8 Writing Tips and Takeaways from the Experts

writing-tips.png September 17, 2018

As the whirlwind week that was Content Marketing World is now a memory, we can reflect on what we learned.

As a writer, I’m always interested in learning new approaches to help improve the writing process—and the finished product.

Looking at CMWorld through a writers’ lens, here are my top eight takeaways. 

Eight Tips and Takeaways for Writers from Content Marketing World

1) Have a deadline: One of my writing idols, Tina Fey, delivered the closing keynote this year. We writers learned that like most of us, Fey likes to have a deadline. If you don’t have one, writing projects can drag on endlessly. If your client doesn’t set a deadline for you, be sure you set one for yourself.

2) Just start: “Content can feel like a bottomless pit,” said Fey. So how do you keep going when you’ve finished one piece, yet you need to start on something new?

Fey believes in just starting, which I believe is one of the best pieces of advice for writers. If you wait until you’re “ready” to write, it may not happen. Just put pen to paper (or get behind the keyboard) and go for it. The first draft doesn’t need to be perfect.

3) The intern should NOT be writing your newsletter: This came from one of my favorites, Ann Handley, who talked about how she relaunched her newsletter, and how she personally writes it each week. Why some brands delegate writing a newsletter to the intern we may never understand—but it’s one of the only vehicles you can control. So make it great.

4) What works for one writer may not work for another: At the Content Creators’ Breakfast hosted by Jay Acunzo, a group of writers (including me) discussed how what may work for one writer may not necessarily work for another. And that’s OK. Find what works for you.

For example, some writers like to do a lot of research before they start, while others like to start writing then fill in by researching parts of the piece as needed. Another example: Some writers like to write when the spirit moves them – others like to have a scheduled time to write. And so on. The takeaway is that you should experiment to find what works best for you.

5) Using PR techniques in content creation works: Coming from a PR background can serve you well when creating content. Jonathan Kranz’s session on “nightmare” content was relevant to what many of us do – trying to take boring subject matter and turn it into something compelling that will grab people’s interest.

One tactic he talked about was hijacking someone else’s drama to bring attention to your content (aka newsjacking). If you’re able to move quickly enough, this can be an effective approach to garnering attention for your brand.

6) Think like a journalist: Former journalist Melanie Deziel’s session was all about how to think like one when tackling content—something PR pros have always done to get reporters interested in what they’re pitching.

Deziel’s session gave practical advice relevant to both PR and content pros, once again demonstrating how these two fields overlap in many ways, underscoring the need for PR pros to learn all they can about content (and vice versa).

7) Not everyone HAS to do video: Speaker and author Mitch Joel advised us that everyone should find his or her medium. While video is all the rage, maybe it isn’t the best fit for you. That’s OK.

Not every vehicle is a fit for every marketer or brand. If you’re like me and feel more comfortable behind a keyboard, make it work for you.

8) There’s more than one way to solve a challenge: Photographer Dewitt Jones explained that when you face a challenge in your work, be open to the idea that there’s more than one way around it. Sometimes, you have to look at things through a different lens to see how to get around an issue. Don’t just give up at the first sign of adversity.

Which tip will you try? What are your best tips to help improve your writing?

If you need help crafting content for your business, get in in touch.

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