writing for business

A story from the cave beneath the mountain of marketing and spin

Sovereign Standard, Issue 39MG_Header_w_biline_hires Right now, every fiber of my being (except for the fibers that are occupied with holding a toddler on my hip as I help my first-grader make turkeys out of candy corns and Oreos) is occupied with story.

What does it take to translate the thoughts and emotions and in-process “stuff” into a story that engages, reveals collective insights, and exposes truths?

I don’t have the whole answer yet, but I’m getting closer.

A story from the cave the mountain of marketing and spinThe best writing begins in private

To allow myself the true freedom to wonder and wander, I’m dialing back my public writing. I've been pulling deep inside to where the really stories live. It's the place deep below the marketing and the spin - in the caves where the truth rubs elbows with fear and dreams struggle against despair.

[tweetthis]Story is born in caves where the truth rubs elbows with fear & dreams struggle against despair.[/tweetthis]


In a world where storytelling is celebrated as an art and foisted upon us as a marketing tactic, it’s easy to get burned out on story - particularly when you feel like you weren’t blessed with the Scheherazade gene.

I do believe that “everybody has a story” because it was reality long before it was a cliche (or the theme of a zillion ad campaigns). But there’s a lot more to unlocking natural storytelling abilities than shoving a mic or a blog password into someone's hand and commanding “have the courage to tell your story.”

The alchemy of turning "your stuff" into "Your Sovereign Story"

As 2015 dims to allow the new year to shine bright, I’ll have a great deal to say - and to offer - about this alchemical process of turning “your stuff” into “Your Sovereign Story.”

In the meantime, please give yourself permission to slow down and watch out for the unforgettable characters and plot twists (especially those who show up around your Thanksgiving table).

Begin to consciously collect the experiences that will give your stories life... I'll be back soon to help you figure out what to do with the material!

How to say the right thing when every word matters



Sovereign Standard, Issue 38Words are like playthings.

The amuse. They teach. They inspire. They’re the building blocks of story.

But words can also be discarded toys, spread all over the floor. Just more clutter. Meaningless and forgotten.

When mindful people (and professionals) use words mindlessly

How to say the right thing when every word matters. On writing and speaking your truth by Marisa Goudy.

How to say the right thing when every word matters. On writing and speaking your truth by Marisa Goudy.

Writers, healers, and clinicians whose work relies on talking it all through... Words are at the heart of what we offer. Even though language has its limits, we count on words to mean something.

And yet, I know I’m guilty of using words mindlessly.

Lapsing into profanity when I’m tired or “in a mood. ” Barking conflicting commands as I try to rally my first-grader to the bus stop. Just throwing together a bio for a social media profile without thinking about whether I am sharing the most important parts of my story.

Everyone has heard “do as I say, not as I do.” For many of us, “do as I do, not as I say” is often just as applicable.

In part, this refusal to "mind the mouth" is a stand against political correctness. It’s rebellion in the face of mindfulness.  

Some of this mindless use of words is to be blamed on the influence of the culture - particularly when violence creeps into our metaphors.

And, frankly, sometimes it’s just exhaustion. It’s hard to keep track of every word when you're in a state of constant communication.

If some words matter, all words matter

I am compassionately declaring an end to my hypocrisy:

If some words have power, then all words have power. And I'm going to try my best to use my power wisely.

[tweetthis]If some words have power, all words have power. I'm trying to use my #writing powers wisely[/tweetthis]

The hurtful words and the healing words. All the language that falls in between that great spectrum of thought. Every word is important in the spells you cast, in the messages you’re sending out into the world.

“It’s just a throwaway comment” isn’t an excuse you can fall back on when you assert that words have power and resonance.

(Believe me, I am not completely happy about this pronouncement. The last thing I need are more rules or complications. But stick with me - there are lights every few feet along this tunnel into the underbelly of how we communicate!)

The resistance: nobody likes the word police

Engineers hate being married to English majors.

Oops… I just threw out “hate” and made a sweeping generalization there. I know it’s not really true. And I am almost sure that you know that I know it’s not true, but I wanted to get your attention and it felt like a fun, clever way to introduce this next point.

You see, paying close attention to your words doesn’t mean that you have to become a milquetoast writer… You just have to know when you’re throwing a bomb spiked with letters and punctuation.

When my husband and I are debating (ok, I should probably say “arguing”), I sometimes ask if he really means what he just said, because "I do no think that word means what you think it means." I tell myself I am seeking clarity and connection, not being a vocabulary zealot. And I am hoping he thinks “cute Princess Bride quote.”  

Unfortunately, he doesn't like it when he feels the dictionary policewoman is calling him to task on imprecise language. “Sorry, we can’t all have master’s degrees in English!” he’ll remark.

To be fair, sometimes distracted English majors get irritated with their techy mates.

I often ask Husband to pass me “the thingie that we use to fix the baby’s toy with the stupid broken bit.” He smirks, asks whether I want the phillips head screwdriver to repair the cracked battery door, and takes care of it himself. “Sorry, we can’t all build robots for a living,” I sigh.

As a writer and thought leader-in-training you owe it to yourself to analyze your word choices

Though potentially quite illuminating, analyzing word choice in the midst of conversation feels pretty tedious. Fortunately, reviewing the way you choose and use words in your own writing is much less stressful - and quite unlikely to result in either spouse sleeping on the couch.

Thanks to the direction of my brilliant sales coach, Tami Smith, I am examining the “threads” that have shown up repeatedly in my work over the last year. It’s a quest to uncover my recurring words, concepts, and images.

This is my opportunity to pause and look at the common elements in my own stories. It’s helping me understand how I’ve been defining and living my signature concepts, Sovereignty and the Sovereign Story - often without even knowing it.

In this case, the unconscious use of language is helpful and revelatory.

Shut up, listen to yourself, and do some research

There are certain words you use again and again. Over time, you inhabit their meaning. You then expand and redefine what these words mean to better express your unique vision.

This expansion and redefinition process can be organic and even accidental as you write into a term, use it in your daily life, and shape it with your experiences.

But then, there’s even more to learn when you close your mouth, put down the pen, and start listening to yourself.  

When you pause to dig into a beloved word’s history and connotations, these fresh ideas push the boundaries of your work even further. And reaching your edge beautiful thing.

Some insight into one of the mindful professional’s favorite words

One word I use constantly is “insight.”

I am drawn to insight because it folds information, knowledge, and wisdom together into a nice, two syllable package. I want to be seen as someone who is insightful and I want to be someone who opens readers and clients to their own insights.

The former academic in me cringes when I cite Wikipedia rather than go to primary source materials, but I’m giving myself permission, just this once. That’s what Wikipedia is for after all - it guides you in the initial “I wonder…” stage and then open doors to further inquiry.  

Adapted from the entry on insight, the word can generally be defined as:

  • The capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing.

  • Suddenly seeing a problem in a new way, connecting the problem to another relevant problem/solution pair, releasing past experiences that are blocking the solution, or seeing problem in a larger, coherent context.

