Small business owners and the self-employed know that it's challenging to complete their writing to do lists. With so many tasks to balance, writing anything can seem daunting. But when you take the time to plan out what you'll need to do for your website, or any marketing channel really, it becomes a lot easier to manage - and a lot less expensive.
The key in creating any content for your business, no matter what the industry, is to put the emphasis on quality. However, when you're working on a tight budget, hiring a quality freelancer or agency can be out of the realm of possibility. So what can you do?
Here are some ways that you can write frugally so that you can give the best possibly content to your customers while saving money, time, and frustration.
Do It Yourself: I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but bear with me. Small business owners who take the time to actually write for their business can offer something that many freelancers can't: first-hand knowledge and experience. You're technically the expert in your industry and you know that you know your stuff - so why not share that insight with your customers? Sure, you might not consider yourself to be a wordsmith, but you know you have something to say about your products and services. Consider the path of doing the writing yourself.
Have a System: If you decide to take the DIY route, it helps to have a system. Maybe you find that you like to write first thing in the morning before there are any interruptions in your day. Maybe you like to write at night after the kids have gone to bed. Whatever it is that makes you feel most comfortable, most ready to write, go for it. Set up a schedule for yourself and map out what you're comfortable with writing. Then, you can start taking your projects on little by little. The biggest battle is to actually schedule yourself that time.
Make a Road Map: In SEO copywriting, many of us follow content road maps to guide us along our projects. You can do the same thing. Sit down and make a road map for the most important pages on your site, starting with the home page and working your way deeper in. You can use your site map as a guide. Then, create an editorial calendar and schedule for yourself for when and what you'll be writing. The goal is not to get it all in one day - it's to do good work at a steady pace.
Break It Into Pieces: This is one tip I've put into practice as long as I've been writing. It helps to break a big writing project into small pieces to make it more manageable and less time consuming. Nothing looks scarier than a blank page and a 750 work goal. Instead, break it into 100 words at a time. Often, you'll find that you can write in short bursts easily on a clip, saving you time as well as stress.
Keep it Short and Sweet: Your audience isn't looking for the next great novel. It's looking for clear, concise, and to the point information. Give them what they want and keep it easily digestible. Keep your paragraphs trim and your ideas simple. Complicating things with language and word count only takes away from the experience.
Ask Your Audience: Did you know that you could get free feedback on what you need to communicate through your writing by asking your audience? It's true. Ask your readers what they want to know or get from your writing. Do they want how to's? Answers to frequently asked questions? Background information? Survey them through your Facebook page, email marketing, or good, old fashioned conversation. Use their feedback to create copy that really speaks to them and in turn, takes the pressure off of you.
Keep Learning: There are countless blogs, internet marketing training programs, writing courses, and webinars available to you to help with your writing. Take advantage of these free or frugal resources as much as possible. It pays to keep learning.
If you absolutely need help with your writing and can't afford an agency or a high priced freelancer, here are some ideas for getting your writing done on the cheap while still maintaining quality.
Ask a Student: When I was in college, I wanted to get my hands on any copy project possible. Great writers can be found on college campuses and in many cases, they're willing to write just for the experience and portfolio material. Work with them. Be cooperative when they approach you about doing a class project that involves your business. Give them the opportunity to do good work.
Barter: Do you know freelance writers who can benefit from what you have to offer? Approach them and ask to barter your products or services in exchange for copywriting. For example, if you're a wedding photographer looking for site content and you have a bride that writes professionally, ask her about swapping services. You give her a break on her photography package and she helps you write what you need. It's a win-win for everyone.
Seek Out Guest Writers: Need blog posts for your small business blog? Use a service or blogger network like MyBlogGuest to hook up with guest bloggers. It's free and a great way to get quality content for your blog without busting your marketing budget.
How do you keep your writing frugal?
Mandy Boyle is the Director of Internet Marketing at Net Driven. She is also a published freelance writer and co-founder of NEPA BlogCon. She enjoys theater, not taking herself seriously, and adventurous eating.