Write – Revise – Repeat

By on Jul 26, 2013 in Articles

Have the courage to write

Have the courage to write

Something that I found quite hard to come to terms with as a beginner writer was the fact that, for the most part, when I read over my first draft, I cringed. I would then revise and revise and revise, all the while wishing I was at least half as good as those great writers I hold in such high esteem. Then I learned: that’s what they do, too.

Are you a writer?

There are two kinds of people in the world: writers, and everybody else. Writers pore over their words, touching up, tweaking, going back, removing whole sentences (putting whole sentences back), and then doing the entire exercise over again… and again. (If you do this, consider yourself a writer – even if you are, as yet, unpublished). Everybody else thinks that the way you write the first time is the only way a thing can be said – save for, perhaps, some grammar and spelling corrections. It’s not true. Mr Hemingway made it quite clear that he agrees.

One of the things that makes a difference to your online marketing is well-written, rich content. Without it, you will not achieve the results you need. There really is no point in spending money on a website that is not going to get any traffic to it, yet that seems to be a common complaint of many new clients when we first meet with them. They’ve been down this road. They’ve paid good money after bad. They’ve seen no results from their investment. What will we do differently?

Why does it matter?

It matters because online marketing is supposed to earn you money. One of the reasons for a lack of return on your investment could well be that, with a bit of internet savvy it’s relatively easy to set up a ‘web design’ business. However, not knowing what makes internet marketing tick will land those businesses in trouble with their clients, who are hoping to have their website earn money.

These sites fail to achieve their goals because of a fundamental misunderstanding about how the internet works. From a content point of view, the ‘writer’ has probably written the words that say the things and then stuck them into the pages that have the label they match. It even sounds clumsy.

Do you have what it takes?

So here’s the thing: Have the courage to write badly; it’s better than not writing at all. BUT, and this is important, realise that, as the esteemed Mr Hemingway so rightly said,

“The first draft of anything is shit.”

When you have written what you want to say, leave it for an hour – or a day – and then go back and read it. Revise and re-write the bits that sound clumsy or ambiguous, or that don’t mean anything at all, and then do it again. If you find nothing wrong with it, ask for someone else’s opinion.

If you think all of the above sounds like too much work, well then, you need a writer. Call someone who has the time, and the inclination, to write that first draft and then carefully craft it into compelling, engaging, rich content that will draw your customers to you and earn their trust. When you apply a love of language to the message you want to convey, your site will start to earn its keep.

(I was trying to keep a tally of the changes I made to my original draft, but I’ve lost count.)

Jane Hendry is Writer-in-Chief for aXent Associates. Her passion for education has led her to home school her children, and she reads voraciously to quench her own insatiable thirst for knowledge. Follow Jane on Twitter or Google+. Visit her blog to read about content marketing and life-long learning.

Great content writing, combined with a marketing strategy based on decades of online marketing success form the foundation of a potent relationship marketing plan.