Be a content speed demon. Stop writing. Start blueprinting.

May 17, 2021

Sometime this week you’re going to stare at a screen and wonder what you should write next, and it’s going to drive you bonkers.

I hear some version of this story every day. “I have to create a proposal/blog post/presentation/story/web page” and I don’t know what to write.

That’s actually a good thing.

When most people write, they’re not actually thinking about what they’re writing. Instead, they’re trying to string a bunch of words together so that they sound good. That’s not writing, that’s typing. Writing is about understanding what you want to communicate and finding a way to make it accessible and interesting.

How to write faster – create a blueprint.
One of my corporate superpowers is the ability to “write” fast. I banged out this blog post in about 17 minutes, and I did it by using a simple technique. It’s the same technique I use in the average month to publish more than 50 articles, infographics, radio shows, pitch decks and more.

It's called the “blueprint,” and if you work with me, you’ve seen some version of the document. It’s essentially a quick outline of whatever it is I want to write. My basic blueprint includes an objective and a loose structure. What happens is that I can follow that roadmap to understand every paragraph, chapter or slide, making it easy to put pen to paper.

Four steps to generating your next blueprint – Blurt. Meld. Organize. Headline.
Write faster with your own blueprint: 

Blurt – Write everything down lickty split.
Step back and think about all the elements that need to be said in whatever content you’re creating. I jot them down on a piece of paper or just start listing them in a Word document.

Meld – Find things that belong together.
Take all the items you’ve listed and put them together as chunks – little fragments of disorganized information. For an article, that means paragraphs. For a presentation, the means chapters. What you’ve got now is a basic structure.

Organize – Structure each section/paragraph/whatever.
Sharpen your structure by organizing each of your chunks. What information goes first, second, third, and so on. Now you have a piece of communication, and you haven’t “written” anything yet. 

Next – Shifting to engagement.
Once you’ve got that structure full of information, you’re going to start thinking about ways to make it interesting. This is where you’ll add stories, headlines, hooks, visual language, associations and all sorts of other tools that keep your audience engaged.

This is easier than it looks – 60 seconds to create your Blueprint.
Giving something an official title like “Blueprint” doesn’t mean you need to take hours to develop the thing. I smashed mine together for this post in less than a minute. Here’s how I did it:

  • I started by thinking about how I create a Blueprint and wrote out single words on the page.

  • I saw three things in my list that would be valuable to you – what a Blueprint is, how the process works and a simple case study (this is the case study).

  • I took my information and organized into basic paragraphs. Still no writing, just the raw stuff that was important.

  • I started moving through the content. I tried four different ways to open the blog post, landing on one that was relevant and empathetic to your every day.

17 minutes later, I had this. Bing. Bam. Boom. Build your Blueprint and watch your productivity, relevance and quality go through the roof.

- Jason