Writing is now a big part of daily life. Whether you’re maintaining a blog, writing emails to customers and colleagues or simply updating your Facebook status, coming up with and structuring short sentences and long paragraphs is something most of us do every day. In email marketing, words are perhaps the most important element of a campaign. Unfortunately, they are also the thing people commonly struggle with.
Expressing yourself in meaningful, engaging sentences isn’t easy. Ask yourself – how many times have you stared at a blank email and watched the slowly flashing cursor taunt you? It wants to move swiftly to the right, leaving a trail of letters in its wake. But there’s nothing there… nothing’s coming.
You’ve got writer’s block.
We all get it – that’s the first thing to bear in mind. It is absolutely inevitable that, at some stage, you will sit down to write your next newsletter or product announcement and simply be presented with a mind as blank as the screen. However, you’ll be glad to hear there are some tips and techniques you can employ to help all but eradicate writer’s block, or at least ensure it hangs around for the minimum amount of time.
This is a trick I employ often. When you open your email marketing client and create a new campaign, just start writing. You started the campaign for a reason – focus on what that reason is, and what the call-to-action is. Don’t get bogged down in grammatical perfection or spelling nirvana – you can correct that later. Just get the basic beginning, middle and end written down. You’ll be surprised how easily the words will flow out of you and, when you read back, you might be even more surprised at how well it reads.
Become obsessive about something
Sound odd? Fair enough – let me explain. Before I start writing, I grab a cup of coffee and make sure the height of my chair is just right. It always is, but that doesn’t matter – it gets me ready and in the mood to start getting some words down. Quite often, I don’t even realise I’m doing the latter – but it happens, every time. It’s a shortcut to productivity and puts me in the right frame of mind. Find something to become obsessive about yourself, before you start your next email. Perhaps it’s position of your mouse mat, or giving the laptop lid a reassuring flick back and forth to ensure you’ve got an optimum view. Whatever it is – do it every time.
Think beyond the text
Before you start writing, think what you want to achieve from this particular email. Who is it going to help? What type of response are you trying to illicit? How is it going to help your marketing effort? Knowing these things and, hopefully, getting a little bit excited about them, will spur you on – it’ll give you motivation to write and you’ll know exactly what you need to cover.
Set a timer
Admittedly, this doesn’t work for anyone, but some people swear by it. Set a timer for thirty minutes. Pick one that won’t tick and distract you – perhaps your smartphone. Work to that timer – it’ll help you focus and force you not to dwell on the negativity writer’s block tends to induce.
Take a run up
Bear with me here. This is worth trying. If you genuinely can’t think of anything to write, start tapping away on your keyboard, randomly. Think as you tap. There’s a good chance the muscle memory on which your brain relies so heavily will connect with your thoughts and those inane bashings will start to form sentences. Consider it a run up – one which starts with complete gobbledegook – you will start to form words and, like Usain Bolt, you’ll be off! Just remember to delete the gobbledegook before sending…
Writer’s block doesn’t always strike straight away – it can hit you entirely unexpectedly halfway through a paragraph. If that happens, get up and go for a walk, or focus on something different. Ten to twenty minutes is all you’ll need. Go back to what you were writing with fresh eyes – I promise you will be able to pick up where you left off.
Revise before publishing
Writing on the back of writer’s block is not only difficult but, sometimes, a little dangerous. Regardless of how successful the above tips may prove to be, you’ll want to check what you’ve written (again, after a bit of a break) to ensure that you have achieved what you set out to do when you thought beyond the text from the start. Review your copy, revise it where necessary and set the spelling and grammatical correction tools to work!
Image courtesy of Master isolated images / freedigitalphotos.net