It’s been an interesting week.
So far I’ve written an 1800-word report on the comparative merits of geo-engineering and low-carbon energy technologies in the fight to reverse global climate change, which had me hunting through scientific papers ‘til all hours of the night for quotable chunks; I’ve written 8 pages of content for a funeral director’s website, which was pretty harrowing; and I’ve done 15 pages of metadata for the website of a landscape designer for which someone else wrote the words (and left out most of the apostrophes – bah!).
You can’t say the life of a writer-for-hire is dull. If you know any budding freelance or agency copywriters, you can reassure them that, whatever other struggles they may encounter, they won’t be doing the same-old same-old for the next twenty years.
Sometimes though, if you’re writing for your own business, it can feel like Groundhog Day. Here we go again … How can I make Subject X fresh when I’ve already written about it 25 million times?
Here are some tips:
1. Get someone else to write it for you. It saves you having to think of anything to say, it gives your readers a new outlook on the subject, and it gives the writer a chance to speak up. You could ask a new member of staff, a client, your family – or a professional copywriter (just sayin’…).
2. Write about something completely off the wall for a change. Books you’ve been reading, places or events you’ve been to, politics, funny things your kids have said or done, your latest challenge for charity, whatever. (On second thoughts, maybe keep politics out of it.) This shows you’re a real person, with a mind of your own and maybe some amazing hobbies. Often posts like this are the ones that get most reaction.
3. Challenge your own product or service. Ask what could be improved, or dispensed with, without altering the business radically? Or maybe changing it radically would actually be a rather good idea -?
4. Turn to your thesaurus: for every hackneyed word that you’ve used a million times already, try to find a new one. Warning – the result may be appalling and only fit for the bin! But it could jolt you into a new line of thought.
5. Don’t write anything, just use photos. That’s a bit of a challenge if you offer a desk-bound service or everything you do is deeply confidential, but it can work very well for some businesses – just look at Pinterest and Instagram.
6. Create an infographic. You don’t need great design skills: use a template from a site like Canva. Find some interesting stats from your business or industry and lay them out in a readable way with some pretty pictures. (Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it will probably take you longer than writing 5-600 words. Fun, though.) Again, these posts tend to get shared a lot (note to self: try doing one!).
Give one or more of these ideas a go, and let me know how you get on and what sort of response you get.
P.S. If you have any other ideas on the subject, do share them – comment below.