In psychology, insight

  • occurs when a solution to a problem presents itself quickly and without warning

  • can mean the ability to recognize one's own mental illness

In marketing, insight

  • is a statement based on a deep understanding of your target consumers' attitudes and beliefs, which connects at an emotional level and provokes a clear response

Suddenly, what I thought was a nice, broad term related to imparting truths and gaining understanding reveals itself to be an important term in the field of psychology. Now, I will use it more mindfully in copy that’s directed at the clinicians in my audience. I’ll also be able to use it more skillfully in writing coaching consults and copywriting jobs for therapists.

And it’s meaningful to note that “insight” is also a marketing term. I instinctively knew that we all need insight into our ideal clients and readers, but I had no idea it was a “real” buzzword (at least according to the anonymous strangers who created this Wikipedia article).

Owning the power of words is a brave, necessary, challenging act

Once you admit to yourself that every word does have a measure of power, you can’t teach your child that old “sticks and stones” rhyme in good conscience. You can’t write off sexist or homophobic remarks as mere teasing. Never again can you ignore any threats that someone makes to herself or others.

Sounds… earnest.

If you’re a semi-irreverent soul like me, someone who doesn’t much like formalities and who thinks creativity is about coloring outside the lines, it sounds like a rather uptight way to move through life.

That’s just my fear of change speaking. I'm afraid of holding myself to a kinder, more conscious standard because I'm afraid I'll fail.

In truth, playing it fast and loose and talking or writing yourself into corners (“I know I said that, but, actually, I meant…”) is actually a much more restrictive way to live.

Yes, as you become what Don Miguel Ruiz calls “impeccable with your word,” you’ll irritate some people. You'll fall into old "whatever" speech patterns. You'll go for easy but dangerous metaphors rather than articulating your healing truth.

Trust yourself. Forgive yourself. Speak for your best self. Stand sovereign in your dedication to telling a story that you’re proud to claim as your own. Writing coaching by Marisa Goudy.

Trust yourself. Forgive yourself. Speak for your best self. Stand sovereign in your dedication to telling a story that you’re proud to claim as your own. Writing coaching by Marisa Goudy.

Trust yourself. Forgive yourself. Speak for your best self.

Stand sovereign in your dedication to telling a story that you’re proud to claim as your own.

Can you commit to mindfully choosing your words? Let me know you're with me in the comments and please share this post with your community.

The end of the "call to action" for healers and private practice therapists

Sovereign Standard, Issue 32MG_Header_w_biline_hires What is your goal when you sit in a room with a client?

To guide, to partner, to support. Perhaps to educate and inspire.

What about “convince” or “persuade”? Um, ick.

The role of the healer

As an energy healer with my own small practice, I cringe at the thought of “convincing” a vulnerable client of anything while she lies on my table. Though I am not bound by the codified ethics of a mental health or other licensed medical practitioner, I am bound by my own personal ethics and by the basic “job description” that my teacher and mentor Eleanora Amendolara gave me:

To be a healer is to facilitate another’s awakening.

To facilitate and hold space for another person’s unfolding is a privilege and an honor I don’t take lightly - and as a clinician or holistic professional, I know you also feel the precious weight of such a responsibility too.

In session, deep work takes place. Huge blocks get cleared. A great deal of pain and resistance might emerge in the process. As a healer, you are the witness and the source of safety.

You don’t force or convince anyone of anything that isn’t theirs. The healing wisdom each individual needs is already within. You’re there to help unlock those hard-to-find internal doors and windows.

The healer’s experience as a marketer

How do you get those beautiful people in need into your office so you can perform your magic and offer up your healing medicine?

You market yourself.

At least that’s the mainstream way to talk about it.

You use ads and in-person networking and social media and you create a website that converts. You develop just the right copy and just the right elevator speech that speaks to the pain points and shows that you’ve got just the solution.

Some of this marketing stuff feels fine, some a little suspect, and some advice simply doesn't apply to you. You do what you have to do to spread your message and introduce your work to your perfectly imperfect people.

Walking in both worlds: the private practice and the public marketplace

Walking in both worlds: how to be in private practice and in the public marketplaceAs you know, I am steeped in this marketing process.

I moonlight as an energy healer - quite literally, in the sense that my healing abilities get charged up thanks to a sighting of the moon. She reminds me that there’s a great big universe out there that puts all our human stories in perspective.

But my “real” job is as a writing coach who helps you produce meaningful content so you can be an effective player in the online marketing game.

I walk in both worlds. And, as a healing professional who is building a business, you do too.

We perceive the dissonance between the persuade, convert, sell approach and the gentle, connected process of actually helping people.

But we agree that "marketing" isn't a dirty word, right?

“Marketing is a bad word” is so 2010. 

Saying “I don’t do marketing” with a vaguely superior shudder just doesn’t cut it anymore. You probably don’t even know many practitioners like that since you’ve set out to connect with colleagues who share your growth mindset!

[tweetthis]The "I don't do marketing" attitude is so 2010. I'm a healer with a growth mindset.[/tweetthis]


So, yes, we have accepted - and embraced! - the dynamic, creative process that is content marketing. We use blog posts, articles, and social platforms to tell stories that draw readers and clients.

But, still, there’s dissonance between the mainstream messages about how to lure clients and the experience you create for the clients you have.

If “persuade them to take action” is the foundation of marketing, do you have to be one person in your treatment space and someone else when you're trying to attract clients online? 

In a word: no.

You can walk in both worlds, stay true to yourself, and build business.

[tweetthis]Yes, you can walk in both worlds and thrive as a healer and a businessperson.[/tweetthis]

The secret to authentic, integrated marketing for therapists and healers

As you’d expect from a writer, I’ll tell you the secret to authenticity is in the words you choose.

As you’d expect from a healer, I’ll tell you the secret to integrity is in the energy you put into your communication.

Simply shift “persuade” or “convince” into invite.

The end of the call to action

The end of the call to action for healers and private practice therapistsFor years, I’ve happily offered up one of the most elementary acronyms in the copywriter’s arsenal: CTA.

A “call to action” is what every web page and every piece of sales collateral needs to include. (Or so “they” always say…)

It’s time to adjust the wording to reflect an energetic shift in how we  look at transforming curious web surfers and readers into committed clients.

Let’s call it the Invitation to Action.

It’s a minor shift, especially since there is nothing particularly objectionable in the word “call” itself. But, as clinicians and holistic service providers who hold rather than force, isn’t it time to step away from phrases that are synonymous with “tell ‘em what to do”?

How can the "Invitation to Action" change everything about your approach to marketing?

“Invitation to action” is not an invitation to forget everything you have learned about marketing.

It doesn't allow you to escape the risky business of self promotion and it doesn't permit you to pull back into yourself.

It’s not an excuse to write “nice,” vague copy that hints at “maybe you want to call me someday.” 

Instead, "Invitation to action" is an energetic pivot that takes you out of pushing and into holding.

The "ITA" is still effective. It's all the more effective because it's in alignment with who you really are.

Begin to get comfortable with this phrase by using it as the headline on an invitation you’re writing for yourself.

