. E-books are a great way to get your idea to the masses without dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars to publish a hard copy. Having worked on a NY times best selling book project, I know that publishing your book through traditional channels is not only expensive but oftentimes unnecessary for building your platform. Setting aside time to write a book is always the challenge. Because of this your blog is a great tool for helping you organize the content of your book and it just takes a simple blog post each day to have your book ready to organize and put together within six month's time. Once you have your book complete, there are tons of channels available to distribute it to the masses.
These are just some of the main avenues for written content. You can also provide content through press releases, white papers, landing pages etc. Just find the vehicles that work best for you and start writing. Writing, like anything else, takes practice. The more you write the better you will get at it. Not only will you also gain greater clarity personally and in your business, you may also discover that somewhere inside the deepest recesses of your being lies a tiny writer just waiting to come out. Hey, it happened to me.
How have you seen success with writing in today's market? If you don't write, what holds you back?