Keep Your Eyes on the Target
Effective content must be focused on the target, and as the author, so should you.
When designing a piece of content, define your goal first: the keynote of the content. Write it down and keep it always in front of you.
Every idea, every example, and piece of information you consider including in the content item you are working on must be evaluated against your predefined goal. If you are not sure that bit promotes the objective and helps the audience take the next step toward the destination you have defined, don’t include it in the text.
Any creation can benefit from a preliminary design.
There is always a gap between the ideas running in our minds and the actual creation — bringing the ideas to life in a way that will make a positive impact. To create compelling content, fill this gap with intentional design.
Compile the raw material for your content. Consider which bits should go in and which are better left out. Consider how effective your statements, quotes, examples, and metaphors are. And create the most effective logical flow.
Don’t rush to write the first draft so you won’t fall in love with it before bringing the best of your ideas into the design.
Use a Flexible Tool
Designing your content (and any other form of creation) is not a linear activity. It is a game of experimentation. You will rarely get it right the first time. So, it is essential to use a flexible and lightweight tool for that — a tool that will not get in your way when you move things around, mix and match, slice and dice.
Whether you use plain Post-It Notes or a digital equivalent, make sure there is practically zero overhead when making changes.
Start the actual writing only when you are happy with your design.