You are invited to compose your next sales page, blog post, or social media update as a fully integrated marketer-writer-healer.

Use your website to create a safe, welcoming space. Use your words to offer ideas and options and well-intentioned suggestions. Use your expertise - and trust your expertise - to show prospective clients that you’ve got the medicine they need.

Learn a new way to invite clients into your practice - discover the Story Triangle. Sign up for the next free class coming up on May 11!

Join the webinar

How do private practice therapists take the creative risk and keep a blog?

"Creativity is the ability to take a risk. To actually put yourself on the line and risk ridicule, being pilloried, criticized, whatever. But... you must take that risk."

Sting - and specifically his Ted talk about how he reconnected with his creativity - inspired me to think about the risks we take as writers, as thinkers, as content creators, and as publishers.

Does creativity feel like a risk to you?

How do private practice therapists take the creative risk of keeping a blog?

How do private practice therapists take the creative risk of keeping a blog?

Creating and sharing haven’t always felt risky for me.

Think of yourself as a kid. Think of what Picasso said: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

Art was life, not risk.

As I grow older, as my circles of influence grow a little wider, and as more people are likely to read my words, I finally feel the tingle of “this is risky” when I hit publish.

Blogging for business can be your best creative outlet

As full as life is - and I know you can relate to this - creative time can be scarce. You're in two nonstop races when you run a family and you run a business - or at least it can feel that way.

In my case, if there's any “me” time at all, it’s a choice between meditate, exercise, or do some creative writing.

Since I tend to choose whatever offers maximum overall benefit and can be done during nap time, I choose meditation. That means I’m in pretty lousy shape and it means my beloved fiction projects are languishing.

It also means my untapped creative writing juices get poured into my blogging and content marketing. Because I need to build a business to support this family, that’s the perfect mix right now.

If writing for the business is the creative outlet, then blogging can feel risky too

[tweetthis]If creativity=risk and biz blogging is a #creative practice, does that make #writing risky?[/tweetthis]

Thinking aloud, trying out a theory in a public space, taking on issues that people would rather not examine, publishing it online for all the world to see… all of this can feel dangerous.

Even though we’re all getting used to living out loud when we're on online, it can start to feel dicey when you consider your professional persona.

This is especially true if you feel particuarly cautious about sharing personal stories - either because you’re a naturally private person or because you’re a therapist in private practice.

When you start to build an audience and you sincerely hope those people will invest in what you do, “just write and hit publish” starts to feel kinda scary.

And there’s a particular kind of risk inherent to publishing a blog post for your business: 

You can’t always be sure that you’re writing about an idea that speaks to the concerns of your ideal readers and clients. What if the story you need to tell right now springs from your own psyche and your own needs?

Discern your own stories from the Greater Story your business & your readers need you to tell

[tweetthis]Some stories are private. Some need to get tweeted like crazy. Can you tell the difference?[/tweetthis]

Experience. Listening. Mindfulness.

And trust.

Trust that you’ve created a reciprocal relationship with you readers that allows you to hear their needs above your own internal noise.

Trust that your readers are willing to journey with you into the uncharted territory of your inner world. (Within reason… this is a professional, not a confessional blog!)

There’s no simple formula. Again, it’s a creative act - because yes, blogging for your business can be a deeply creative process. There are risks and you may not always get it right, but that whole “nothing ventured, nothing gained” idea certainly applies in this case.

[tweetthis]Shh! I'm writing. #Blogging for my business is my creative outlet.[/tweetthis]

Is writing the “right” story easier or harder for therapists?

So, having decided to write about other people instead of myself, a further irony is that sometimes you reveal more about yourself than you'd ever intended. - Sting at TED Vancouver in 2014

Is writing the "right" story harder for therapists?

Is writing the "right" story harder for therapists?

Storytelling is an intensely personal act.

That is why it is such an effective way to reach and engage people. You do risk revealing yourself when you tell a story - even if you never use a personal pronoun.

The way a narrator takes a chance and puts herself on the line? That is exactly what gets people to pay attention.

You might think that discerning whether a story is acceptably universal or too rooted in personal concerns would be easier for therapists. After all, your work is about witnessing and holding space for others’ emotions.

You know what occupies many hearts and minds. And you've generally been taught to keep yourSELF out the equation.

For example, when someone  reveals a concern about infidelity or chronic anxiety or the stress of parenting, you know it’s a topic that you could explore on your blog (ethically and without identifying details, of course). When you see patterns emerge in your practice, you've discover a collective problem that will interest many of your readers. 

But what if you’re drawn to discuss a topic because it’s rippling through your own life or because it colors your past?

Then, telling the story - even without an "I" - can feel risky. You're not so sure you're telling the "right" story and distinguishing between the personal and universal.

Through the writing process - which reveals countless hidden truths - you may realize that it's hard to publish a post and maintain your professional posture when you’re bent under the strain of your own experiences.

So what do you do?

When your own "stuff" wants to come into your blog and you're not totally sure what is yours, what is important for the community, and what is just plain old whiny nonsense, in addition to practicing mindfulness and trust, practice gentleness.

Be gentle with your story, with your need to tell it, with your audience. After all, they put themselves in your care when they gather round to hear what you have to say.

And get a second set of eyes to review the post before you hit publish.

Often, a non-therapist with distance from your situation will be the best reader because they offer the gift of impartiality. They can tell you what resonates in the heart of the common reader, what feels like psychobabble buzz, and what feels too autobiographical.

I happen to be a non-therapist who loves to play the role of your ideal reader.  As your writing coach, I can help you figure out which stories to tell and support you as your find just the right words to tell them.

A Writing-for-Business Practice is a Writer’s Practice

Sovereign Standard, Issue 28MG_Header_w_biline_hires An editorial calendar is nothing; a writer’s practice is everything.

I kind of stole that from Ike.

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” EisenhowerPlans are nothing; planning is everything.”

President Eisenhower was likely talking about the planning process required for taking a beachhead or running a country, but his statement encouraged me to think about blogging and writing for your business in a new way.

[tweetthis]Making a plan for your #blog is nothing. The #writing process is everything.[/tweetthis]

Making a plan for your blog is useless. The writing process is everything... When the coaching industry exists to sell you strategies and organization tips, this sounds like heresy, but editorial calendars are meaningless to me - and I bet they’re pretty useless to you too.

Forget editorial calendars. Writing is sustained by practice (and, well, writing).

I write and support writers for a living, but I have never had an editorial calendar.

[tweetthis]An editorial calendar is nothing; a writer’s practice is everything.[/tweetthis]

I’ve started plenty of spreadsheets called “editorial calendar.” I’ve listed publication target dates on the left side and created columns with important headers like “title,” “category,” and “call to action.”

And then… I’ve never gotten past the first entry. Six months later, inspired by advice I’ve given to my own clients, I try all over again (sometimes I even remember to just copy and past the old, useless calendar).

Invariably, however, I fall back into my old “no-plan plan.” And the writing still gets done.

Why do I do it this way? Because it works.

Does it work because I’m a born writer who thrives on chaos rather than organization?


