How to Become a Better, Faster Writer by Measuring Your Daily Progress

dtmcWant to know how to write 30,000 words this month?

I conducted my own writing experiment in August and set a goal to write 30,000 words by the end of the month.

The results surprised me.

I hit my goal word count by August 27th, and by the time my experiment wrapped up at the end of the month, I had written a total of 34,332 words.

Sound impossible? Believe it or not, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

The key to my success was tracking my progress every day. I put a couple of simple measurement tools in place, then used them to steadily work my way up to 30,000 words.

Management consultant and author Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured, get managed.” That statement is true in many areas (like weight loss and family chores), and it’s particularly critical in your writing career.

Having a tracking system is the key becoming a better, more efficient writer. And since content creation should be the foundation of your entire online strategy, becoming a stronger, faster writer is critical to your marketing success.

Creating Your Simple Tracking System

Your first step is to set up your tracking system. You can use Excel, a Google doc, or even pen and paper – just make sure it’s easily accessible and simple to use.

In your tracking document, you need columns to measure:

  1.   The number of words you write each day.
  2.   How long it takes to write them.
  3.   Any additional notes about what you’re working on (blog post title, chapter name, etc.)
  4.   Totals for columns 1 and 2, so you can see measure your daily progress and see how close you are to your monthly goals.
  5.   How many words per hour you’re writing. Keep a running tally of your average writing speed (in words per hour) so you can see your speed increasing over time.

Here’s a screenshot of a section of my writing log for the month of August:

11.9.15 a


My quick-and-easy writing log process

Here’s the simple and fast method I used to record key metrics during my writing sessions every day:

  1.   At the beginning of each writing session, I looked at the clock and recorded the time at the top my document.
  2.   I wrote until I reach a natural stopping point (usually about 20-30 minutes).
  3.   I looked at the clock again and recorded the new time at the end of the document.
  4.   I used my word processor’s word count tool to calculate the number of words I wrote during that session.
  5.   I recorded the word count and time in my spreadsheet.
  6.   I repeated 1-5 until I’d written at least 1,000 words.

I don’t rely on fancy applications or online tools. My Excel spreadsheet and Microsoft Word work for me, but you can use any system that suits your workflow and writing style.

Want a writing log template? You can download a free one (in Excel and Google Doc formats) here.

Unless you’re working on one big project (like a book), it’s a good idea to keep a separate document of all your content ideas, too. It’s important that you never run out of ideas for blog posts while you’re writing. If you finish one blog post in the middle of a writing session, you can simply start creating a new post by moving on to the next idea on your list.

Why a writing log can be your business’s new secret weapon

Developing a tracking system or writing log is the absolute best thing you can do to become a better, faster writer.

By the end of my writing experiment, I had doubled my writing speed. I can now consistently write around 1400 words per hour. I also wrote more blog posts (including some guest posts for prominent sites) during the month of August than the previous three months combined.


My writing experiment was the best thing I’ve done for my business in years.

Want to try it? All you need to do is set a goal, write a little bit every day, and track your progress.

Then get ready to see major results in your content creation efforts.


11.9.15 headshotBeth Hayden is a writer, author, and content marketing expert who specializes in working with women business owners. You can get a free, customizable copy of her Writing Log Template on her website.

Chris Kirkpatrick

chris kirkpatrickChris Kirkpatrick joins us with Pete Nicholls’ LocalTag in Australia. He’s part of the Queensland crew and has just reminded me that this year is so quickly coming to an end. We should all be focusing on content calendars and goal-setting for 2016 soon. We asked Chris some questions to get to know him a little better, and this is what he said:

1) What do you hope to get out of Duct Tape Marketing?

As for what I hope to get out of Duct Tape Marketing is the understanding and the privilege of using of ‘World’s Best Practice’ marketing materials and tools to assist small and medium businesses to succeed beyond their imagination!

2) What has been your biggest personal or professional success so far?

My biggest personal success is marrying the right woman 39 years ago! We are happier and more in love now than ever! On a professional scale, I would have to say the successful building of a substantial Network Marketing Business around 15 years ago.

3) What personal and professional goals have you set for yourself for 2015?

My Goals for 2015, both personal and professional changed somewhat when I was introduced to Duct Tape Marketing and as we are approaching the tenth month of the year, I have switched to focus on setting new goals for 2016.

4) What are the 3 most recent books that you’ve read?

I have read several good books of late, notably;

  • Duct Tape Marketing
  • The Referral Engine, both by John Jantsch and
  • Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard (Read originally around 10 years ago!)

Please welcome Chris Kirkpatrick to our team!

Leveraging Social Media and Search Marketing to Skyrocket Your Local Business’s Sales

local biz saleMost entrepreneurs look at the Internet as a mean to reach the global customers. While it is true that a lucrative market awaits you out there, let’s not overlook the local business opportunities you already have. And social media and search marketing, used properly, helps you skyrocket your local sales.

Studies indicate that there has been a tremendous growth in the local, mobile search volumes over the past few years. Google too confirms that more than 50 percent of mobile queries are local. They further claim that 4 out of 10 online users prefer to “Research Online Purchase Offline.”

Therefore, it makes sense to use your social profiles to connect with your local buyers and provide detailed information and your products and services through these platforms.

