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Communicating your ideas with clarity is difficult in any medium. Doing so in written form is especially difficult.
Nuance and intent are often lost.
We succumb to jargon or being vague rather than using concise language that is easy to understand.
We’re tempted to hedge using phrases like “I think” or words like “just” so we don’t sound arrogant. But that only results in writing that appears to lack confidence.
And in the age of the internet, readers often scan content rather than reading something in its entirety.
If you’re going to write then do so using a process that makes it easier to communicate with clarity and confidence. Do it well and you’ll make it easy for your reader to comprehend, retain, and take action on what they have read.
Every writer has their own process. Today I’m sharing mine with you with hopes it will make crafting content more fun and rewarding, for you and your readers.
I start every newsletter and article as an outline. It may sound remedial but I consider it to be one of the most important things I do when I sit down at the keyboard.
Writing in outline form makes writing easier, faster, and better.
By now most of us understand the importance of storytelling in our writing. By starting with an outline, you’re able to see the flow of your writing at a high level. You’ll be looking at your content in a way that allows you to ask, and answer some important questions.
These questions are difficult to answer when you’re in the weeds.
The other benefit of writing in outline form is that the first draft feels like it writes itself. At this point you’re filling in the details; the structure is already there.
As you start filling in those details you may find that some rearranging is helpful. But that is also easier to do when you start with an outline.
The last advantage I’ll mention of starting with an outline is that your SEO structure will already be in place. Your H2’s, H3’s, lists, etc… will already be there for you.
For any given type of content, article, landing page, guide, etc… a consistent process will enable you to get better faster.
I track my publishing in Trello and have a template card that lays out everything I need for each newsletter.
That template looks like this:
I’ll do a deeper dive on publishing workflow later.
And in case you’re wondering, the title of the card is the title of the newsletter/article (the H1 on the site).
Regardless of what editor you choose, pick one that works for you and stick with it. The fewer distractions the editor has the better.
From there I’ll copy/paste the writing into WordPress and again into ConvertKit. A little reformatting is required but it only takes a minute.
Pro Tip: When you copy-paste from any source into WordPress or elsewhere, take a look at the HTML. Depending on your setup there may be extra code that can mess with your formatting or cause other issues. Be sure to preview what you publish to avoid possible issues.
Editing is often more time-consuming than writing the initial draft but it’s where your writing becomes better.
For me editing looks like the following:
The last two items are important because I always catch things in those previews I don’t catch in WordPress or ConvertKit. The differences in appearance allow things to pop out that otherwise get overlooked.
Pro Tip: Get someone else to do the editing. It will improve your writing more than you think.
Finally, I try to sit on my writing overnight and review with fresh eyes. I always find more things to tighten up or fix.
The last step is to put the finishing touches on the newsletter. In the case of Rogue Mogul this includes:
By following a consistent process I’ve been able to shave a lot of time off writing each newsletter and article. It also makes promoting content easier.
It’s also made writing more enjoyable for me which translates to a better experience for you!
So feel free to borrow as much as you want from here, I hope it helps.