It works because I’m dedicated to my writing-for-business practice. And it’s not the sort of practice that you can outline in marathon sessions every few months.

The writing-for-business process is the very process of being a business owner, a thinker, and a writer. And it happens in its own time, according to what you’re learning and how you’re growing in real time.

What is a Writing-for-Business Practice?

To be a professional who writes to support your business, you have to sit down and put words on a page - but it’s about so much more than that.

To have a real writing practice that works, that actually supports and furthers your professional goals, you need to invest yourself in the entire process from generating and channeling ideas to publishing and sharing your content.

You don’t need to follow anyone’s specific framework or keep track of your progress according to any set form, but you do need to understand your own process well enough to replicate what works so you can publish according to your own schedule, week in and week out.

5 Key Elements of a Business Visionary's Writing Practice

This list isn’t exhaustive. The writing practice - even when it’s for business rather than pure creative expression - it’s a fiercely personal endeavor. You can make it as simple or as complex as as you are.

After five years of writing my own professional posts and helping many clients develop theirs, here’s a bit of what I know must be part of your practice:

  • Curiosity - You look for the layers of the meaning in the every day.
  • Storytelling - You see the potential plot lines, themes, and characters in your seemingly mundane experiences.
  • Dedication - You show up to write regularly, even when life and “real” work want to get in the way.
  • Tenacity - You keep writing and publishing even when no one seems to be listening (keep at it, produce well-made, fascinating content and, eventually, people will read, share, and take action).
  • A recognition that writing is its own reward (at least at first) - The process sustains you and you’re able to see the benefit in organizing your thoughts and becoming a stronger writer - even before the loyal following shows up.

The Writing-for-Business Routine

Above, I say that the writing-for-business practice happens in its own time. That’s true, but in order for it to be a practice, it has to have a reliable enough rhythm.

Here’s the flow of my writing routine when it comes to producing weekly blogs:

  • take notes consistently (the notebook goes everywhere and scraps of ideas get written down because there’s no telling what will grow into something big and important)
  • draft the post on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • edit on Thursday
  • format and schedule it in WordPress before bed on Thursday night
  • read it all over just once more just before it goes live on Friday morning

One writer’s process is just that - one writer’s process. I wouldn’t assume to tell you this is the best schedule to follow.

My weekly process shows you that even though I am free of the editorial calendar, I am not without discipline and commitment. You may not be planning your writing weeks and months in advance, but you are planning to write every week.

Another important thing to note as you settle into a writing routine: give yourself time between “that would make a great blog post” and clicking publish.

Time heals wounds and it also exposes faults in logic, boring storylines, and egregious typos. You need some distance from your writing to see your blind spots, so don’t try to go from start to finish in one session.

A writing-for-business practice is a writer’s practice

A writing-for-business practice is a writing practice - Coles Phillips Life MagazineGone are the days of the elitist “real writer.” There's no need to play the artist or the intellectual who separates herself from the hack and the profiteer.

Thank goodness we can put those nasty divisions aside and recognize that plenty of real writing can take place in the commercial sphere. It’s no crime to apply your writing talents to make a real livelihood.
By the same token, if you are someone who has fallen into the role of writer because your business demands it, this is your chance to realize the true gifts of a writing practice.
As an entrepreneur or healer, an expanded vision, clearer thinking, and new connections are just the beginning of what you can expect when you establish a writing practice to support your business practice.

When you go to practice, you expect to see a coach there

I don't generally do sports metaphors when I talk about my writing coaching. (If you're the kid whose single basket during middle school YMCA basketball is still a point of pride for your poor dad, the coach, you'd avoid talking about sports too.)

And yet, as I talk about the importance of practice and the longterm commitments and implications of such a practice, it does feel like I'm asking you to get better at playing a game. And in order to really hone your skills, you want a guide and an ally to teach you new skills and refine your own natural abilities. You want a coach.

I would love to support you and help you discover a writing-for-business practice that you can sustain and that can sustain your business.

And if you’re someone who thrives on spreadsheets and long term visioning, I can even help you create and maintain an editorial calendar (just don’t ever ask to look at mine!).

Consider what the Sovereign Standard Writing Coaching Program can do for you.Sovereign Standard Writing Coaching Program with Marisa Goudy

Choose How to Use Your Power: 4 Ways to Create Great Written Content

Sovereign Standard, Issue 22MG_Header_w_biline_hires We live in an abundant universe and we are the ultimate authors of our lives.

That’s all fine and good, but you only have so much time to write your business’s stories and get that blogging done.

How are you going to use your power?

“Write this week’s post” or “update the website copy” are on your to do list. You've decided to apply your power to crafting your ideas into words and sharing them with people who want lives that are more beautiful, bearable, or bold. Yay!

Choose how to use your power: 4 ways to create great written contentAnd you intend to take the ideas from draft to final copy all by yourself because you love to write, you’re on a budget, or because you fear you’d sacrifice authenticity if you outsourced it… but is that the right choice? Is that how you really want to use your power?

As I write this, my five year old is trying to make the Eiffel Tower out of mostly dried up Play-Doh. I am only 95% sure that the markers my toddler is using to draw all over her t-shirt are washable.

My maternal powers are diluted and I'm sure every paragraph I write is riddled with typos.

But I am making it work. I choose to see myself as powerful - at least according to Michele Woodward’s definition.

“Power is the ability to get stuff done.”

This definition was a common refrain in a recent How She Really Does It podcast in which Michele and Koren Motekaitis put a positive spin on power. Yes, we all have the capacity to build and store power, but how are we going to use power in helpful, efficient ways?

Choose How to Use Your Power: 4 Different Ways Create Great Written Content

You’re on board with content marketing. You’ve been storing up stories and ideas for ages. Your website looks great and is waiting for the right copy and a consistent blog.

It’s time to channel your power and get this writing stuff done. How do you make that happen?

The answer isn’t necessarily simply “go write.”

1) Give it up: Outsource your content writing completely

You can fully empower a ghostwriter to do it all from topic research to writing to image selection to posting the piece.

When this works best: There are lots of news and information sources related to your field that a trusted writer can review and translate for your audience based on your company story. Early in my writing career I combed the medical research and did this sort of blogging for a nutritional supplement company.

When this doesn’t serve you: If you have a personal brand, it’s reliant on your voice and your stories. This hands-off approach doesn’t generally serve coaches, healers, or those who sell information and wisdom that stems from personal experience.

2) Team up: Partner with a writer

Develop a relationship with a writer who becomes part of your team. She’ll get to know you, your brand, and your vision and ask questions from an outside perspective that will help expand your vision of what you’ll have to offer. You’re part of the brainstorming process but she takes care of organizing all the ideas and making the words sing.

When this works best: You have a ton of big ideas and general concepts you want to share. Your business is strong enough that you can afford to invest in this process – good writers will require a lot of time and attention at the beginning as they endeavor to really understand you, your voice, and your brand.

