Have you ever heard of Team Sky? They're a British cycling team and they sucked for over 70 years, winning only 1 Olympic gold medal during all seven decades. But in 2010, their new manager, Sir David Brailsford, changed their destiny.
Brailsford believed if they improved all aspects of their performance by just a 1% margin, it would all add up to delivering outstanding results. And it did. Big time.
They changed equipment and the riders adapted their training routine and nutrition. But they didn't stop there.
They also replaced the pillows they slept on, tested out different massage gels and colour-coded their water bottles.
Brailsford called this approach the "aggregation of marginal gains".
Find the marginal gains in your writing
Now, how does this performance framework relate to your writing business?
Applying Brailsford's strategy and improving every aspect of your trade by the minimum of 1% (I bet you can do better than that, though) means your content will be more effective, you will get more clients, and you can maximise your influence.
So, what can you do to find those "marginal gains"?
Speed up the writing process
Editing will take a great deal of time when you first start out. ProWritingAid gives you 25 different reports to consider. That's a lot. But investing in the initial effort to learn your weak spots will shorten the editing process in the long term. You will learn to avoid common issues and increase your understanding of writing techniques, which will mean fewer errors to correct in the future.
Target your audience with the right wording
An essential part of your work is to define your target audience and be familiar with the way they talk. You can then use the Contextual Thesaurus to choose the right wording to attract them and keep their attention.
Tight writing sells
Concise and clear messages make your writing impactful. Think of the facts, the emotion and the logic in your sentence as the building blocks. You need something to hold them together, but beware of using filler expressions.
Avoid using over-complicated words and weak phrases because they will cost you your audience's attention.
Good rhythm is half the battle
Even if you're just writing an email to a prospect to pitch your newest blog post idea, you don't want them to fall asleep while reading it. Or worse, to remind them they are exhausted and ready to go home. Use a combination of long and short sentences, and a variety of sentence structures. Good rhythm is super-important to cyclists and writers alike.
And how did things work out for Team Sky?
Did aggregating the marginal gains by 1% do them any good?
I'd say so! Team Sky won Le Tour de France in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. And the British cycling team won eight gold medals in the 2012 Olympic Games, with six more golds in the 2016 Olympics.
So why not try out this strategy? Marginal gains can add up to substantial rewards.