Recently, I had to switch writing genres – from the short and conversational copywriting style of online blogs and webpages to the rigour and length of academic writing.
I had to write 3000 words and I tackled the task with relish, setting out my work in the usual way.
But there was one little thing I did that saved me not only a heap of rewrites, but also helped to save me days in the process.
You know what?
You’re not doing it
I know you’re not because that’s what all my copywriting students and trainees and clients tell me. After all the years I’ve been a copywriter, I can say with certainty that most of you reading this aren’t doing the one thing that can save you stress and time.
It’s something you’ve heard again and again. I have recommended on this blog many times, as have others writing for us.
When presenting this little trick to people in copywriting courses, we often get a sigh of exasperated ‘of courses’ because it’s that good (and obvious).
Here it is…
<insert drum roll here>
Save copywriting time with an…
After years of writing posts, emails and webpages using a humble outline, I was so used to its power in composing content of a length below 1000 words that I had forgotten just how powerful it really is in saving time.
Going back to the 3000-word academic essay, using an outline allowed me to gather my thoughts and get the structure of the piece sorted out before I committed a single minute to writing.
More importantly, this process saved me time when it came to writing, and it also helped during the editing and revision process because I already had the structure there!
I reckon I saved days in writing because when the outline was ready, I simply sat down and wrote each section. Some in order, some not.
But it was easy and quick because I already knew exactly what to write at every given paragraph and section.
Do you outline your writing first?
If not, why not? There is simply no writing technique more suited to your content marketing than producing outlines. Last year, I wrote about the technique in our post How to write your blog posts like a pro copywriter and elsewhere we wrote about doing this here.
The biggest advantage to online writing, is that your outline constitutes your headings and subheadings, saving you ample time in coming up with these important content attributes for readers and SEO.
By organising your content with an outline – blog posts, webpages, product pages, emails and other pieces of your content marketing – you will be saving yourself and your business precious time and energy.
Give it a try this year. Go on, what have you got to lose?