When this doesn’t serve you: Even though you are very involved in the process and will be the instigator of every piece of writing, you’re a step removed from the process. Since you’ve both agreed that the writer would publish under your name and you paid for the service, the intellectual property is yours and the product is 100% yours. But, if you have a writer’s soul you may not feel that this option suits your needs.

3) Tune up: Hire a Writing Coach

When you work with a writing coach, it's your writing - only better. A writing coach will help you meet your editorial goals now and build skills that will take you far into the future. Plus, you'll have the insights that only a "second pair of eyes" can really offer. This makes you a better writer and it also helps you dig deeper into your own stories and wisdom.

When this works best: Writing doesn’t come all that easily to you, but you want to get better at it. Or maybe it's easy for you to fill "ideas" notebooks but you never make the time to turn that material into polished posts. You also worry that your writing style doesn’t lend itself to the needs of the skimming internet audience. No matter what, the stress over making it perfect kills the joy you find in the process.

Learn more about the writing coaching relationship.

When this doesn’t serve you: Your business is at a stage where you’re more focused on scaling your business and landing speaking gigs. You don’t harbor any dreams of being a writer and would be better served partnering with a writer who can translate your ideas into prose.

4) Train up: For the bootstrapper who has time to teach herself the craft

Writing is a skill. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. There are loads of resources out there from Copyblogger’s free library and paid training programs to big old books on the subject like the Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly. I refer to both when I’ve written myself into a corner, I need inspiration, or I need help remembering that writing for the internet is more about selling than writing much of the time.

When this works best: You have more time than money to invest in sharpening your writing skills. You likely trust your writing skills enough and enjoy writing enough that you can follow a set of tips to tune your craft.

When this doesn’t serve you: Writing scares you and depletes you and you’re intimidated rather than energized by the DIY approach. You understand that consulting with an expert who is focused on your individuals needs and challenges will help you build your business and your writing skills faster and more efficiently.

How will you use your superpowers to get more of the vital work done?

I’ve been “the writer” in all these situations. Because every entrepreneur, creative, and healing professional has her own needs and superpowers, each writing approach is valid.

At this stage in my career, I see my clients experience the most personal growth and satisfaction when they go the writing coaching route. In addition to producing great content today, they’re preparing themselves to handle a marketing scene that will always demand good writing. And when it’s time to write that book? They’re ready.

How can I help you amplify your superpowers? Check out the services page.

How to Heal Chronic Internet Fatigue Syndrome

Sovereign Standard, Issue 21MG_Header_w_biline_hires What’s the number one reason bloggers quit writing?

Forget that… what’s the number one reason you want to quit the writing practice that's mean to build your business or your professional platform?

Because nobody seems to read what you write, right?

It’s one thing to know that most online readers are just skimming, it’s another to feel like you’re not even reaching those eyeballs.

How to heal Chronic internet fatigue syndromeYou slip into despair if your site stats don’t match up to the investment you made in the post. Who can blame you? Writing a from-the-heart, meaningful, useful post every week or two takes a lot out of you, but it’s a labor of love.

It’s the next step, the “doing social media” to get the link in front of prospective clients and readers that pushes the whole venture into mission: impossible territory.

Unless you have a fully charged phone while you’re in line at the DMV or killing time someplace similar. In that case, you have time to share the blog post on every social media platform you’ve ever heard of.

Those deep dives into social media can be really useful, but soon they teach you something vital...

Social Media Isn’t About Posting Strategy or Likes, It’s About Real Relationships

Getting people to read what you write really isn’t about crafting Tweets and status updates and making everything sweet-as-pie Pinnable.

If you don’t have the online relationships, even the best piece of content is likely to languish in obscurity on your under appreciated blog.

As social media matures and the networks figure out how to monetize their “free” platforms, it becomes increasingly hard to hear and be heard above the noise.

Instead of tuning in to every Mari Smith email and Social Media Examiner podcast like I used to, I’m focusing on nurturing real connections with people I care about. It's the only way to heal a modern disease I bet you know all too well...

Are you suffering from Chronic Internet Fatigue Syndrome?

My case of Chronic Internet Fatigue Syndrome flares up regularly. Sick of the sales pitches, the false promises, the self aggrandizement, and the sheer meaninglessness of it all, I burn out and hide myself in a few good novels. (Or a Candy Crush Soda binge… don’t judge me.)

During these hibernation periods I tend to lose hard won footing in the social universe. The disappearing acts make me seen inconsistent and, hence, I'm easily forgotten or dismissed.

It’s easy to claim “because my kids”  but really, I just can’t sustain these online “connections” that aren’t forged in real, sustaining reciprocal relationships.

At the early stages of building a platform and becoming a trusted voice in your area of expertise, it feels like it’s all about giving, producing, and introducing yourself.  It's so easy to burn out. Eventually, you’ll reap what you sow and see a return on all that effort, but only if you are offering yourself and your writing to the right people.

The Writer’s Cure for Chronic Internet Fatigue Syndrome?

Reach.Connect.Uplift WomenReach.Connect.Uplift Women

As with any chronic ailment, the goal is to break the cycle and enjoy sustained health and vitality. You want to find a sustainable online community that loves to read what you write and offers up content that betters your personal and professional life as well.

You do, right?

Ok, so come join me over at the Reach.Connect.Uplift Women Forum because I think it’s the cure for digital burnout.

Just when I realized I needed to break my feast or famine social media efforts and focus on an online community that gave as good as it got from me, founder Lany Sullivan told me about how the RCUWomen Google+ group was migrating to its own membership forum.

As Lany describes it, "We decided to go old school and build a forum on our website that we could really let loose and have a broader reach. "

What, it's 2015 and we're back to a message board? If you're getting lost in the social media crowds, it may be just the medicine your content creator's soul craves.

Here's Lany's explanation of "why a Reach.Connect.Uplift Women Forum, why now?":

Lany Sullivan Reach.Connect.Uplift WomenWe want a platform that allows us to really highlight our members, provide valuable resources, and be able to monitor and manage it with maximum efficiency. Social Media doesn’t do that for us or our members.

Building an audience off social allows us to have a greater impact, better connections and deeper relationships with our members. Instead of sifting through the millions of posts on social everyday, our members can drop by the forum for some of the top content in the market. Plus, we have some additional SEO and link building benefits that has a positive impact for everyone.

So, will you join me over on the new forum? My social streams and my inbox are too full and I'm missing your great content, but I know I'll see it if you become a RCUWoman too (and guys, if you've got the stones to join the ladies, we'd love to have you too!)

Does your business need a blog? Depends on what you need from your business

Sovereign Standard, Issue 16MG_Header_w_biline_hires I’m a frugal lass. I squeeze the toothpaste tube for a week longer than any sane person would and I still manage to have fresh breath.

If there’s still some meaning to be eked out of a revelation like “I gotta quit entrepreneurship,” I’m going to find it. I’m obligated to find it. (Yeah, I get that this can be obsessive, exhausting, and self-defeating.)

When you ask your business to ask less of you, how will you show up online?Then I’m going to spend a few hours crafting it into words. And then I am going to share it with my readers - even if the article doesn’t take me one inch closer to attracting copywriting clients or further my creative projects.

