When a piece of content contains a lot of mixed ideas and an unclear message overall, readers are left with nothing to take away from what they just read. Although time consuming and sometimes tedious, laying out the key points that need to be covered is crucial to ensure that readers grasp and understand the intention of the article.
Project management and organizational skills are just as important in writing as they are in all other major areas of a business. Here are a few steps that every business should follow before crafting their content.
Kill All Distractions
Professional writers know when and how to put themselves in a comfortable environment where there are no major distractions keeping them from staying focused and pulling out all possible ideas and arguments for a great piece of content. Everyone works differently and at their own pace, but a writer can usually get the most out of his or her efforts when the TV is shut off or when the cat isn’t jumping up on the desk.
Brainstorming involves exploring issues or ideas and thinking about how that issue can be solved or how that idea can be explained. Jotting down some notes is a good way to keep track of your thoughts. It doesn’t have to make sense in the early stages.
It might also be a great idea to write down the keywords you want to focus on, which is essential for proper SEO copywriting and for eventually ranking well in the search engines. As long as you have some ideas, issues, keywords, and points to potentially cover, you’re already well on your way to making it work.
Identify the Subject
Take the notes from the brainstorming session and try to identify the main issue or subject that the entire piece of content is centered around. This is especially important for staying on topic throughout the entire piece. Reminding yourself what you’re trying to answer or explain should keep the writing focused.
Identifying the subject is also important for developing a good headline to capture a potential reader’s attention. The subject or problem should be clearly identifiable within the headline, which should essentially sum up the entire objective of the piece. If you can’t yet identify the purpose, subject, or overall issue, you need to go back to the brainstorming process.
Mind Map It
Now that you have several ideas and key points that correspond to an overall issue or topic, it’s time to connect the dots. A mind map is nothing but a visual guide for connecting all the ideas together. It involves creating circles or clouds on computer software or on a blank sheet of paper and using lines to organize and connect appropriate ideas to corresponding ones. Even for seasoned CopyPress writers, a good mind map can go a long way.
Generally, the subject or headline is written in a circle in the middle, and then subtopics are drawn in other circles around the main subject and connected. From there, another layer of circles with good points and arguments can be connected to the subtopics.
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to classify key points under appropriate headings and subheadings when it’s all laid out on a visual map. Continue adding and connecting key points or subheadings until there is a well established flow of ideas. Edit where necessary until you’re happy with the result.
Create an Outline
Now is the time to turn the mind map with all the organized ideas into a formatted outline with proper headings, subheadings, and key points in a bulleted, point form list. This is the last step in the organizational process. Once a detailed outline is created, the main bulleted points can be turned into paragraphs and full sentences with proper grammar, spelling, and transitions.