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Rocking Writing and Content Generation with Rockstart Amsterdam

I spent most of my Thursday last week at Rockstart. They invited me in as a writing and content generation expert to spend 30 mins each with a few of their entrepreneurs. This is a concept Rockstart use a lot, getting all types of experts in, and I can see why.

It’s also something I think more businesses should take seriously and that I am more than willing to help with.

A large percentage of Start-ups and innovative businesses are in the digital world. And once you are there, being online and thinking about SEO and therefore content generation are logical, unavoidable next steps. And of course, not everyone who comes up with a great new business idea also happens to be a kick-ass writer.

I met 8 fascinating people with 8 great new businesses during my short stay. 30 minutes was not a huge amount of time to get to grips with all the issues these entrepreneurs face, but it was enough time to share some tools, approaches and tried and tested methods to help them improve their writing… they are still going to have to put in some hard work to acquire those things as habits, make plans and put this all into action.

Most of the entrepreneurs who booked a 30-minute slot needed help around the writing they needed to do or were doing for their digital platforms: apps, social media, websites. But some also needed help with more direct communications tools: press releases, newsletters, emails. And one woman wanted to know more about writing novels. That was seriously different and loads of fun.

Even though these were diverse business (insurance, partying, cheap energy, wine) a lot of the advice was quite similar. Here’s a summary:

1) Good content for your business doesn’t just happen. You need to plan for it, think about it in advance and have a schedule for content ideas, generation, and publishing.
2) As a writer, you need to reserve part of your most effective time of day for writing. Rinse, repeat. You will get better the more you do it.
3) Good content and publishing it regularly can be the difference between your business looking alive and interesting and looking half dead and not worth bothering with: for potential clients, funders, media… everyone.
4) When planning to write, think about your readers, not yourself.
5) Structure your writing. Google’s SEO updates love natural writing, so don’t overload with jargon and keywords… make it a flowing story
6) Readers have many sources of information: your needs to do what it says it does: show your info fast and clear. Use effective keywords in your titles and sub titles and make sure your first paragraph has useable, useful, clear information in it.
7) Write clearly: this is not literature. No-one will spend time unraveling your dazzlingly complex language use. Readers want info, remove everything that might hide it in your writing.

The conclusions?

  • You NEED useful content for your business in the modern world
  • It’s not that hard to create good content, but you need rhythm, practice, focus, planning, and discipline.
  • If you’re not a writer, find one to do it for you. Don’t waste your precious time as a subject matter expert trying to do something that’s not your core business.
  • HOW you say what you say is as important as WHAT you say
  • WHERE you say it on your site is just as important!
  • If you’re writing in English, write actively and clearly. Potential clients want to understand what you are saying FAST and easily. Don’t make it hard for them.

Following this advice will make your content stronger, easier to read and more effective. But if you really want to improve your content generating skills, get in touch and book a session with me to see for yourself.


Contributing author David Chislett is a writing and content generation expert who operates at the intersection of entrepreneurship, creativity, and communications. An established speaker and trainer, Chislett has a long track record in activating creativity, training business English, leadership & soft business skills and business skills for artists. Last week, Chislett met with eight start-ups at Rockstart to provide them with writing training for their digital platforms. This is a republished piece from August 21st, 2017.


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