Blindness? Egomania? Fear of missing out?

Can we call it dedication? I’ve found a tribe who, like me, is feeling the crush of creative entrepreneurship and the idea just won’t leave me alone.

You’re downshifting from entrepreneurship into freelancing. It’s time to do the work that immediate rather than pioneering a visionary program or building a firm (at least for now).

Living and working like the creative-in-business you want to be may mean adjusting how you do business by offering the basic, 'useful' services.

This is why I am shifting my attention to offering the right people my copywriting and editing services while the 'real' creative work gestates in the dark for a while.

Read the rest of Burned Out? Maybe It’s Time to Split the Creative from the Professional

When it comes down to it, “don’t waste anything!” probably isn’t a good enough reason to keep writing about a concept that may or may not be aligned with personal and professional goals.

So I ask myself (in the way I know best - a piece of writing I intend to publish)  do I even need to keep blogging and sending out the Sovereign Standard if I’m redefining my relationship to my business?

As you ask your business to ask less of you, how will you show up online?

So, what if you are called to make a shift in how you relate to your business?

Tons of your behind the scenes habits and attitudes will change, but the hardest changes you make will relate to how you decide to show up online.

You know you still have to think about your visibility, consistency, and reputation. Even if you're happily shutting down a larger company, with creative dreams like yours, there's going to be a time when you want an audience who knows and loves you.

Over-hyped as it may seem, content marketing is key to building a business in 2015. It's key to building a creative platform as well. We hear about “the importance of creating compelling content, of all lengths, and across all platforms” from countless sources. Everybody’s doing it and if you’re serious about building a business or a platform as an author or thought leader, you have to do it too.

(Wait, is that really true?)

Not surprisingly, I do think writing is important - even essential. But, you don't blog because "they" say you must or because you think it's fun compete against mega stars and companies with mega budgets as everyone vie for the web surfers' finite attention.

You create written content because it supports your personal, professional, and creative growth. Ultimately, you need to establish a writing practice that gives back to you.

Must you write for your business (even if you’re scaling it back)?

You've got so much going on. You just want a break. The point is to devote creative energy to the work that matters, not to the marketing and the ephemeral blog posts...

Can you just quit?

As with most answers to important questions, there is no one single “should” when it comes to deciding how you’ll figure out how to show up after you change the rules to your own professional game.

Instead, there are just more questions. This is what I'm asking myself as I restructure my relationship with my work.

How do you write for a changed business? The practical marketing questions

  • Do I have enough contacts and other resources to pull in the clients I need without doing my own content marketing?
  • What do I blog about now that I am running a more “low key” business that’s built on my scale, not to be scalable?
  • Do the clients who hire a smart, competent freelancer want something different than clients who are investing with a creative entrepreneur?

Pause. Here's an answer to those last two questions:  Remember that clients don’t really care about what you call yourself as long as you get the work done. And readers don’t care either as long as you’re interesting and helpful.

A new opportunity to prioritize writing for business (or not) and to honor your creativity no matter what

Yes, no, maybe? Business writing is time consuming enough without adding the pressure of an existential blogging crisis on top of it all. Let's cut through the deliberation and establish what's most important:

If you still have to earn a livelihood as a self-employed person, you fundamentally need to focus on the income-generating activities that will sustain you today, tomorrow, and in the near future.

And, if you want to be the person you know you're mean to be you also need to honor and creative acts will nourish you today, tomorrow, and in the near future.

To that end, I'm going to ask myself these three questions before I sit down to write another word on any project.

  • Am I writing this for myself and/or to further my creative vision?
  • Am I writing this to win real business?
  • Am I writing this because part of me has been trained to equate “likes” and spikes in my site stats with approval?

Tell me, what other questions do you ask yourself as you decide how to spend your precious writing time. And if you have any answers? Glory, glory, they're more than welcome too!

The Art of Using Personal Stories In Professional Writing

The Art of Using Personal Stories in Professional Writing. Business Writing Coaching.Sharing bits of your own life can be an ideal way to connect with your reader and show that you’re delightfully (or horribly!) human. Then again, it can be a risk. Sharing too much or nattering on about something that bores your audience can kill engagement and lead to unsubscribes.

As with anything, it’s about striking the right balance. For the creative entrepreneur, that means blending a story that piques interest with useful information your readers can apply to their own lives.

Your mission: weave together story & news they can use

Two general guidelines as you balance story and practical information in your business writing:

  1. Provide just-juicy-enough details and personal revelations, while honoring that this is a professional space, not a confessional one.
  2. Remember that the reader is the hero, not you (even if you’re using your own crumby day or ecstatic moment to get an idea across). The article you’re writing or the talk you’re giving may open with lots of “I did this…” and then “I thought that…” language, but you want to bring it back to the “you” by the end of the piece.

Does every personal story need to offer the reader an obvious “what’s in it for me?”

Just as balance isn’t always about 50/50, “make your own story about the reader” isn’t true 100% of the time - at least not in an overt way.

Business writing and blogging isn’t memoir writing, but we can take a cue from the Elizabeth Gilberts and Cheryl Strayeds of the world… Even when the story is purely personal, strangers can see their own story in a first person narrative.

If you trust your readership to interpret the story and understand that they can follow your example or heed a cautionary tale, you may be able to carry the autobiographical approach all the way to end.

When you’re starting out, however, stick with this basic rule: employ a compelling story from your own life to illuminate something you’d like your readers to examine or try in their own lives.

  • Be obvious about the connection between story and "lesson."
  • Transition from prose to a list. (This makes it clear for the reader that they're in the "teaching bit" of the article.)
  • Shift from using“I” at beginning  to using “you” at the end.

Interested in seeing that in action? I walked my talk in last week’s Sovereign Standard post: As Entrepreneurs, As Writers, As Mothers: What’s “Enough”?

Did you know it was possible to take the story of a fourteen month old’s split lip and use it to describe how to best prioritize your business writing? I didn’t either…

But, as I worked through the worry and the guilt that sprang from failing to protect my girl (from gravity and a wee bit of questionable maternal judgment), I eventually arrived at secure state of “enoughness.”

And "enoughness" isn't just essential to the harried mama - it's essential for the overcommitted entrepreneur trying to honor client work and business building and the writing practice that feeds her soul as well as her marketing duties.

Learn how the Story Triangle can help you balance TMI and just enough details to draw your readers in. Sign up for the free webinar.

Relax, Their Blogging and Marketing Advice Doesn’t Apply to You

Relax, Their Blogging and Marketing Advice Doesn’t Apply to YouIt’s your business to make life more beautiful, bearable, or bold for a select group of people. You want to be more visible, telling your brand’s story and your own stories. Launching a blog or devoting yourself to a regular business writing process on your current website is the right decision.

Here’s the first thing to do: stop listening to advice for bloggers.

Tune out the smart, reputable marketing experts with their experience and convincing facts and figures.

They’re not talking to you.

(And, of course, you also want to stop listening to the “get rich quick” business gurus, but you already knew that.)

