I started blogging around 2000. I love writing. I would write even if I knew nobody else would read it. I write for myself and if anyone else likes it that’s just the icing on the cake.
My business partner Corey Blake is also a writer. While he was in college he wrote a play that was chosen from scores of others to be performed by the drama department at his school. I saw the play. It was good. Maybe he should have been a playwright instead of coming to work with me, but too late now, ha!
I’ve been encouraging Corey to start blogging since we started working together, but for one reason or another it hasn’t worked out. I know he could be great at it. He’s the best guy I know at sales, and there are a lot of people out there who could learn from him. During our partner phone call this morning the subject of Corey writing came up again, and I told him, “Start with this–don’t write an article, don’t write a blog post, just write 10 headlines.” Simple enough, right? But sometimes even coming up with headlines can be a challenge, and it was for Corey. It can be hard for anyone. The good news is it gets easier with time and practice. But how do you even get started if you can’t come up with a few headlines?
Ask for help.
That’s what Corey did to me. First, he asked me to write some headlines for him. “Can you write five headlines for me? That might make it easier for me to get started.” I agreed. Then he said something that was key, “Maybe I should just write these blog posts directly to you, like I’m answering a question you asked me.” Boom.
This is the tactic many writers use to come up with ideas. Some writers ask those around them for questions they can answer. Others visit Quora for inspiration. Some solicit questions from the readers of their blog (I’ve done that).
But in Corey’s case the challenge wasn’t just coming up with a topic, but being in the right mood to write. You may have a headline and a great outline, but then you start thinking “Who cares what I think? There are other people out there who know more than I do, they’re going to laugh at this. There are too many people, how do I write something they’ll all care about?” That’s why it’s important to have a good idea of who your audience is. Corey asked me to be his audience. By focusing on me, he won’t get distracted thinking about how to please everyone else. He knows what I know and what I don’t know, so he can customize the message for me. This will produce a more authentic, focused message which counterintuitively will reach more people, not fewer.
Here’s the email I sent Corey:
Ok, it was too easy to come up with more than five.
The number at the beginning of each of these doesn’t matter–I just threw any number there. Oddly, odd numbers sound better, although a 6 or 8 can be ok. But I try to come up with beginnings like “The one thing…” or “3 Reasons…” or “7 Ways…”
I would LOVE to hear what you have to say about all of these topics. Let’s try having you write it to me. Maybe just reply to this email, like I asked you the headline as a question. “Hey Corey, what are some words or phrases you use that show your confidence?” Then just come up with the list of words, explain why each one shows confidence, and throw in an example for some or all of them or tell a story of how you used a certain word in a certain deal with positive results.
5 Ways To Close The Deal
7 Things To Never Say If You Want To Close The Deal
Why You Should Never Talk Bad About Your Competitors
The One Thing You Must Have To Succeed In Sales
Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Being In Sales
10 Words Successful Sales People Use To Show Confidence
9 Things Your Sales People Can Do To Impact Client Retention
6 Reasons Deals Don’t Close
10 Ways Sales People Overcomplicate Sales
How To Qualify A Potential Client Without Hurting Their Feelings
Email, Phone, In Person: What To Use And When
5 Ways Sales People Can Set Up Customer Relationships For Long-Term Success
35 Words And Phrases That Increase Your Credibility
6 Differences Between Good And Great Sales People
How To Boost Sales By Turning Customers Away
3 Types Of Deals You Don’t Want To Close
5 Keys To Successful Selling Over The Phone
Why Business Owners Struggle To Replace Themselves As Sales People
6 Ways To Control The Conversation
When To Keep Pushing For The Sale And When To Give Up
Why What You Do In The First Minute After A Lead Comes In Matters So Much
5 Ways To Be Authentic In Sales
To sum up, when you’re not sure how to get started writing:
- Ask others to ask you questions about what you’re an expert on.
- Choose one.
- Answer the question.
- If it makes it easier, just answer it in an email first rather than trying to write a fancy article. Then take what you’ve written and finesse it a bit.
Try it, and let me know how it works out.Liked it? Share it!