Social Media Platforms to Leverage

When it comes to social media marketing, you basically have three major content types in your arsenal, including

  1.    Written
  2.    Video
  3.    Visual

The following are 6 types of social platforms that can help you improve your local sales:

1. Twitter & Facebook

These two social media sites remain at the top in the social landscape. Using customer-focused and value-rich updates help you connect with users and establish a broader conversation with them. Content, timing, and engagement are crucial to access to a tremendous scale in these platforms. In fact, it is content and engagement you need to focus on:

  • Post photos, questions, insightful stats and facts, links to thought-provoking articles
  • Show off your products with large images
  • Run a timeline contest
  • Utilize “Boost Post” feature on Facebook
  • Put your phone number in the “About” section as well as in your posts
  • Run a “Facebook Offers” and use “Twitter Coupons”

2. LinkedIn

This is a great platform for B2B marketers, provided they know how to leverage its innovative features, such as:

  • Use LinkedIn advertising to reach the decision makers
  • Publish your content to your network directly
  • Improve your LinkedIn newsfeed
  • Create LinkedIn persona strategy. For example, ask questions on this platform instead of pitching as it invokes curiosity. The best strategy is to “Ask, listen, engage and find common ground” to resolve pain points.

3. Google+

Twitter and Facebook have no contribution to your SEO efforts, at least directly, confirms Matt Cutts. But Google+ has and therefore you need to be active on this social platform by:

  • Sharing photos, videos and content on Google+
  • Interacting with target audience via hangouts and chat tools in order to foster robust discussions
  • Filling up your basic information such as phone numbers, operation hours, map and website URL in G+ Local page

4. Pinterest & Other Photo-Sharing Networks

This is a great tool for B2C businesses, especially those from fashion, lifestyle, travel, and hotel and food domain. However, B2B businesses are also leveraging this tool to connect with consumers. To use photo-sharing sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and etc. you need to follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Images posted must add a visual angle to your brand
  • B2B business need to focus more on marketing infographics via these platforms
  • Encourage your followers to share their wish lists
  • Tell your stories with Pinterest boards

5. YouTube & Vine

If you have video content in your arsenal, start using them to connect with your local customers via video networks like YouTube, Vine, Instagram Video, or Vimeo. Using these platforms you can:

  • Showcase your product or unveil a new product
  • Cross-promote video content via video oriented tools such as LinkedIn featured videos and Twitter Cards
  • Use both scripted and unscripted videos to create sales copy, video testimonials, introduce your staff/workplace, share industry expertise, user manuals, and how-to’s

6. FourSquare & Location-Based Platforms

Location-based social networking tools like FourSquare provide great opportunities to promote your business to local customers. To tap onto this network you can use tools like special offers with check-in, loyalty points and rewards, and giveaways, etc. to attract your local customers.

The most crucial point that you need to understand from this is post is that “one size fits all” kind of an approach does not work for social marketing. Each social platform caters to a different category of users. Using audience insights and real data is the key to select the right network to boost your local sales. For example, a B2C business is in a better position to attract quality leads using tools like Facebook Offers. A B2B business, on the other hand, needs to focus more on LinkedIn and niche networks dominating a space to reach its target audience.

PatelVivek Patel is a Local Search Specialist at E2M, one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies based in India committed to meeting the highest ethical standards of digital marketing services to encourage and drive strategic and sustainable business growth. He covers local search optimization, organic search tactics, and social media marketing strategies. You can find him on twitter: @vivekrpatel, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook.


Brendan Yong

brendanyong_edit2300x300Brendan Yong joins our network from Singapore! At Empathi Solutions, he has been empowering small businesses in Asia to grow predictable sales through marketing automation. At Empathi, he works with clients across a wide variety of industries including, but not limited to professional services, financial services and real estate.

1) What do you hope to get out of Duct Tape Marketing?

We hope to use the Duct Tape Marketing System to help more Asia small businesses to level up their marketing strategies.

2) What has been your biggest personal or professional success so far?

I was recognized for Top Sales in Southeast Asia as Infusionsoft Certified Partner.

3) What personal and professional goals have you set for yourself for 2015?

I hope to achieve 1,000 consulting hours with the Duct Tape Marketing system.

4) What are the 3 most recent books that you’ve read?

  • Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler
  • The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge
  • Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Please welcome Brendan Yong to the Network!

Pete Nicholls

pete nichollsBy now, you guys have probably been introduced to Pete in some way, shape or form. He’s jumped head first into the Network from his base down in Australia since day 1, and there’s no stopping him anytime soon. Pete in constantly looking for resources and connections to help both the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network and his newly launched Localtag.

1) What do you hope to get out of Duct Tape Marketing?

By adopting what we see as World’s Best Practice for Small Business Marketing Strategy from DTM, I can grow Localtag via consultants in multiple cities. I have confidence from knowing each consultant will operate in a consistent way, trained and supported by the DTM team, with Localtag management handling complexities of delivering each marketing package. Together we can create and deliver a quality marketing and customer service excellence organization in SMB that is exciting to imagine.

2) What has been your biggest personal or professional success so far?

Fulfilling technical, sales and leadership roles during 16 years at Cisco in Europe and Asia Pacific, I’m proud to have established a trust network across many countries. It is that trust network which will allow us to build a company that fosters prosperity at a local level across the globe. On the personal front, my proudest achievement is with my wife Helen moving our family to the UK for 10 years and back to Australia in 2008, and raising a daughter and two sons over 30 years into adults we are proud of who are each now following their dreams in creative arts.

3) What personal and professional goals have you set for yourself for 2015?

To establish the first Localtag Business XChange in Australia, supporting at least four Localtag Consultants while fostering a success team of all DTM Consultants in Asia Pacific for joint events in 2016. On the personal front, it’s to make it to Denmark in December with our boys for Christmas with daughter Jess in Copenhagen, knowing the Localtag team can function while we are away.

4) What are the 3 most recent books that you’ve read?

  • “Tribes” by Seth Godin
  • “The Ultimate Question 2.0” on the Net Promoter System by Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey of Bain and Co and
  • “Search Inside Yourself” a book about mindfulness by Chade Meng Teng whose official title at Google is “Jolly Good Fellow (which nobody can deny)”

(Plus all John’s books of course )