A system for content development
We’ve discussed why professionals should place a premium on content and how to create a content culture ate your firm. Now let’s look at the nuts and bolts – the rules that allow that content to be created at a pace that is sustainable. As we have previously observed:
There is a simple mechanism to overcome this negative mindset, that takes it out of the “creative” milieu and back into your comfort zone. You need to establish a system to get it done, in exactly the same way that you have a technology base for your firm, or a set of pro formas, or a well-defined path that takes a client from the first phone call to an initial interview and the opening of a file. You have these things because they make it possible to get on with the creation of work and not be overwhelmed by the minutiae of its implementation. You need the same type of mechanism for content production.
Introducing a mechanism for content creation
The reason a creative mindset is important is that it overcomes the prejudice we all have because writing is beyond the comfort zone of our professional training. I know you don’t always feel comfortable in your work, far from it, but when presented with a problem on behalf of a client, most of us can utilise our professional training to find a solution. To that extent it is familiar territory and an aspect of what we imagine – and are trained to see – as part of the professional process.
Prolific social commentator Malcolm Gladwell created the “10,000 Hour Rule”. In his book Outliers he posits that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in your field. Does this apply to your own professional practice? Think about how long it took you to learn how to advise clients about the taxation benefits of a self managed superannuation? Or the minutiae of writing a complicated estate management plan? Or a business plan for a client’s startup? Or a retirement strategy for a client in their late fifties with a liquidity dilemma?
I promise, it will not take nearly that effort to learn how to write your own content for your website. Without experts or consultants.
First Do it
There is no substitute for action. You will learn more from the worst attempts to create content than all the research you undertake away from the blank pages that so intimidatingly awaits you. The more you write the better it will be, it’s that simple.
The best time to write? When you have a few moments “free”. There is a lot of rubbish written about planning your blog posts, as though your words are precious jewels that must be nurtured and polished. True, the content that appears on your website that rarely changes (the home page, About Us, FAQ etc) requires a lot of thought and should be part of a larger strategy, but for the ongoing content, just do it. You do not need to write it all at once, you will not lose the thread of the article (it’s not The Brothers Karamazov). But often you will find that the simple act of stealing a few moments is enough to create a flow, and ten minutes later you are steaming ahead.
Many of you will say, “I can’t find a voice for my writing”. Yes you can, it’s the one you use everyday with clients. Write the way you speak, it will improve your writing immeasurably. Waiting for the right words is not only a waste of time, it will produce stilted copy that is not directed at any audience (except for you, or that version of yourself that you believe should represent your profession).
In the next post we’ll look at how to speed the process.
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