Editor’s Note: This is the fourth blog post in a series entitled: How to Create Insanely Good Content. Catch up on the previous three parts here.
Effective communication has three elements: Clarity, Simplicity, and Connection.
This is the core purpose of the 13 Box Structure — to help you organize your ideas into a clear, simple, and connected flow of information.
This enables your audience or readers to follow you with ease as your story unfolds, ultimately leading them to make a predefined decision as a result of your content.
If you struggle like many of your business peers to write engaging and persuasive content, then keep reading. This blog post is written specifically for you.
Together we’ll walk through a proven system that:
- is simple to follow and use
- will help you to define and clarify the purpose of your content piece, and
- will help you to write in a logical and engaging flow, to keep your readers connected with your story, or content (whatever that may be).
Introducing The 13 Box System
Since 1991, I’ve taught over 10,000 business people a simple system to shape and deliver business presentations. But it wasn’t until 2002, as I facilitated a two-day workshop attended by a very good friend and colleague, Sean D’Souza that I actually got a name that felt right.
At the end of the workshop, Sean came up to me and said. “You’ve just given me 13 boxes to presentation freedom.” Boom! “The 13 Box System”.
On that day, those 13 boxes finally had a unique name that accurately described the system I taught people.
Sean is one of a number of business people I have worked with over the past 25 years who have seen the power of those 13 Boxes and how they could be adapted and used in business to prepare and craft not only presentations, but develop the best marketing strategies, emails, content, video scripts, articles, ebooks and more.
What you are about to discover in the 13 Box Content Structure, isn’t theory… it’s a proven system based on principles and practices that work.
It’s a system that’s been developed and honed by professionals who write online content and articles for a living.
But remember, content or copywriting is a skill. And skills need to be practiced and honed. As a system, we know that the 13 Box Content Structure will make your writing practice easier and help you to write more engaging content… But it’s not a magic bullet, it’s the framework and structure that enables you to make magic happen.
So let’s get started making magic and writing insanely good content.
A tiptoe through the boxes
Let’s first take a look at the 13 Box Content Structure. For now, we are just going to walk through it so you can see how it works and fits together. Then, in the next post, we will work through filling in the boxes with practical exercises.
Before we begin, you will want to download and print the 13 Box Content Structure Worksheet.
To make it easier for you, we created the walk-through video below. It will take 9 minutes of your time, but we suggest you play it at least 2 or 3 times… We’re sure that if you invest the time to do that, then by the end you’ll get it, and will probably be able to start practice using the system straight away.
We often say that “the power is in the simplicity, but the magic is in the mastery.“
And mastery only happens by doing. As we’ve already said, in the next blog we will practice using the structure and show you the five steps of writing the content for each of the boxes. But please don’t let that stop you from giving it a go now.
With practice in mind let’s refresh your memory with what makes for good writing.
In all things, mastery is the art of disciplined practice
I once heard it said, “the moment a professional athlete believes they are above practicing the basics, is the moment they are no longer on top of the game.” And that’s very much the same in business.
So let’s very quickly jump back to the basics and take a look at the 7 Elements of Good Writing.
Although we may express them differently, none of these elements will be new to you, but you really do need to keep them in mind when writing content, especially if your writing skills are a bit rusty.
The 7 Elements of Good Writing
1. The Subject
This is the central theme or subject you will write about. Often we look at the subject as our working title when we are developing and crafting our content.
As a general rule in business you will write to:
- Build goodwill
- and sometimes, Entertain.
3. Intended Audience
Knowing your intended audience is critical to business writing of any kind and there are several important questions you need ask. For example, what do they already know about the subject? What’s their attitude toward the subject? Will they agree or disagree with your point of view? What demographic profile are they? What’s their pain, need, want, or desire? And that’s the short list.
Use language that is appropriate to the purpose, audience, and subject of your content. This includes the use of vocabulary, the structure of your sentences and whether to use passive or active voice to establish effective relationships between ideas, information, facts, and statements.
Is all about making sure your content flows naturally and keeps your reader oriented to the central theme and ideas of your material. As you move your reader from beginning to end, your task is to ensure the flow of information follows a logical and seamless sequence.
Often in writing content for business we will utilize images, tables, graphs, etc. to visualize information as well as examples, stories, and quotations to make the ideas and information presented meaningful and memorable for the reader.
7. Emotional Intent
This is an element you may not have heard before. The aim of all business communication is to influence decision.
As a result of having read your content you want the reader to do something… The challenge is that decisions are rarely made with logic first, they are often driven by emotion.
Defining the emotional state associated with the desired action and then using descriptive words, phrases, and sentences to trigger it will take your writing to a new level. You are not just writing about a subject, you are writing to an emotion.
In the next blog post, we will talk to these elements in a little more detail.
But for now, let’s wrap this post up.
The reality of digital age business is that, like it or not, writing content on a regular and consistent basis is now part of the job. And because of this you have to do it better, and more consistently than your competitors.
That’s something that takes time, and often time you don’t have when you consider all the other demands of running a business.
That’s what the 13 Box Content System is designed to do. To help you write better content, faster. Yes, we acknowledge that in the first instance you will need to invest time in learning and practice.
But remember. That commitment is a commitment and investment in your business, in your audience and in building influence that leads to sales.
In the next post, we’ll show you how to use the boxes and provide some practical examples.
Until next time, Eugene Moreau.