Need to write a lot of great content at work, and fast? In this course, you'll get more than a dozen strategies that I've used to author two full-length books, blog five days a week, create a weekly e-newsletter, and teach 50 webinars and workshops a year, most with bonus handouts. People assume we have a huge staff of writers -- but it's just one other person and me. We consistently churn out great content that people love, and you can too! Just follow the system shared in this course.
A brief welcome letter . . .
If you want to write faster, it helps to know what slows you down!
What are your good habits and bad habits when it comes to writing? Know yourself so you can maximize the good and minimize the bad. I share my own list, to give you some ideas for yours.
Quick overview of the "Before You Write" section.
Fast writers are often sponges who collect information and save and categorize it so they can find and use it later. Listening also helps you be more responsive and relevant to the world around you.
Mind mapping is a great way to organize your thoughts before you write. In this video, I show you the mind map I created before developing this course.
In this video, I share how we use both a spreadsheet and a regular calendar format to produce our company's editorial calendar.
WHICH FORMAT? Do you prefer to see topics, assignments, channels, and dates at a glance in a spreadsheet layout, or do you prefer to organize this same information on a calendar? Both can work equally well, but your viewing preference will help decide which tool to use.
If you prefer spreadsheets, the simple solution is a shared Google Docs spreadsheet. Use a new tab for each month or quarter. If you want to upgrade to a tool with more project management features, but still in a spreadsheet framework, consider something like Smartsheet.
If you prefer a calendar view, set up several within one account (e.g. one for each communications channel). This allows you to layer the calendars on top of each other so you can see everything at once, while using the color of each calendar to identify the channel.
WHAT GOES WHERE? You can organize an editorial calendar in several ways.
By Channel. Create a separate editorial calendar for each major communications channel that requires a significant amount of content, such as your newsletter or blog. You can also create an editorial calendar to note when you'll post new content to Facebook or Twitter.
By Audience. You can also organize editorial calendars by audience. If you have multiple, distinct audiences (e.g., teachers, parents, and students) and you want to ensure that you communicate with them regularly, you might create a calendar for each audience with your channels down the side and your time frames across the top. If you have several groups of people who you're trying to reach out to and you're concerned that your communications may unconsciously favor one group or other, this method will help you find the right balance.
By Program. You can also organize editorial calendars by program if you have several different programs and you want to make sure that you are spending an appropriate amount of time communicating about each one. Just as with the audience-oriented calendar, you can list your program across the top, dates down the side, and fill in the blocks with channels and specifics about the content you’ll deliver there.
Get a quick overview of the "As You Write" section.
You'll write so much faster if you are very clear about who you are writing for. This video explains some ways to narrow that down and really understand your reader.
This worksheet will help you create a persona -- a description of the person you are writing for.
It's one of the simplest but most effective tips I have ever used to speed up the writing process: using a timer for specific writing and editing tasks!
Stuck? Go to your creative genie! This article explains where you might find him or her.
Actually drafting the content is only half the battle. Editing can take just as long or longer! In this video, I share some strategies for getting through the editing process more efficiently.
Writing too much? Not clear and concise? This list will help you tighten up your writing.
It's the last step! Get some tips on that final copyediting and proofreading stage, especially when you have to do it yourself on your own writing.
Kivi Leroux Miller is president of Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com, a certified executive coach, and author of two books on nonprofit marketing and fundraising: “The Nonprofit Marketing Guide" and "Content Marketing for Nonprofits." She is a popular trainer and adviser to nonprofit marketing and fundraising professionals, executive directors, and boards, presenting more than 50 webinars, in-person workshops, and keynotes each year. Kivi also writes a top-ranked blog on nonprofit communications.