As an entrepreneur and a dad, my schedule is pretty hectic. When I'm not at the office or flying to speak at conferences and meet with prospective clients, I try to spend time with my family and recharge.
That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing. I do it, anyway. Writing isn't just something I do to educate others or boost my business. Believe it or not, it's also made me a better leader. You just have to be strategic in how and what you write to get the biggest return on your investment.
4 Ways to Be a More Efficient Writer
A common complaint I hear from leaders is that they don't have time to create content. But the truth is, you make time for things that are important, and content is crucial for building your business.
Here are a few tricks I've learned to make my writing process more efficient:
- Find "dead time" to write. The best time to write is when you're free from other distractions. I write when I'm stuck on a plane, after I put my daughter to bed, or when I'm getting an oil change. With a little ingenuity, you can turn the times you're expected to be the least productive into quality writing time.
- Start with the end in mind. Before you start writing, think about the overall objective for the article. Consider the things you want to cover and how the piece could fuel your sales and marketing efforts.
- Write fast. Don't worry about choosing the perfect words. Focus on getting your thoughts down, operating with the mindset that you'll clean them up later.
- Enlist help. If writing isn't your strong suit, there's no rule that says you have to do everything yourself. Work with a professional writer to make your thoughts more coherent, and get an editor to polish your work once it's on paper.
Be More Strategic About the Content You Create
If you still don't think you have time to write, I challenge you to add the caveat that you don't have time to create content just for the sake of it.Every article you write should double as brand ammo that boosts your credibility and fulfills other roles, such as:
- Communicating with your team. Whenever I want to bring attention to something internally, I write about it. Recently, I wrote an article about not being a cog, which is a major component of our company culture. When LinkedIn opened its contributing platform, I wrote an article that reaffirmed its importance so my team would be more confident discussing it with clients.
- Thinking through business strategy. From the business development side, articulating what makes your company different from others can be challenging. We specialize in a turnkey solution for thought leadership, but people sometimes lump us with PR or marketing. I've had to organize my thoughts on what we do in writing hundreds of times, and now I can nail any questions prospects throw at me.
- Answering prospective clients' questions. One of the most practical ways to use content is to write articles that answer your prospective clients' questions and concerns. Any time I hear an objection on a call, I make sure we have an article or a blog post that addresses that issue so I can send it to the prospect via email.
The next time you push content creation to the back burner because you "don't have the time," stop and think about what that really means. If explaining important items to your team, thinking through your business strategy, or communicating with your clients isn't a priority, you're neglecting basic leadership responsibilities.
You have the time. You have the ideas. You just need to put them out there for the world to read.
John Hall is the CEO of Influence & Co., a company that provides a turnkey thought leadership solution for companies.