I set myself the intention for 2019 to find a new creative hobby, so here I am starting out with writing this blog while listening to some great songs!
I’ve always loved writing. During the time I’ve worked as a professional marketer, it’s been with a happy heart I’ve lived through the changing nature of what we do and the rise of content marketing to the point now where content marketing is marketing. No longer simply confused with selling or advertising or gimmicky tactics, it’s now widely understood that the best form of marketing involves creating interesting and engaging content for your audience, and that investing time and energy into this is the most sure-fire way to connect honestly with customers whether in our business or consumer worlds. I think this has given marketing as a profession more substance and integrity than ever before.
We all love a true story written authentically, whether it’s about a product or service that has transformed the way we live, work or play, stories about human connection and relationships, stories of hope and optimism about team successes and wins. These themes transcend our work and private lives.
Writing for me is mentally a creative escape (with similar benefits to a physical holiday escape!) and has always been the part of my job I enjoy the most. As a content manager I’ve looked after large libraries of content on intranets or websites, a bit like being the digital equivalent of a bookshop owner. There’s a satisfaction to curating, editing and neatly arranging content, that’s easily accessible, interesting, and written in plain English for readers to browse and pick as they choose when something sparks their interest.
But it’s not always easy to do. I’ve seen subject matter experts paralysed with fear at the sight of a blank sheet of paper when asked to write something short about something they know inside out.
The best advice I have for business writing is to break it down into small pieces and don’t rush it. Take it steady, write the idea or outline down, write one paragraph, bullet point some key messages and then leave it and come back to it. Give the writing space to breathe, and let the words take shape in your mind before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Coming back to a piece of paper with some words already on it, however rough a draft, is a lot easier than coming back to a blank piece.
Once you’ve set off, keep refining and polishing, removing any traces of unnecessary words and sentences until what you want to say is laser sharp. With our ever-shortening concentration spans, it’s important not to fill your reader’s valuable time with fluffy or flowery sentences. Run it by a supportive colleague who you trust to sanity check without passing judgement and then, when you’re ready, close your eyes, take a deep breath and hit publish!
Even though I love writing, my close friends will tell you I’ve procrastinated about starting a blog for the best part of a year! Using song titles as the starting point for each one was a random idea that came to me where all my best ideas come from (in the shower!), but it’s helped me find a way to construct these blogs and set off.
I hope you’re going steady with your 2019 goals. Good luck!
Song credit: The Raconteurs. Watch the music video here.