Writing is a creative process. Every client gets a different end result and pays you accordingly for your time. At least, that’s what we like to think. But the truth of the matter is that some certain types of writing can look very similar from client to client. You could even create a template for such pieces and at least start with filling in the blanks.
A good example is a press release. When a client comes to me, asking me to write a press release, I’ve got a form that I ask him to fill out. A lot of it is basic organizational information and standard details I need to know in order to create the press release. But each line on that form corresponds to a line in my press release template. When I get the information back from my client, I just plug it in to the template.
Of course, that doesn’t make for a great press release and I would never send a client a fill-in-the-blank press release. But it gives me a starting point that lets me get my work done a lot faster than starting from scratch each time. It’s like a very detailed outline — you know that you’re going to have to move stuff around, but you know everything you want to get across and you have a general line of thought you want to follow.
There are plenty of opportunities to use this sort of template as a starting point:
- Marketing letters
- Some blog posts (like big lists)
I can even think of a way to turn a template into a marketing tool: release it to your customers, free of charge and then let them see why just filling in the blanks doesn’t result in a solid piece of writing. They’ll see that they need you to take their project to the next level. Of course, you’d need to refine the strategy a bit for specific customer bases, bust as templated marketing method, it’s not too bad.
Are there any other ways that you may use templates to speed up your writing? Or have you used templates in other ways to build your business?