A "sneaky trick" that will speed up your writing and make it better
👉 a little bit of work in advance pays dividends
Here's a simple tip to be more productive with your newsletter writing while also making it better:
Write in “series”
Writing in series simply means picking a big topic and exploring it in multiple emails sequentially, rather than jumping from topic to topic or trying to cram everything into one email.
It’s a technique I use a lot
For example, a while back I wrote a series about creating a "life friendly" business. The first email listed 4 factors you need to have in place and then I wrote 3 or 4 emails about each factor.
About 15 emails in total, all from 1 idea.
Writing in series like this does two things which make you a lot more productive.
Firstly, it restricts you. And that helps.
Having a completely blank sheet of paper to start from is hard work. Your brain flits from idea to idea, never settling. Knowing you have to write about creative productivity or sales meetings or giving feedback gets you focused faster.
And if you know your topic in advance your subconscious can be working away coming up with ideas long before you have to put pen to paper.
Secondly, it provides continuity between emails.
It means that ideas you have while writing one email or post can trigger ideas for the next. Often just rereading the previous "episode" can trigger ideas for the current one.
And knowing your next email or post is going to be on the same topic helps you avoid the temptation of overstuffing each newsletter with too many ideas and confusing your reader. You can just put those ideas into the next email or post in the series.
Writing in series is also better for your readers.
When each email builds on the last they can compound their learning each time. If you flit from topic to topic the lessons don’t reinforce each other. And if everything is crammed into one giant newsletter it’s just too overwhelming to take much in.
We learn better when a key message is repeated, and we see it from different angles. And sometimes we just don’t “get” a new concept until it’s explained in a slightly different way. Your readers get that from a series.
Writing in series help from a marketing perspective too
That compounding effect is good for you too. In addition to your readers’ learning compounding, your credibility does too.
Write one good idea on a topic and people think “that’s a good idea”. Write 5 in a row and they think “he knows this stuff”.
What's the best way to get started with a series?
It depends on the way you and your brain work.
If you’re a planner and like to prepare in advance, a good way to do it is to start with an idea for a listicle (as per last month’s template). Instead of writing a few sentences about each item in the list in one email, turn each item into a short email in its own right.
If you’re a “seat of the pants” person and like to do things spontaneously, just announce it.
Tell your readers you're going to write a series on a specific topic. That forces you to get on and do it.
No need to think of all the ideas first. They'll come.
Pick a topic, and at the end of your next email (for example) add a PS saying you're going to be writing a series of emails on that topic next.
Or if you’ve written an email on a certain topic and on reflection feel you could expand it further, just add a PS saying you’ll be writing more on that topic in your next few emails.
And you're off and running!
My suggestion is to start with your very next email. Or at the least get started within a week.
Writing in series is one of those things that you can put off forever, worrying whether you’ll be able to do it.
But when you try it, you’ll find it can often be easier than writing one-off emails.
So grit your teeth, gird your loins, and commit to it.
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