But the truth is that finding the time to write gets harder every day. We have businesses to run, groceries to buy, emails to send. We have Facebook and Twitter to keep up with. We have dance class and dinner with friends and, well, a life! (Or, at least I hope you do!)
Because we must do all those things and write useful, actionable copy, it’s essential to find ways to be more efficient and effective, to do more in less time.
It’s not about finding more hours in the day—or staying up until all hours working—but rather using the hours you have a bit more effectively.
Save time with these 10 tips:
A word of caution: writing quickly should never replace writing well. You should never sacrifice quality for quantity or speed. Instead, seek to improve your process so that you can write well and efficiently. These tips are a good place to start.
1. Start with a template. I’m not talking about cookie-cutter copy, but having a template to remind you of the structure you want your copy to follow can save time and brain power.
2. Keep a running list of ideas. This is especially important if you write blogs, newsletters, or other articles that are published regularly. You never want to be stuck for topics on a day when your muse isn’t speaking to you.
3. Maintain a swipe file. It’s sort of a hybrid between a template and a list of ideas—because it can be both for you. See this post about writing headlines for more on swipe files.
4. Plan ahead with an editorial calendar. If you’re creating content that’s published regularly, planning ahead can be invaluable. It can help you see how your topics relate and highlight any gaps you should fill.
5. Work ahead when you can. This may seem counter-intuitive in a list of tips for saving time, but writing under pressure can be extremely stressful and result in copy that’s less than your best. Give yourself time to set the project aside and then reread it before hitting publish or send.
6. Simplify. Too often we try to cram too many thoughts into a single blog post or list too many features (and not enough benefits) onto a web page. Think of each piece of copy as a discrete unit focused on making a single point (i.e. offering a solution to your prospects’ problem).
7. Use lists and bullet points. Bullet points are a good idea in just about every kind of marketing copy, so use them to your advantage. Your reader wants digestible bits of information, not long, winding, run-on sentences that lead to nowhere.
8. Write at your best. We all have a particular time of day when we do our best work. Whether it’s morning or evening, know when you’re at your most productive. To be more efficient, schedule your writing for that time of day (or night).
9. Eliminate distractions. Yes, that means turning off the email ding and closing your Facebook page. Turn off your phone, too if you have to. Focus on one thing at a time.
10. Get a second opinion. Sometimes taking a step back from your work and getting a second opinion can be the most valuable thing you can do. Consider hiring a professional copywriter to review your work or have someone else in your organization take a look at what you wrote.
These are just some of my ideas, but I’d love to hear your best time-saving tips as well. Please share them in the comments below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks and here’s to your sweet success!