An Idea…and a Blank Page, Part I

It always seems that so many people want to write a book. In fact, it’s regarded to be one of the most common items on peoples’ “bucket lists.” The reasons why will often vary, but more often than not, the purpose is tied to business. Many people want to write a book in order to advance their business or careers (hence my previous mentions of late on the growing popularity of Content Marketing).

Obviously, a book with your byline is a great way to introduce yourself to business prospects, which can lead to greater sales. Or it can be a great way simply to advance your career by leveraging it to meet new prospective employers.

Since I have written a couple books, and having published myself as well as having been commercially published—I have had more than a few people ask me about the process. To many, it appears a daunting task.

A couple years ago, a financial advisor who was highly knowledgeable about 401(k)s asked me for my advice on how he might write a book that he had on his mind for some time. Yet he professed to not be a writer, nor did he have the resources to simply hire the process out to a ghost writer.

All he had was an idea…and a blank page.

Isn’t that where most of us begin in the first place? For too many people, it’s where they stop. The blank page comes to represent a brick wall that holds them back indefinitely.

The challenge here is not just “filling” the page…it’s filling it with quality content that will engage and serve people. If you don’t produce quality content, you produce mere filler instead. That not only fails to engage people, it also hurts you and your credibility.

Between this and my next article, I am going to introduce a fairly simple, step-by-step approach to creating quality content, whether it is for a book or any other information product that you wish to use to advance your business or career. For now, I am going to start with giving you the three most important ingredients. These are the elements that you MUST have to start out.

First, as did the financial advisor, you must have an idea. In this context, you must have a clear objective of what you want to write about, and what purpose that content will serve. How will it help people? Why will prospects want to read what you have to say?

Second, you must have genuine knowledge and expertise on the topic you want to write about. That typically comes with at least a couple years of real solid experience…experience from which you can share your stories and examples.

Third, you must be truly passionate about your subject. I am talking about the kind of passion that “gets you started,” when asked about it in a casual social gathering! To be recognized as an expert on any topic, you must have passion.

There you have it. The top three ingredients to creating quality content. Notice I did not include “writing ability.” I know that writing is a skill that not everyone has—and I will get to that issue and address it directly in the article to come.

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