Leaving behind the ghosts from your past, you now understand why it’s vitally important to the success of your website, and more especially your budget, to hammer out your content as a first step. You’ve committed to it, because you don’t want to fall victim to the swelling and ungainly budget that comes from procrastinating this step. Unfortunately, having decided to leave the ghosts of your past behind, you still find yourself looking with a mounting despair at the blinking cursor at the top of a blank document on your computer. Where do you start? There are so many things that delight you about your business—things you’d love to share with the world if only they weren’t pent up in your head and heart with no way to make it into the document. It’s as if there’s a cinderblock wall between what you know and feel, and what you can express. You haltingly tap out a sentence only to read it over, know that it doesn’t do justice to what you feel, punch and hold down the delete key and watch with dismal fascination as the sentence eats itself and returns to oblivion. Back to square one.

Perhaps it's time to try step #1 of our our quick and dirty three-step method and watch your thoughts and feelings about your business take shape on screen, grow and blossom, and then marvel as you prune them back into an explanation that’s smart, fresh, and rings true to the depth of your delight in your business.

  • Fill up a Google Doc with a list of questions that you want your audience to know the answers to. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some lame list of supposedly “frequently asked questions” that nobody’s actually asked before, ever. No, the questions you write down now you’re going to ditch in later steps, however it’s important to put them down in a Google Doc at this stage. And where you put them down is important. Forget about Microsoft Word and don’t even bother with a pad of paper and a pencil. A pencil may get your fingers dirty with graphite, but it’s not nearly quick enough for the drafting phase you’re about to enter. If you don’t have a Google account, go ahead and get one at accounts.google.com and start a new blank document in docs.google.com.
  • In this document, you’re going to take just two minutes to brainstorm all the questions you want your website to answer. You know best what questions you want answered, but they’ll be fairly predictable, like these: “What do we do?” “Why do we do it?” “How do we do it differently than other companies?” “Why should the people coming to our website give us their business?” There’s nothing all that special about these questions, but you need to get them down in your document. Put each on its own line of your document with one or two lines in between each. Don’t take longer than two minutes, and don’t stress about how these questions are phrased. Remember, the questions themselves are never going to be seen by anyone but you.

That’s it! You’ve just finished the first crucial step to our three-step Quick and Dirty method, and assuming you already had a Google account, it only took you two minutes to do.

Now, don’t roll your eyes at the simplicity of what you’ve just accomplished. You’ve done more than you think. In our opinion, the hardest part of writing is starting. It’s breaking into the immense void of a blank page. And even though absolutely none of what you’ve just tapped out will make it to the final document, you’ve already filled up that first page and broken it into more manageable chunks.

You’ll learn step #2 of our quick and dirty method for answering these questions in our next installment, and don’t worry about it again until then. Simply let these questions bounce around in the back of your mind for a few days, and when it comes time to answer them it’ll be easier than you’d imagine.

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