Don’t groan! Don’t sigh! Don’t tell me you can’t write! You can write as I’ve worked with more than 20 home services professionals and all but one could write. It’s not magic. Like everything else, it’s takes practice to learn to read, drive a car, run your business and share your expertise by writing.
Why You Need to Write?
Every small business owner and home professional needs to communicate with their customers. Writing will help you get more comfortable, and therefore better at communicating with your clients.
Sharing your expertise online helps build your brand and your reputation as an expert. It will help you stand out from the crowd and compete against others who offer the same/similar products or services. You can write one article and publish in several places to increase the odds of being found when people search the web. Unlike most advertising, i.e. yellow pages or Pay Per Click, your article keeps working for you month after month, and you don’t pay anything beyond the time you invest.
10 Steps to Writing Your Story
Yes, we’re writing stories. When you think of a story, it’s sounds less formal, it’s not so scary and you’ll feel more comfortable writing a story versus an article. Stories are more fun for the reader, and they’re more likely to remember a story over a focused, business like article. You’re getting the benefit of my learning this technique after writing 100s of formal articles.
So let’s get started on your first article, ooops … did I mean story (the difference is in your mind).
- Take you story idea and identify the keyword you feel your customers will search for when looking for your products/services.
- Photos are great for inspiration. Use your own photo, buy one (I like www.iStockPhoto.com) or find free photos (www.Flickr.com, www.FreeFoto.com, etc and follow usage guidelines).
- Write down 3 possible titles for your article. Each title must include your keyword.
- Circle the title you like best. Pick the title you think will appeal to the most customers (not readers).
- Define 2 to 3 messages you want to deliver with your story. If you stuff too much content into one story, your readers might not remember any of it. It’s better to keep your story focused on a few messages, i.e. a leaky roof should be repaired right away and this work should always be done by a professional.
- Before you start writing, decide which one customer you are writing to. This approach makes it easier to write and increases your ability to connect with a select group of readers. When you write too broadly, you risk connecting with noone.
- You’re almost ready to write but now you should search your memory for 1 or 2 personal stories. By including your personal stories you become more believable and memorable. Always remember people buy from those they know, like and trust.
- Write your story and stay on task. When you start by listing your ideas, i.e. 8 to 10 bullets in the order you want to discuss them, the writing will go faster. In fact you can use these bullets often as people don’t read, they scan information. Making your most important messages bold, is another technique to help people scan your story. For more formatting tips …
- The best way to proof your article is to read it out loud. You’ll make small changes iteratively until you get to the end. Often the best change is to remove a word, i.e. I’m always removing “that”. Don’t get discouraged when you toss full paragraphs which happens when you step back and find the article is too long. After slaving over a 10 page report, I was able to shrink it to 4 pages. More amazing was corporate communications editing it down to 2 pages and all my messages survived.
- Tweak the title you picked, and don’t be surprised when you find you like a different one better or combine 2 to create a new title.
If you found this article helpful, you should explore membership in the Association of Home Professionals (AHPConnect). Members of AHPConnect will have access to an eBook on this topic covering 1. Finding Great Topics to Write About; 2. Developing Your Topic and Staying Focused; 3. Writing Your Article; 4. Formatting Your Article for Readability and 5. Syndicating Your Article. Members also have monthly webinars on Writing 4 Business, covering blogging, article marketing and more.