I grew up in a large family.
I can tell you it can be hard to be heard in this kind of clan. Your food gets taken when you’re not looking. Everyone has something more important to say and is sure, if they turn up the volume, they will be heard. It’s total chaos. For fun, my brothers used to see how many doorways they could throw me through. Looking back, I realize that I had the best training for communications because getting heard in that crowd was an enormous achievement.
Writing to get heard on the web isn’t much different. There’s a lot of voices, a lot of ‘noise’, and everyone is trying to one-up each other to get ratings, hits, views, and ‘verified accounts’. It’s a bit of a gong show these days. But I can tell you, if you craft good content, you will inevitably create a good body of work that people will want to read and who will then create a relationship with you (as a fan, as a tweep, as a subscriber, as a customer) resulting in a positive return on your hard work.
Delving into your business story, what brought you to the business you are in, what lies below your passion for what you are doing, how it has been a part of your life and how it enriches your life experience–this is the stuff good content is made from. Anais Nin wrote of writing with a unique voice that the “role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”
Say what only you can say. It sounds simple but it takes craft to write with a unique point of view. Even if you are only writing copy for your web page, blog, facebook, or twitter, I would posit that crafting good copy, fueled by great content, will increase your customer base, and your online community.
Cathie Walker, web writer extraordinnaire, was talking at Wordcamp a few weeks ago, where she made the distinction that writing for the web must also be writing with search in mind. This makes creating content more complicated but let’s face it, if we never want to be found or read, then what are we doing on the web? I’m probably breaking a bunch of her rules for web writing right now! Chunking your content, using an active voice, use headings with specific titles, and be conversational are some of the top tips she gave our little group during her presentation. She’s recently started a blog called writingmadesimple.com so you can follow her as she tries to educate writers on how to take their gorgeous words successfully on to the web to be devoured and savoured as they rightly deserve.
Meanwhile, I’m burning my fajitas as I try to write about content. Luckily, in my house, your food gets burnt, not stolen.