Why Your Past Writing Is Even More Important Now
CEO, GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP
If you're an executive coach, self-help expert, blogger, or "influencer" of any kind, the amount of content you need to create to keep an audience engaged over time can be daunting. Thought leaders in any space are generally expected to have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, and LinkedIn or Instagram, as well as a wealth of experience writing articles or blogging on their own sites. On top of that, many people who have already created tons of content are at the stage where their first book, or their next book, is a priority.
So how do you keep track of all of that writing? The best way is to keep an inventory of all of your content. That could look as elaborate as a spreadsheet of titles, links, and snippets of content organized by topic, or as simple as file folder on your computer for each week/month/year of content. Even if it seems like a tedious or unnecessary task, keeping track of everything you've written in the past can have major benefits for your brand, not to mention your sanity.
Credentials at the Ready
Have you ever been in conversation with a potential client or someone who could open an opportunity for you and thought, "I'd love to show them what I wrote about ..." If you've been writing for a long time, it could be easy to remember a portion of what you wrote, but you may not remember when you wrote it or the title of the piece. If you keep an easy-to-access inventory, you can find and share your work at the drop of a hat.
If you haven't already, set aside time to compile all of the pieces you've written for your own work or shared with others, and save the links or documents in an easy-to-find place on your computer. If you use programs like Dropbox, you can share your work even more quickly from your phone when an opportunity arises.
Backup In Case of Overhaul or Emergency
Is your website due for a revamp? Is there a glitch that's going to require a lot of adjustments? If the hub of your platform is your website, and that's where you store most of your content, you could be at risk of losing it all if something goes awry. Some thought leaders have years and years of content that could disappear at the push of a button, so it's best to have all of it stored in a separate location (or two).
Whether you're planning to reconstruct a site or you're simply thinking ahead, make sure that all of your writing, metadata, URLs, and related information are stored somewhere other than the site itself. If you've been maintaining a website for a long time and haven't backed anything up yet, it may be cumbersome to file everything in a spreadsheet. Programs like DYNO Mapper can help expedite the process and keep your information safe.
Building Blocks for New Writing
There are times when every thought leader is at a loss for new ideas, which can be problematic when you're maintaining a consistent blog, writing on a deadline, or pursuing a new, large-scale project. When you're stuck in a rut, it's great to have an inventory of your previous content to peruse and see what ideas you touched on but didn't explore, what information should be updated for your audience, or how several of your articles form a larger vision. It's often the case that you're not out of ideas. Your old ideas just need to evolve.
The next time you have writer's block, look back through your old content and see what could be tweaked for a new purpose. Look for forgotten ideas that get your wheels turning again, and don't be afraid to break long-form content into smaller chunks for social media posts and other quick sharing. If your goal is a book, experiment with stringing together a few of your blog posts to form an overarching theme. It takes some time and effort to transform a blog into a book, but the task will seem much less daunting when you have several pages of writing already sitting in front of you.
For anyone who writes consistently, an inventory of previous content is both a safety precaution and a source of new inspiration to keep creating. If you keep track of everything you write and organize it well, your brand (and you future self) will thank you.