We give you three writing prompts to set you up for success the next time you write copy for your business. In the conclusion paragraph, we’ll tell you how you can translate your brainstorming to awesome pieces of written material for your next email, social media post or blog!
It’s “Writing Day.”
You booked this day in your calendar weeks ago. You’ve made a list of all the new pieces of content you need to add to your sales funnel, like Instagram posts, welcome emails, blogs and website copy. In an effort to make it less intimidating, you’ve been dreaming up ways to make this day feel exciting: you’ll wake up early, clean your office space, prepare a beautiful hot beverage in your favourite mug, and put on your bright red lipstick to romance the right words out of your brain.
And then the day arrives.
You barely slept last night.
Your favourite mug is under a pile of dirty dishes in your sink.
You look at the clothes you laid out for yourself last night and think, “that was cute” as you slide back into yesterday’s yoga pants.
It’s okay. Writing isn’t always going to look like this…
Just because it isn’t picture-perfect, doesn’t mean that it can’t still be a productive day. The truth is, writing is a vulnerable process whether your office space looks Pinterest-perfect, or you’re squeezing it in before the kids wake up and you haven’t brushed your teeth yet.
Every once in a while, the universe might gift you with a tranquil day where you feel great and the entire writing experience is a flow of creative-catharsis. But a lot of days, it won’t feel this way. And that is okay, you’re not alone, and no, you’re not “doing it wrong.”
Most days, you’ll have a lot of things on your mind. The number of clothes in your laundry pile may outnumber the number of clothes in your closet. And even if it feels like your vocabulary has been reduced to basic commands to your dog and your top-3 emojis, we promise – THE WORDS ARE ALWAYS INSIDE YOU.
Good, strong, beautiful words. They’re waiting there, ready for you to give them life.
So, when you’ve got a mountain of writing ahead of you, and you don’t know where to begin, these are five writing prompts we love to use in order to open up our minds to new ideas, experimentation and “shitty-first drafts” that you can eventually turn into beautiful final drafts.
First, we recommend spending a few minutes with this affirmation:
I am creative. Storytelling is a natural part of my human-ness and it will come easily to me today. Even though I’m feeling [stressed, nervous, incompetent, etc.] I am going to start writing and the words that need to be said will come. Even when the first draft is not perfect, the words will eventually come.
Say it out loud, write it down, fill in the blanks, talk it out with someone you trust. The important thing is that you:
Now it’s time to start writing! Remember, these are not final drafts. We just have to open the floodgates with a little brainstorming. Write out every single thing that comes to mind so that you can mine for the gold hiding in there afterward.
Since we always want to be talking in our customer’s language, the best way to do this is actually to use their language! Take some time to remember all the positive things customers and partners have told you about your business. Write down the words they used as well as you can remember. If you have written testimonials, take a few moments to gather those and highlight the key words that come up (there will probably be repetition, pay attention to these patterns!). It’s worth taking the time to mine your email inbox, social media comments and Google reviews to see what positive feedback you’ve gotten and also what frequently-asked questions you’ve received. Doing this writing prompt will help you learn:
*Side Note: This is not the time to dwell on any haters. There is a time and a place for that, but not when you’re trying to stir up excellent content. Focus on your fans, and also the “fence-sitters” who are interested, but have needed a little more persuasion before they were comfortable enough to buy.
2. What are all the ways someone could improve their life with my product/service?
Get really specific here. Don’t just write, “confidence.” Or “less wasted time.” What specific situations, emotions (in our minds) and feelings (in our bodies) are tied to these benefits?
For example, maybe:
We’ve underlined some specific emotions (confidence), feelings (scary) and specific situations (morning hair routines, paying for dinner). By describing the benefits of your business using all the senses, and specific situations your audience can relate to, you’ll start being open to new ideas in your daily routines. You’ll overhear conversations at Starbucks that will inspire you. You’ll hear podcast guests talking about pet peeves or really helpful solutions to their problems. And you’ll find more gaps in people’s daily lives that your product/service can fill. Do this writing prompt so you can get the net ready when you go out into the world!
3. What are some things about the industry you work in that bother you? What do you hate being compared to? What hesitations do people have about your product service? Is there a stigma you are constantly battling?
First of all, doing this writing prompt will probably feel a little cathartic. It’s worth doing it just to get all that bad energy out of your body from things you’ve been keeping mental notes of or even the bad situations that have happend to you directly.
However, listing all these “icky” things about the industry you’re in can also help you form your unique selling point. Depending on your brand’s personality and the product/service you offer, you can use positive phrasing by emphasizing the “better” ways you practice your work, or, you may want a bolder approach of directly saying what you are not.
Here are a couple examples we’ve found:
After you’ve brainstormed your list of things you don’t like about your industry, see if you can come up with one sentence highlighting how you are different (and of course, better!)
Each of these writing prompts will open up your mind to new ideas for content, help you get over the perfectionism that leads to writer’s block and also, could just help you form the perfect piece of copy for your next writing project:
Here’s how you can use each of these prompts if you want to wordsmith and finalize them:
Give these a try! We promise, they are a low-stakes way of getting your brain warmed up for a productive day (and who knows, it might end up giving you exactly the words you need).