But back to those intelligent, compelling marketing marketing minds and what elements of their advice you can ignore...

You’re Not the Every(wo)man Blogger

About 15 - 20% of Americans are involved in entrepreneurial ventures.

A large proportion of those individuals make utilitarian products and sell everyday services like septic tank maintenance. Most of those companies rely on old fashioned advertising to find new buyers.

There’s a smaller slice of the self-employed population that will experiment with content marketing and launch a blog or develop other types of media to educate and entertain and entice new business.

Though they’re surely speaking to marketing officers at larger corporations too, the majority of the blogging and marketing experts are pitching their message at this group of "traditional" business folks.

Since you’re an entrepreneur interested in creating content, you’ll want to listen to the same podcasts and consume the same articles as the car salesmen and the electricians, right? After all, there are business fundamentals that apply to everyone, don't they? You can just filter out the bits that don’t fit your ideal clients.


stop the digital noiseStop filtering as you listen! There's too much noise in your life already.

Move on immediately when you realize the speaker isn't talking to you. Find someone who is. They're out there and they want to address exactly what you're concerned about.

Good Marketing Advice That’s Not For You

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger’s Chief Content Writer. As part of the company’s brand new podcast network, Demian hosts a show called Rough Draft. Here’s the pitch: “ If you’re a pure writer, and you wonder how you’ll be able to build your own online platform that actually gets seen, this show is your shortcut.”

I’m not exactly sure what a “pure writer” is, but I guess I’m not one of them and I don’t believe the creative entrepreneurs in my circle are either based on the recent episode, “An Idiot-Proof Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Google Loves.

Demian is doing his listeners a great service as he describes the current state of SEO and debunks some of the myths around what’s often seen as a secretive world - if not a downright dark art.

He uses some well-known examples like eHow.com (hint: when the examples someone uses have absolutely nothing in common with your goals, approach, or audience it’s often a sign the advice is not for you).

And then he describes a Google’s engineer’s description of a high quality site comprised of more than twenty questions including:

  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

I know your answer to every one of these questions.

I also know that you wouldn’t consider any answer other than your own to be acceptable - not of you’re going to put your good name on it and expect it to draw in the high caliber prospects that you’ve created a business to serve.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this advice. Until recently, the Web was a Wild West where tricks and gimmicks were just part of doing business. There are many people who need to hear Demian's info  - including some conscientious, hard-working business people led astray by nefarious SEO “experts” who profited off of link farms and other low quality sites.

But since you’ve never considered buying content from a low value, low cost supplier and since you always strive to write pieces that are worthy of publication in a magazine your audience loves and trusts, why would you listen to this kind of advice (other than to feel superior to the swindlers and the nice guys who were duped)?

What Sort of Marketing & Business Advice Does Apply to the Creative Entrepreneur?

Who is your ideal marketing and business resource? The cop out answer is also the truest answer: “you’ll know 'em when you hear 'em.”

Develop your own powers of discernment and perfect your own filters so you can identify when an expert deserves your time and attention.

In order to have that kind of discernment you need to be clear on your own identity in the marketplace as well your own goals and needs. Know your own creative entrepreneur’s autobiography and what brought you to where you are now as a business owner and as an individual.

If you’ve never done business as usual, don’t judge your past or plot your future with one size fits all business advice.

If you were a vegetarian you wouldn't buy the #1 best selling guide to cooking spare ribs. As a creative entrepreneur with a storyteller's soul, don't get bogged down by advice for people who've tried to scam their way onto their audience's computer screens.

When you know and own your own entrepreneurial story you’ll become more comfortable with clicking away and searching out a more relevant resource when someone is blazing a path through “doesn’t apply to me" territory.

Don't Judge an Expert By One Piece of Content

Even if there's a seemingly limitless supply of marketing resources out there, you don't want to abandon relevant thought leaders because every statement isn't customized to your exact interests.

Without singling out Demian Farnworth too much, I want to be clear that I have listened to each episode of his new show and have found some great information mixed in with the stuff that doesn't need to be on my radar. In a previous Rough Draft episode on keyword research, Demian asks:

Will anyone read the online content you produce?

It’s a terrifying question, but an important one. If you’re committed to building a popular and profitable site, you’ll have to write, read, and talk about your topic almost every day for the next several years. You’ll invest thousands of hours, quite literally gambling with your time.

The question is, how will you approach it? Will you start writing and hope someone notices you? Or will you carefully research your niche, looking for the precise angle and language that will make your content irresistible?

I recommend the latter.

This statement - though yes, terrifying - speaks to the creative entrepreneur because it’s true of everyone on a quest to build a business through content marketing.

know your tribeAnd yet, he also reminds us of the importance “niche.”  Just as you want to be sure to identify your own niche so you know how to speak to your audience, you want to be just as clear about whether you fit in a content producer's tribe.

Be a magpie, pulling inspiration from across the web, but also be choosy. Be willing to abandon any bit of information that doesn’t contribute to the knowledge base you’re seeking to build.

The Sovereign Standard is a publication that collects multiple perspectives on topics that are relevant to the creative entrepreneur. Subscribe for free here.

And if you're looking for writing help that is honed specifically for the needs of the creative entrepreneur with a storyteller's soul, I invite you to think about how I can help you get your ideas into a post that speaks to your ideal reader and client.

5 Choices You Make Every Time You Write a Post

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. Eleanor RooseveltOne's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt

What? There’s something words can’t do? Yes, thank goodness.

Every writer knows that the most profound aspects of life stretch the limits of language. That’s why we seek out those liminal, wordless spaces. And, because we’re a bit mad, we then return to the desk and try to prove that it’s possible to express the inexpressible.

Regular Voyages To the Space Beyond Words

Four weekends a year I escape my responsibilities as mother, wife, and entrepreneur and I attend class at the Sacred Center Mystery School - my home for personal and spiritual development work. This is where my teacher and mentor first introduced “the goal is to become sovereign in your own reality” - the phrase that has launched my personal and professional quest for sovereignty.

What I absorb at the Sacred Center is folded into what I think Eleanor Roosevelt would call my “philosophy.” I receive teachings that both precede and supercede words. The alchemical process of turning experience into language begins when I get home and the irresistible urge to write takes over.

We explored “choice” during this latest class. I saw my life as a series of spirals and arcs rather than right or left turns. In countless instances from meeting my husband to quitting my job and becoming an entrepreneur, it seemed like life had mostly happened to me.

There was a healing around this for me - now I'm ready to recognize all of the ways "I have a choice" echoes through each day.

After all, I choose every word I write (when autocorrect doesn’t think it’s smarter than me, at least!).

How much will you reveal? You always get to make that choice

dare to know choiceAs part of the Message Discovery and Development Process, a client who wrote her creative entrepreneur’s autobiography went deep into what inspired her to become a healer. She spent a lot of time considering and organizing the story, and was very honest in the telling, but there was a resistance when we discussed what she’d written.

Beyond a doubt, getting to the core of her “why” to understand the origins of the work was worthwhile. And yet, details of her personal trauma and descriptions of the bumps on her road to success clearly weren’t to be included in the story she’d tell on her About page.

