In an earlier article I talked with you about picking a topic for your information product. The next step is to prepare to write. I tend to think first in terms of print; but whether or not your final product will include a print workbook or similar piece, you still want to spend time identifying the content to include in this product. The work you do in this step may become a book or workbook. It may become the outline for your scripts for audio or video files.
- Look over the brainstorming you did earlier. Organize the details into more global topics. Reflect on your potential customer and how much she already knows about the overall topic.
- Decide how many points/steps you want to address. Is this going to be a global product that covers several topics lightly (how to start a new business) or an in depth treatment of a single topic (elements of successful networking).
- Decide if you have enough information on each point/step; if necessary do additional research. This is also a good time to think about any special design work you may need to have done. Is there a graphic figure that you use to illustrate your process that you have sketched yourself in the past but would be more effective if done by a designer?
- Identify or develop good stories or case studies to go with each point. These can be used in a couple of ways. One way is to incorporate the work you did with a specific client into the narrative of your chapter. Another way is to place a testimonial by a client in the margin or at the end of the chapter.
- Determine what supplemental materials you want to include:
- Work sheets, exercises, checklists, articles, templates – depending on your topics, any or all of these supplemental materials may make your information product more effective.
Now that you have completed transforming your brainstorming, start writing your main chapters. Have patience with yourself. As Stephen King says, writing comes one word at a time, just as walking comes one step at a time. As long as you keep your customer in mind while writing those words you are on your way to creating an extraordinary product.
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“When asked, ‘How do you write?’
I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’”
– Stephen King