Content writers are like detectives. We follow a process to uncover a story. Then we report on what we’ve learned.
The POWER acronym describes the process well: Plan, Organize, Write, Evaluate, Revise. I follow it every time I write.
Plan Your Writing
You ask a bunch of questions during the planning phase of the writing process, as if you’re a detective.
Once I had to write about a bioinformatics product. I didn’t know anything about biochemistry or statistics. So I asked my brother the biochemist, what does nominalization mean? He drew a picture to explain the process. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I then had an image that would help me write all those words.
Organize Your Thoughts
I didn’t stop with one subject matter expert (SME), though. I talked with other SMEs to understand the product better. I also read as much as I could to learn about the audience, company, industry, and to define the terms I would be working with.
When I had enough information, I started working on an outline.
You don’t always have to create a formal outline. But you do have to spend some time thinking about how all the pieces fit together. You can think while sitting at your work table, going for a walk, talking to your dog, or doodling a mind map.
Write About What You Know
Most people say to write fast. While writing, you don’t worry about details like grammar, spelling, or word usage. You just write.
Writing will also help you think and organize your material. As William Zinsser says in Writing to Learn,
Writing is thinking on paper. Anyone who thinks clearly should be able to write clearly—about any subject at all.
Evaluate and Edit Your Work
I think it’s important to separate writing from evaluating, editing, and revising. Otherwise, you may never finish a writing assignment.
The other reason is so you can objectively criticize your work.
So take a moment to read your words out loud. Then ask yourself, what is the point of this blog post or article?
Next, see if your content flows logically from the beginning through to the end. You may have to adjust your outline at this stage, even give up on some of your ideas.
Then, it’s time to start editing the details by getting rid of unnecessary words and correcting grammar.
Revise Your Work
Finally, you enter changes during the revision phase. Read your content backwards to make sure there are no typos. Then you’re ready to publish your work and move on.
I’m still not a biochemist or a statistician. All I know is content writing is a communication skill. Whenever you exercise that skill, remember the POWER process: Plan, Organize, Write, Evaluate, Revise.
You might also like: How to Organize Your Thoughts So You Can Write a Blog Post and How to Plan Your Blog Posts before You Write Them.