As I've mentioned before, I write lots of newsletters. Which means I write lots of articles. I thought I would share my proven method with you, but you have to promise:
1. Not to deviate from my system.
and 2. Not to tell my clients that my job is so easy a trained monkey could do it. Though I doubt that their punctuation would be as good as mine.
Ok. If you are still reading, I will take that as agreement. So here we go.
Step one: Read the assignment carefully. Here is a creative brief from an actual client: "Need a 500 word article on back to school."
Step two: Try to figure out what the client means. In this case, the client was a financial institution. So I figured I would talk about back-to-school loans, credit cards, saving money on school supplies, that kind of thing.
Step three: Do some research. Look at the client's website for information on relevant products and services. Google "popular school supplies" and discover that there is a new iPod Shuffle that all the kids are talking about. Go to the iPod website for pricing information, download 25 free apps for your iPhone, spend 6 hours playing Super Monkey Ball, and call it a night.
Step four: Wait until 5 minutes before the article is due. Then sit down with your laptop and follow my method.
30 seconds - Write a headline.
30 seconds - Write some subheads to organize your information.
3 1/2 minutes - Pretend you are the world's leading expert on "back to school." Write off the top of your head, as if you were telling a friend how the wonderful products and services at XYZ Financial can help them save time and money. Wrap it up at the end with a simple call to action.
30 seconds - Proofread.
Now for the fun part. Send your first draft to the client and watch the accolades pour in:
"Sorry. We have changed our minds. Please send 500 word article on auto loans."
30 seconds - Stare at computer screen.
30 seconds - Bang head against wall.
3 1/2 minutes - Count to ten until breathing becomes slow and regular.
30 seconds - Rummage in pantry for Little Debbie Zebra Cakes.
Go back to Step 1 and become the world's leading expert on auto loans.
Anybody know of a trained monkey I could borrow?