How to Write for Blogs and Social Media: New Media – New Rules!

Writing for blogs and social media is changing the time honored skill of writing.  The key to business blogging and social media marketing is simple.  You write with a purpose.   This is a skill that gets better the more you practice it.   What is your business purpose?  Naturally you want to do more of whatever it is that you do to generate a profit.  That goes without saying.  What enables you to accomplish that end?  That’s your purpose.  Are you building a fan base of loyal friends and followers that will recommend you?  Are you carving out a niche so you are the “go-to” expert in your field?  Are you creating a buzz that will get your phone ringing?    There are a number of strategies and you have to be clear on yours.  The greater the clarity, the easier the writing.    

Now just follow these three steps:

1.  Use the Right Words
2.  Break the Rules
3.  Serve it Up!

Use the Right Words:  What are the right words?  The ones your readers are using.  It seems simple but this is a tough thing for many of us to understand because we want to use OUR words.  There is a language to an industry, a market, and a demographic – sorry, big word demographic, probably not one the market uses!  The more you get out there and live what your readers are living, the more you’ll understand how to connect to them with the right words.  Here’s a tip.  Carry a notepad to write things down.  Put what people say in quotes.  Use those words and you are guaranteed to connect with people just like them.

Break the Rules:  You can’t follow the herd in life if you want to be noticed.   Most people write to be read – and the only way you are going to get noticed is to break the rules.  I just did it.  I used a dash instead of correct punctuation.  I write to my ear – what sounds right to me, not to a book of rules.  The truth is I don’t know the rules of grammar very well.  Guess what? You don’t have to know them either because most readers don’t know them.  Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite writers and a rule breaker himself.  Read “The Old Man and The Sea” and you’ll know with certainty that storytelling doesn’t have to be complicated.  That book is where I got the idea to use dashes instead of commas.  It reads better.  Hemingway used this technique and he did alright for himself.  Give it a try.  And contrary to the what many grammar experts advise, he started sentences with words like “and” – just like I’m doing now!  Watch and learn from the pros.

Serve it Up!:  This is one of the most difficult skills to learn, but arguably the most effective.  My son Zak handed me a draft of a paper he was writing for one of his high school classes.  It began with several introductory sentences, then he got to the point.  That’s how most people write.   And that’s what I told him.  “You started communicating right here!” 

Life just happens!  So, write that way.  Last week Zak’s car skidded on the ice and smashed into the curb.  The tire hissed for a minute until going completely flat.  I like to imagine that’s how Hemingway would describe what happened, without wasted words.  What did I leave out?  The name of the street, the make of the car, the brand of the tires – and much, much more.  You don’t respect the reader if you don’t get to the point.  Give them the meat – throw it on their plate!  That’s real.  They’ll use their imagination and life experiences to determine exactly how it tastes.  But they can’t do that if you don’t serve it up!  You have to give them a tightly written story for that to happen.  When you do that, you’ll have attentive readers that will help you fulfill your business purpose. 

2008Dec26_Hemingway

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