Writing from Templates

One of the many, many great things about the Internet is the way nearly everything is available to imitate. In this case, it’s finding an existing version of a document, copying it and using that as a template for your own information. It saves a lot of time when you really just need boilerplate information, like a financial chart where you fill in the relevant figures – you don’t have to create the chart and put the numbers in place.

A quick Google search on nearly anything followed by the word “template” will do the trick. In the case of a contract, or something else legally binding, don’t forget that while someone else used the words first, the document will represent you – so read it carefully! It’s easy to take it for granted if you just copy and then find-and-replace the relevant terms.

I write this as I’m putting together my own templates for an upcoming project. I’m sure they’ll have to be updated as the project progresses, but using a pre-made template saves me time now. I will post my templates once they’re in good condition; you take from the Internet, and you give to the Internet.

Writing In Many Ways

People who aren’t writers (and a lot of writers too, I’ll venture to say) think of novels, blog posts or maybe PR pieces when they think about writing at all. Of course, there’s hundreds of other things to write, from advertising copy to poems and screenplays. Entire companies – and the occasional series here on this blog – are about just that subject.

But it’s up to the writer to bring that up to their clients. A writer may be hired to put together one particular piece, like a report or a presentation. When the writer sees other opportunities related to that, call them out! For example, a writer creating a marketing blurb for a new product can also: write the wording on the product itself, compose an email where the marketing blurb is attached and blog about the product (and blog about being the blogger on the product – there’s always a need for more content online).

Once a writer has a “foot in the door” with a client, it’s usually easy to see other places where a good writer and editor can help. The writer will often have to point that out themselves, though; if the client knew what to look for in a piece of writing, the professional writer wouldn’t be needed.

Marketing Techniques

As I explore several different job options while keeping my writing life active, I’ve noticed one thing – there’s a lot of sales involved. It may not actually be called sales… it’s better to present it as helping people make good choices to help themselves and their families. But when you actually look, the task is to encourage people to pay for a product or service: sales.

The second step in the sales process (the first is figuring out your market, but that’s fairly easy, given demographics readily available online) is actually introducing yourself to potential customers. That’s where the writing comes in: I think it’s fair to say most people aren’t great at off-the-cuff conversation trying to get to a specific goal. A writer puts together a script, and while it doesn’t have to be memorized word-for-word (and shouldn’t; that sounds robotic), it often gives a guideline on how to start a conversation and what to do when certain common responses come back from the customer.

The simplest script is probably something like, “Hello, I’m (name) from (company). I’d like to take just a moment of your time to talk with you about (company’s service). It (achieves some goal relevant to potential client). Is there a time I could stop by and introduce myself and (my company/service)? How does Thursday morning look?”

If someone isn’t interested in talking with you, you’ll know without having to do anything more involved. If they want to learn more, you’ve already suggested a time to meet – it’s on their end to say no.