Before you agree to speak or to write an article, you must ensure that your time will be well invested. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I writing for the right audience? Writing for the wrong audience (meaning, an audience composed of people whom you do not serve) will not bring enough benefit to justify the investment of time, so ask this foundational question before you begin. Your business development plan will define the right audience.
- How much time will this require? Short, practical articles (done well) will deliver good results in a reasonable time. Longer articles can be valuable in building your credibility, but they take a greater investment of time. Be realistic in your estimate — before you begin.
- What results would make the expenditure of time worthwhile? As with any business development activity, you must measure the results that you get. What’s more, you must know, before you begin, what results would make it worthwhile for you to have written this article.
- How does this activity, the writing or speaking compare to more immediate high-yield activity? Regardless of how terrific your article is, and regardless of the subject matter and the kind of results that you achieve, writing is a slow-yield opportunity. It is incredibly unlikely that you will write an article, have it published, and have your phone ring with a potential client calling you only because they saw that article. So, you must consider, before you begin, whether you would be better advised to invest your time in something that is a higher-yield activity.
Writing can be a simple way to increase your professional reach, or it can be a time-consuming and ineffective approach. Going through these questions will help you to make foundational decisions that will get you on the right track — before you begin writing.