Templated Writing: One Way to Speed Up Your Writing

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:

  • Resumes
  • 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?

6 Comments

  1. I don’t necessarily use templates but over the months my blog posts have begun to take a certain shape. I usually have a rough idea on how I want to break-up sections, how much I want to describe in each, and where I want to place pictures and quotes.

    Great read – very cool to read about writing from a professional perspective.

  2. thursday   •     Author

    @Steven, I think that having even a rough idea going in can make the process of writing a post significantly easier. Have you tried creating a template post to work off of? It may make a difference in how long it takes you to create a post if you already have “Photo goes here!” in place.

  3. Pingback: Weekend Reading – February 7, 2010 | All Freelance Writing

  4. JHaynesWriter   •  

    Thursday, I’ve been scouring the Web for templates for freelance writers, mostly to see what other writers are up to with their writing processes and to be a more efficient writer in general.

    I’ve wanted to release templates to clients for free to promote my authority, but I hadn’t thought about it the way you described the potential marketing tactic. It would be a good follow-through to offer a workbook (ebook I’d say) that takes the fill-in-the-blanks to completion and show off the sweat of the writing process. Sure, some clients would be doing it themselves but I think they’d see the trade-off in time.

    Whether the time it takes to prepare and promote that material is worth it I’m unsure but you gave me plenty to think on!

  5. thursday   •     Author

    @JHaynes, I’ve found a varying level of templates out there, in terms of marketing materials… including a few that try to make writing something like a press release seem harder than in actually is. I don’t think it’s necessary to make it seem harder, though — it’s been my experience that when you sit down a client and try to get them to write for an hour, many will be frustrated by the process just because they don’t spend nearly as much time writing as we do!

  6. Spunky Jones SEO   •  

    When I first started to blog, I didn’t use any type of template. After a few months I started using one for guidelines to get me on track. They are a great tool for the beginner blogger and something we all should refer to because it helps to keep us on track.

    When I first started blogging, I thought I won’t ever be able to write blog article over 500 words. Here it is, two years later and it is easy to write such posts.

    However, writing larger posts, is harder to keep things in order without repeating things over.

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