You have a deadline coming up. It might be for a blog post, an article, or even a book. Unfortunately you have that dreaded disease of what they call writer’s block. You have a topic, but you have no idea about how to present it.
No worries. Writing doesn’t have to be hard. Writing is really just about applying a template and filling in the blanks. Here are 10 great ways that you can apply to just about any topic and get your writing done quickly and easily.
1. How-To TutorialThis is the classic “how-to” tutorial. It is organized in a systematic, step-by-step approach to accomplishing a task. The steps are most commonly organized in chronological order (i.e. Step One is…, Step Two is…, etc.). These are generally known as “systems”, “formulas”, “checklists” or “blueprints”.
2. Frequently Asked Questions.Another style is what I call “frequently asked questions”. In this model, you would take 10-20 of the most asked questions about a particular topic and answer them in your content. This is one of the easiest writings to create because outlining is simple due to the Q&A style:
- List the question.
- Answer it.
3. InterviewMoving from questions that you answer to questions that someone else answers is another way to write. An “interview” is, not surprisingly, a series of questions that you pose to one or more qualified experts to create your content. (Reasons why experts would do this for you include: free publicity for their web site or business, rights to the completed report or paid compensation.)
4. ListAnother writing template is what I’ve labeled the “list”. It is simply a listing of ways, strategies, tips, secrets, tactics, techniques, habits, exercises, principles, etc. with a detailed description of each entry to the list.
5. Case StudyNext is the “case study” model. This would consist of you profiling different successful examples of accomplishing a common task. In other words, you’d show how several different people (including or not including yourself) have achieved the desired result. The great thing about this style of writing is the variety of different methods people use in attaining similar results. Your readers will likely “connect” with one or more of the examples and get a sense of motivation and empowerment to reach their goal as well. Bottom line: you’ve got a satisfied reader.
6. Resource DirectoryNext is the “resource directory”. With this you include a group of related entries of resources (usually indexed categorically and then alphabetically), along with their contact information such as web site, phone number and or mailing/physical address. You might think of a campground directory or a listing of hotels that a certain niche might enjoy.
7. Idea GeneratorsUp next we have the “idea generators.” This particular style of template is a best described as “a series of prompts to help the reader brainstorm ideas”.
Here are a few different examples:
- Idea Prompts for Fiction Writers
- 75 Starter Questions for Small Group Discussion
- 97 Winning Ad Headlines For Your Sales Letter Swipe File
- 101 Best Prayer Starters For New Christians
- 101 Fill-In-The-Blank Internet Auction Templates
- The Ultimate Book of Ideas for Home-Schoolers
8. The First YearUp next is what I’ve labeled “the first year”. In this kind of template, you’d walk a newcomer through the first 12 months of a particular endeavor. What beginner standing on the threshold of something completely new to them wouldn’t want the wisdom of what to expect and how to successfully navigate through the foundation period?
You could chronicle the first year with a calendar of milestones and guideposts, pitfalls to avoid, shortcuts to take and so forth. Some examples are:
- The First Year of Parenting
- The First Year of Home-schooling
- The First Year of College
- The First Year of Internet Business
- The First Year of Life After Loss of Loved One
- The First Year of Teaching
- The First Year of Youth Ministry
- The First Year of Living With M.S.
9. Niche BusinessOne of the biggest mistakes that most “Internet marketers” make is trying to create information products to sell to other Internet marketers. It’s a cycle that just loops over and over again. Fortunately for you, while everyone else is competing with each other, you have an opportunity to teach “niches” how to market. Instead of selling marketing information to other marketers, teach niche business owners how to market. All business owners, regardless of what their business is, need more customers.
Note: What’s interesting about this “kind” of small report is the fact that you can make a few changes and “niche it” for numerous different topics (i.e. “Bookstore Owner’s Guide to Marketing”, “Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Marketing”, “Hair Salon Owner’s Guide to Marketing”, etc.).
Some examples are:
- The Christian Bookstore Owner’s Guide To Marketing
- The Pet Store Owner’s Guide To Marketing
- The Personal Trainer’s Guide To Getting More Clients
- How To Quickly And Easily Get More Real Estate Referrals
- A Crash Course In Free Publicity For Independent Singers
- A 10-Day Plan For Promoting Your Craft Show
10. The BridgeI’ve labeled this kind of writing “the bridge”. The idea is to combine two unrelated topics into one small report. Think of it this way: there are universal wants and needs (i.e. To lose weight and get in shape) that are applicable to virtually all markets. Most people want to make more money, be successful, live happily, have great relationships, etc. These are universal pursuits. The idea here is to bring those universal pursuits into the arena of your specific field of interest or expertise.
Some examples are:
- Time Management For Single Parents
- The Internet Marketer’s Diet
- The Educator’s Guide to Becoming A High-Paid Public Speaker
- Success Secrets For Small Business Owners
- The Home-Schoolers Guide To Working At Home
(Photo credit: Man Using Laptop with Lightbulb via Shutterstock)
For 20 years, Michael Martel was a Green Beret in the US Army. He now works with people to put Special Forces like effectiveness into their lives and businesses. Go to Achieve The Green Beret Way and learn about his book Get ER Done: The Green Beret Guide to Productivity and other tools for achieving outstanding results.