Blogger and marketing strategist John Jantsch explains why learning to write for an audience made him better at selling and doing business.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword--but what business does an entrepreneur have picking up either? More than you might think, says marketing consultant and blogger John Jantsch. On his blog, Duct Tape Marketing, Jantsch explains why mastering writing skills is a must for business owners, and how becoming a blogger has made him a better business communicator and salesman.
Writing keeps your message short and sweet.
Forcing yourself to create succinct content limited by a certain number of pages or words can help you organize your thoughts in a simple and understandable way, writes Jantsch in a blog post. By breaking complex issues into digestible chunks on the page, you can simplify problem areas--perhaps even hitting upon a simple solution, he explains. This is a skill that can apply across disciplines--and be particularly helpful to a problem-solving founder or entrepreneur.
Writing motivates your ears.
Being a better writer makes you a better listener, according to Jantsch. He writes, "When I engage in conversations or listen to radio interviews. I listen with a writer's ear and often find my head filling up with ideas for blog posts by simply listening to others discuss sometimes unrelated subjects." This ability to identify key topics and string together extraneous data and commentary to structure your own story can help you to read between the lines.
Writing teaches you to look for the gaps in conversation.
Listening to the discussion is one thing--but training yourself to think about what you can add to it is quite another. "The discipline required to create even somewhat interesting content... requires that I study what's new, what's being said, and what's not being said in order to find ways to apply it to the world of small business," writes Jantsch. If innovation occurs in the gaps that no one else has thought to occupy, paying close attention to what has been said--and what has yet to be said--seems like a valuable entrepreneurial asset.
Writing helps you refine your pitch.
There's a reason that your grade-school teachers suggested writing notecards to accompany a class presentation: Writing your speaking points down helps you to organize and pare down your thoughts.
"I write like I speak and often I write to sell an idea or even a specific tactic," writes Jantsch. "But I find that clearly stating idea pitches in writing has improved my ability to quickly articulate them in a selling or interview setting. It's like you build up this reserve bank of pre-tested discussion points."
Writing allows your ideas to evolve.
One of the toughest things to observe can be the trajectory of complex ideas over time. But when you're writing your ideas down, Jantsch explains, simply collecting those ideas and looking for connections can help you speed up the "Eureka!" process.
"The habit of producing content over time affords you the opportunity to create larger editorial ideas that can be reshaped and repurposed for other settings. I've taken a collection of blog posts on a specific topic and turned them into an ebook more than once," Jantsch writes. In other words, writing--and examining reoccurring themes in that writing--can help you to pick out those overarching connections you may be missing and help you arrive at that "Aha!" moment even faster.
FRANCESCA FENZI reports on entrepreneurship, technology and small business news from San Francisco. Her work has previously appeared in TIME, USA Today, Pop City and The Northside Chronicle. @FrancescaFenzi