All posts in Writing


Writing a Creative Brief that Works for You and Your Team

creative brief template

Data shows that creative design is reshaping products, portfolios, and industry standards at more than 70% of companies.

If creative design is so important, doesn’t it also make sense to invest time and money on writing a good creative brief?

Before the actual work of designing an infographic, launching a PPC campaign, or even beginning to pull ideas together in the early stages, you need to be sure that you have a solid creative brief.

The creative brief is the foundation upon which the work of any creative project will be done, but all too often projects fall short because of poorly written, bloated, non-actionable, ambiguous creative briefs.

And what’s arguably a bigger problem than a poorly written creative brief? The process (or lack thereof) that led to its creation.

In this Process Street article, I’ll try to address the elements that make up a good creative brief, but perhaps more importantly, I’ll look at how to build a process for creative brief writing; one that’s consistent, reliable, and gets the job done.

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How to Write Faster Without Losing Quality (Or Going Insane)

How to write faster

I meet so many people who love writing.

Whenever anyone asks me what I do and they find out I’m a writer, they almost always say some variant of the same thing:

“Oh, I would love to write more!”

“I wish I could do that – but I just don’t have time”

“I’ve been meaning to start blogging, but haven’t gotten round to it”

These responses are pretty consistent whether they come from a regular Joe or someone whose business and professional life would benefit from them writing more.

So many companies build a blog and intend to use it properly, only for it to fall into disrepair and get forgotten.

Why?

Because writing isn’t anyone’s core task and is then seen as less valuable.

So what if I told you that you could finish a blog post in 3 hours?

Would 3 hours a week, or even a month, be worth committing to give yourself or your company a functioning and marketable blog? Is that a small enough commitment to open up a new channel or boost your SEO?

It is. You know it. So let me show you how I do it.

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23-Point Peer Editing Checklist for Creating Exceptional Content

peer editing checklist

An editor is a writer’s best friend.

For me, that’s literally the case. I’ve known Ben Mulholland since my school days…

But for you, an editor is your best friend because nothing helps a writer grow faster than a great editor.

How will you know if what you’re writing is any good? You write to the best of your abilities, so to you even the most poorly received article was supposed to be good.

An editor, however, will be able to sniff out weakness straight away.

  • The opening line is weak
  • I lost interest during this paragraph
  • You don’t source this quote

And so on…

So you need an editor. And an editor needs a peer editing checklist.

At Process Street, we use checklists for everything we do. We have a pre-publish checklist for blog posts and marketing emails. We have a checklist for keyword research. We even have a checklist for making checklists.

In this post, I want to share with you our peer editing checklist for training writers and editors to become the best they can be, and creating stellar blog content.

Let’s go!

P.S: Scroll right to the bottom for an interactive version of this checklist!
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9 Places to Find The Best Copywriting Examples for Your Swipe File

Copywriting Examples

Your boss has just asked you to write an email telling your customers their free trial has ended and encouraging them to upgrade to premium.

Where do you start? What do these emails look like? If you had a swipe file, you’d have a reference point straight away.

Swipe files are collections of material kept by creatives for easy reference, consisting of great material you can learn from. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to start making one and be prepared for your next assignment.

It’s best to amass your swipe file as you go, quickly adding quality copywriting examples when you see them and tagging for easy reference. Keep reading to find out how to do this using Evernote. But first, let’s look at where you can find awesome material to get started.

Swiped.co

While relatively new, Swiped is actively archiving a large selection of new and classic ads, emails, pop-ups, sales letters, direct mail examples and more.

If you’ve already got some material for your swipe file, go ahead and upload it to Swiped! It survives on user uploads and is an amazing labor of love by Mike Schauer.

Swiped Copywriting Examples Home Page

It was created because archives of ads are sparse, and if you’re a copywriter or advertisers without a hefty swipe file you’ll have to rely on the rare chance that someone has uploaded the advert you want to reference somewhere on the web.

As it turns out, most people don’t really like ads that much. More often than not, you won’t find what you’re looking for.
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How to Get Inspired and Have Killer Ideas Without Trying

How to Get Inspired

We’ve all had those days. No matter how hard you try, you can’t focus. Everything is harder than usual and heaven forbid anyone needs you to be creative.

