Skip to main content

“How do you come up with so much stuff?” I get asked this a lot. So this week, I thought I would go through my process. My goal is to perhaps give you one idea that can help you with your own writing or content creation. 

To start with, I don’t have a staff, virtual assistants in other countries, or use artificial intelligence in anything. All my writing on LinkedIn is just me, the same as it has been for the seven-plus years I have been writing and publishing on LinkedIn.

Every week I set aside a chunk of Monday for writing. I make sure I am unlikely to be interrupted by clients, I close LinkedIn (unless I specifically need to refer to it for something I am writing about), and I see what happens. My goal every Monday is to write 2000 words. My LinkedIn newsletter is usually 600 – 1000  and I need another 600-800 words for my email newsletter. By writing 2000 words when I normally only need 1400-1800, I usually have lots of content to choose from for my newsletters. I like having a backlog of posts to choose from when I work on my newsletters every week. I need three of four posts or pieces of content a week for my blog and newsletters. As of this writing I have 43 of those posts and articles finished and available to use. 

The idea file

I keep an idea file – I call it my “work in progress file,” but that is probably a bit grandiose. It is a word doc full of fragments, phrases, keywords, lists that never got finished (and others that never got started), entire articles and series of articles that never got finished or saw the light of day. Any time I get an idea, any idea, it goes in the file. The idea file is currently 39 pages long (I am not kidding). 

So what I do is just page through the idea file until I find something that strikes my fancy and I start writing. I don’t force myself to write on a specific topic, I write about what is interesting to me today, and  that I think will be interesting and useful to my subscribers.

Bullet points

I start by writing the main points I want to make. So if I am writing on five things you should know about followers on LinkedIn, I will write down those five things, figure out what order they should be in, and sketch in the conclusion or takeaway. 

This is often the point where a post gets abandoned as I either have too few or too many points and need to rethink what I want to say. 


Often I will start writing and one of five things happens:

I motor through the post. It just all comes out organically. 

I get unhappy with the way the piece is going, or I don’t think it is working the way I wanted. It gets shelved. On the day I wrote this post, I had already finished three posts, but had started and abandoned two others. As an aside, setting an idea aside so that I can attack it from a different angle at a later date is one reason you get an ideas file that is 39 pages long.

As the piece gets fleshed out, I sometimes need to decide whether this works better as a two part post, whether I should pare it to fit better or whether I should just leave it. Regardless of whether it is here in my LinkedIn newsletter or my longer email newsletter, my goal is to have something my reader can cover in a few minutes and take away an idea, or think of an aspect of LinkedIn a bit differently. 

The fourth thing that can happen is that the piece morphs before my eyes from one topic and intended reader to another one altogether. It’s weird when a marketing post turns into a sales post, but often these are my best ones. 

And often I see that what I am thinking of would fit well with something in my finished post stack, so I go back to the finished piece and augment it with my new ideas. A good example of this was an article I wrote about Collaborative articles. I must have gone back and added new ideas to the “finished” article five times by now. I still haven’t published it yet, and it sits around two thousand words. 

For me, a lot of the fun in writing is seeing which of these five things does happen. 

Editing and into the post bucket with it

Once done, I review the piece to make sure it flows the way I wanted it to, and make edits as needed. Then I figure out where it fits best (LinkedIn newsletter or Email newsletter) and then it goes into the finished content file. Later in the week, sometime between Wednesday and Friday, I will put together my next LinkedIn newsletter and my next Email newsletter. I already know what content is going in each one as I let my readers know what is coming in the next issue, so at this point I decide what goes in the following week’s issue. When I am going to publish a piece, wherever it is going, I edit it one more time – this is an important edit as I catch grammaticals and typos, and either expand on ideas or edit out others. This final edit allows me to see the piece typically a few weeks after I originally wrote it, and I often make changes.

Writing all this content has several benefits for me. The first is that I have tremendous flexibility in what I can publish. With the backlog I have built up, I can choose from all those pieces I have written. In my email newsletter for example I can have an article on sales, one on content, one on a new Linkedin feature and one on some other aspect like company pages. And I can do this every week. The second benefit is that as I have a system, writing isn’t onerous, it’s a habit I have gotten into. And lastly, I am never panicking about what’s going to be in next week’s newsletters. This is all very low stress. 

And that’s how this sausage gets made. 


At Practical SMM, we pride ourselves on delivering highly effective LinkedIn strategies.