It felt too personal. Her professional identity was not enhanced with that level of vulnerability - at least not on this particular page of her website. Plus, the story was long and people were coming to the website for her healing skills, not because they were interested in reading a spiritual memoir.

And so, a three thousand word journey was distilled to three paragraphs and together we decided that she’d focus on what she had learned from her journey: her philosophy of connection and healing.

5 Choices You Can Make Every Time You Write a Post

No one is making you blog for your business or forcing you to write guest posts to boost your visibility. You’re dedicating yourself to a writing practice because you know writing matters to your business.

Once you’ve made the choice to write, there are so many more empowering choices you get to make:

    1. The voice: The basic rule, especially when writing for the web, is “write like you talk.” That’s good advice, but you certainly use a different tone and vocabulary when you’re dishing with girlfriends than when you’re presenting to the school board.Will you be nurturing, professional, something of a smart ass, or somewhere in between?
    2. The form: They say people love list posts, and it’s true that the average internet reader likes to scan through logically organized information. But don’t just shape your writing to fit the bloggers’ advice - write to support your story and the needs of your specific audience.
      Will you break out the old reliable “5 ways to…” or tell a story or present case studies? You always have the option of combining forms (just like this post does).
    3. The reason for writing: You’re writing because you see each blog post as an opportunity to educate, entertain, or inspire. You’re also writing a post to get the reader to do something that betters her life and connects her more deeply to what your brand has to offer. The post needs a clear call to action or CTA. Direct your post to a final “ask.”
      Will you choose to promote a product or program in the last line? Maybe you just want to ask the reader to subscribe to your email list (after all, that is where most sales are eventually made).
    4. The details: As described the healer involved in the Message Discovery Process realized, not every detail of the story has to make it into the post. Some details may be for your eyes only while others may be the seeds of future articles.Once you’ve written the first draft, try to leave it alone for a few days or at least  few hours. When you come back, what extraneous details can you cut and what key ideas can you bring to the fore?
    5. The visuals: As you write, you have the opportunity to choose metaphors that help your reader picture what you’re talking about. Because images are so important to blog posts, you also get to choose the photos and illustrations that will really prove your point (and make the whole blog very “pinnable” and easy to share on social media). How will you make the blog post cohesive - a selection of photos from the same location, a series of related quotes, a handful of drawings that have the same vibe?

I chose to make this a post about expanded consciousness and a healer’s journey into self-awareness and a relevant about page, so I can’t really switch tones and conclude with “you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can pick your friend’s nose.”

But then, I am still feeling invigorated by the power of choice and I can choose to ignore my own well meant advice!

For a weekly collection of inspiration and ideas for the creative entrepreneur, subscribe to the Sovereign Standard where it’s all about setting your own standards (and breaking your own rules as you see fit).

What You'll Gain From a Business Writing Practice (Besides Blog Posts)

If you’re only creating content for content’s sake, you’re missing something important. Yes, every internet savvy creative entrepreneur is supposed to produce regular content for the blog and other online outposts, but there’s more to the writing process than sales pitches and knowledge transmission.

The internet beast is insatiable, and if your only reason for writing a blog post or producing a newsletter is to check another chore off your list, you’ll always be stressed about keeping up.

When your heart isn’t in the words you produce, you’ll never connect to your readers the way you hope. You’ll start to believe that this whole content marketing thing is a racket and that writing on behalf of your business is just a waste of time.

To remain true to your creative business vision and to keep your personal equilibrium, you must get more out of the writing-for-your-business process than “I got it done.”

Expect Your Writing to Give Back to You

Cheer up! You can expect your writing to give back to you.Good, consistent content supported by a smart, sustained online sharing strategy will build your business because that’s plain good marketing. But, if you expect more from your writing practice, you’ll receive even more in return.

5 Unexpected Benefits of a Writing-For-Your-Business Practice

  1. The writing process reconnects you with your “why” and helps you go deeper into the mission of your company and the meaning of your work. There’s no better way to stay true to the entrepreneurial adventure than through the personal exploration and public declarations that are inherent to this new art of online writing.
  2. If your mission is at the core of your business, writing also helps you explore the outer edges of the work. Drafting into “what if…?” style questions will reveal new possibilities and directions.
  3. 5 Unexpected Benefits of a Writing-For-Your-Business PracticeYou are able to speak more fluently about your work and what you have to offer in any setting - at an in-person networking event or in an online exchange where it’s appropriate to talk about how your company can help solve a problem
  4. For all that you may identify as a “creative” it can be easy to lose track of your creator’s mojo due to the demands of entrepreneurship. Writing is your chance to stoke the fires of your creativity while still remaining engaged in your business.
  5. When you start telling your business’s stories you’ll find yourself uncovering new aspects of your own story. Even if you don’t reveal everything in the public narrative, this sort of personal insight is invaluable and the essence of true success.

But Sometimes, the Writing is Still a Struggle

This post ended up being a killer to write.

I have a long term business project on my mind, my schedule is thrown off due to the snow, and life just wants my attention to be elsewhere.

Writing about how wonderful it is to write for your business seemed disingenuous as I had just peeled a crying baby from around my neck, thrust her into my husband’s arms, and growled “please, I just have to get these damn ideas on paper and then I will make dinner!”

This post ended up being the greatest test of my authenticity and my alignment to my own mission.

After a few false starts, I scrapped my original idea and wrote into the pain and frustration of having to write in the first place. I railed a bit against the content creation imperative and my own self-imposed editorial calendar. I ranted about how hard all this was and how thankless it all felt.

Most of what I wrote was garbage and only a few phrases will appear here in the final draft, but in that for-my-eyes-only scribbling, I caught a glimpse of why I’m doing all this.

As much as I kept saying I felt guilty for abandoning my teething babe and for admitting that I didn’t want to hear my kindergartener practice whistling any more, I needed the break. Only the “mama just has to get some writing done” announcement would secure me passage to the quiet oasis on the other side of my office door.

The writing practice is a demanding one, but it's all the sweeter for the sweat it occasionally demands. I see the greater worth in the process and only by walking through its fires can I emerge on the other side, honestly able to tell you that you can stand the heat and you will create something important.

Is Your Business Sustainable? Your Writing Practice May Reveal the Truth

I wrote myself out of my fevered angst and ended up feeling better when I took my own medicine, but what if writing for your business never seems to get easier or offers up the fringe benefits I describe above?

You deserve (and need!) a business that you can maintain. It may not all be effortless, but, ideally, your work only requires the smallest degree of push and strain. Content marketing (ie. blog writing, podcast production, YouTubing) is key for anyone who wants to drum up business online and it will take up a portion of your workweek when you’re taking it seriously.

If you feel like writing for your business is a constant “<sigh>, if I must,” something is wrong. This sort of resigned martyrdom will come through what you write and you’ll never get the results you hope for.

I’d love to help you through this struggle. Contact me and we’ll set up a brief chat to clear away some of your writer’s blocks and come up with a few solutions so you get more than just a blog post out of your next writing session.