It’s demoralizing, stressful, and makes you incredibly inefficient. That’s why it’s important to know how to get inspired.

A word of warning, however, as this post will give you techniques to help consistently find your inspiration. These tips won’t always work (everyone’s muse is different) and so it’s best to take these practices and experiment to see what works for you.

We’ll cover useful practices such as:

  • How to keep a positive mindset and be more productive
  • Actions to inspire you whether you’re alone or with others
  • How to recapture that spark once it starts to fade
  • Changing your routine (how, when, and why)

But enough blabbering – it’s time to get inspired!

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How to Write a Proposal and Get What You Want (Free Template)

how to write a proposal

A proposal has a lot of different purposes, but there’s only one good way to write one: the way that pulls together all of the information in a concise and persuasive way and helps you get what you want … whether that’s a whole new software system, or just a tweak to your marketing strategy.

This article isn’t about a business proposal — also known as a quote — but instead about the document required when formally pitching an idea for action and execution by managers or department heads.
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5 Tips to Maintain a Creative Mindset Under Pressure

creative mindset

Maintaining a creative mindset is damn hard.

The fear of burnout is enough to sap anyone’s energy. When it strikes, it’s hard to imagine recovering from it.

Projects that start with inspiration can derail at the slightest hurdle, leaving you drained and wanting to give up. You might even start to think that you’ve lost your touch.

I know the feeling all too well.

All too often I’ll dive into a new post, fired up and coasting on my initial momentum, only to get 500 words of a rough outline and then flat-lining. Then the slog begins to finish it since it’s already in the calendar and now has a deadline.

This slowed my progress to a crawl, which I would beat myself up over. This cycle repeated until the stress (among other things) drove me to seek therapy, which I am still undergoing.

What I’m trying to say is that creativity is taxing, scary, emotional work. Some weeks I write 4-5 long-form high-quality articles and still have time left over to give my brain a break. Other weeks, I’ll try not to fall behind, stress myself out and waste a whole week staring at text files full of junk.

So, after recently overcoming a bleak patch, I’m going to tell you what I’ve found helps to keep hold of your creative mindset and keep your flow going. These are tips, attitudes, and practices you can work on whenever you start to feel your work slowing to a grind.

Let’s get started.

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Evernote vs OneNote: The Best App for Note-Taking, Researching and Organizing?

Evernote vs OneNote

After I accidentally threw my Macbook out of a moving car and couldn’t afford another one, I’d suffered with a Windows machine for 2 years before getting a Mac again.

I made a solemn oath never to use Windows software again, but last week, I did something that really shocked me.

I enjoyed using a Microsoft product. I enjoyed using it even when there was a viable non-Microsoft alternative.

Then why, I ask myself, am I submitting myself to a Microsoft product when I don’t have to ever see Microsoft again?

Two reasons:

  1. I have made a terrible mess of my Evernote.
  2. OneNote is actually quite good.

In this post, I’m going to share my experiences with Evernote and OneNote, compare them, and give you an idea of how I get value out of them as a writer and note-hoarder spending all my waking hours on a laptop.

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Writing a Listicle: The 11-Step Guide and Why They’re Awesome

listicle

One problem dominates the field when setting out to write a listicle.

They’ve been done to death, and a lot of us are sick of them.

From Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post to Bustle and beyond, thousands of lists are published every year, the majority of which are not exactly high-quality.

People see lists and have been trained to think “clickbait”. That’s what this post will help to avoid and prevent.

Read on to find out:

  • What a “listicle” is
  • Why they are so popular (to read and write)
  • How to plan a listicle in 6 steps
  • How to write a listicle in 5 steps

Enough talk – let’s get to it.

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How to Use WorkFlowy to Take Better Notes Today

Take Better Notes

Lots of text editors, like Word or Evernote, feel too ‘formal’ for proper note taking. They’re clunky and don’t work in harmony with my erratic train of thought at a meeting, lecture or presentation.

Lately, I’ve got instructions introducing me to new projects via video or voice recording, which I’d try to summarize in bullets, expand on and create to-do list items from the notes. When I was done writing and listening, I’d usually be left with a big mess of text that needs organizing, which would take more time still to go through and fix. With this method, I’d need to listen to the recording at least twice to get my notes.

Instead, now I use WorkFlowy to take and edit notes. Here’s how.

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