Nobody ever told me I could turn writing into a career. Actually, I was watching “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson one day and fell in love with the creativity of advertising. The idea of using words to create images and connections with complete strangers — that’s what made my adrenaline pump.
It’s then when I realized there’s real-world potential for writers beyond being an author. Of course, the glamourized and misogynistic tone of the movie didn’t set realistic expectations for my future. But it was really the only notion of professional, creative writing I had at the time.
So, when my 4-year-old’s preschool teachers sent home a call for professionals for career day, I knew I had to tell the class about writing. To fill them in on the potential to deploy their creativity in the workforce. However, the idea of explaining something to these kids that most adults struggle to fully comprehend made me reluctant.
Luckily, I’m surrounded by strong women. Katie, one of our talented freelance writers and my amazing confidant, said, “Don’t you wish someone had talked to us about writing? Someone had told us that this was a possibility so we didn’t have to fight to prove it was?”
I did — so, I was off to preschool.
I ultimately knew these kids would teach me more than I taught them. What I didn’t know, though, was that the preparation for chatting with them would also be an important lesson.
To start, I had to think of a way to help kids grasp the idea of marketing through content creation. That forced me to peel back every complicated layer I’ve ever put over my role. Stripped down to the bare basics, I draw potential customers to my clients’ products by providing genuinely helpful content.
To show this process, I needed a product. I sought inspiration in the 12 chickens running around my yard. In the Beginning Preschool quickly adopted a new product: In the Beginning Chicken Feed.
Back to the basics: Bring your content strategy back to where the company mission began. Potential customers are simply searching for content that will make their lives easier, make a process faster, or improve a skill. The SEO, social media attention, and linking all come with time. But only if you’re starting with this first basic principle.
The teaching process
Now that we had a product, we just needed an article title. And what’s the most basic, straightforward question people who are buying chicken feed need answered? How to take care of chickens.
That’s exactly where we started. I asked the kids to help me write a how-to list post titled “How to Take Care of Chickens” for In the Beginning Chicken Feed. Their little eyes lit up with ideas:
1. Feed them food
2. Let them outside
3. Tuck them into bed
4. Gather the eggs
5. Give them a bath
6. Cuddle them
7. Water them
8. Clean the coop
9. Give them names
I was in awe of these tiny humans. They didn’t just detail all the ways to take care of chickens on the spot — they got it. Four- and 5-year-olds understood the basic, yet sometimes complicated principles of content creation.
Did the majority of them ever care for chickens? No. They did have other pets, though. Dogs, cats, fish — all were taking their own personal understanding of what it means to care for a pet and applying it to a piece of content.
Even more inspiring, the class pulled from every empathetic bone in their body. Of course, chickens need cuddles and baths. Suggesting naming chickens connects the reader to a personalized and positive experience.
Back to the basics: Your personal experiences are what make your content unique and relatable. Don’t overcomplicate the writing process. Focus on actionable tips backed with emotional connectivity. Find the most basic questions your potential customers are asking and use that as your groundwork. Solidify your content creation with research to give readers confidence in you as an expert.