It’s easy to incite emotions on the Internet, particularly anger and shock. Take a look at all the tabloid-style headlines advertised in the right-side columns and across the footers of numerous entertainment websites. If they aren’t focused on digging dirt on the latest celebrity in the news to spur your rage, these headlines are enticing you to look at shocking pictures of plastic surgery mishaps. The creators of this content know you are tuning all it out, so they are doing everything they can to appeal to your emotions as quickly as possible at a quick glance. And if there is that one chance something grabs you, like a photo of a cute kitten that’s too special for words with the most precious headline … they have you.
You have full creative freedom … do whatever you want….
Do you take those words from a client and run with them? Or do you cringe as you grasp for some semblance of boundaries in the project you have accepted? The concept of creative freedom is ambiguous: we all want it, but too much freedom leads a writer into dangerous territory.
Some people outside the creative professions assume writers and other creative-types want creative freedom more than anything else on their job. More than pay raises, promotions, or recognition for all their hard work. The common misconception is that creative professionals want to wander freely in an unstructured utopia, scribbling down ideas as they emerge, take naps and play games between brainstorming sessions, and work through the night when creative energy is at its peak.
In the process of content development, writers need background information about your company, products, services, audience, and goals. The more useful information you can provide upfront, the better quality of work will be produced. Let’s say you hire a speech writer to help you shape your keynote speech for an event. You don’t want the writer to pull common knowledge from the Internet as the basis of your speech, nor do you want him or her to provide inaccurate and off-topic content.
Long blogs are the equivalent of an overtime baseball game ending well after midnight. The audience arrived interested in the outcome, but they are tired and ready to move on after the first 500 words. Likewise, readers will disappear quickly as they discover a blog is nothing more than a self-serving meandering stream of thought.
Avoid the “TL;DR” Declaration
You might have seen the comment “TL;DR” on social media posts regarding a shared blog article. Readers who deem a linked blog much too long to spend their time on, typically more than six minutes, will label it with the kiss of death: “TL;DR” or “Too Long; Don’t Read.” It’s easy to get carried away on a subject, particularly when you are passionate. The good news is you can do it thoughtfully and with brevity.
Spare Us Your Rants
Countless blogs are filled with rants about politics, religion, and product failures among other polarizing topics. People anger easily and feel the need to express their frustrations to the world. Meanwhile, other people are not likely to read an angry rant unless they share the same passion for the same topic. Yes, writing out frustrations can be cathartic to the benefit of one’s mental health, but there are better ways to accomplish this.
Know Your Intentions
When you set out to write your blog know what you want to achieve. What are you paying forward? A successful blog offers insight, advice, information, education, or entertainment – or some mix thereof. You can absolutely gain catharsis in writing a blog that helps another learn from your experiences while releasing your pent-up energy.
Know Your Audience
If you are a writer your audience may include newcomers looking for writing advice or readers interested in the genre in which you work. A video game fan may be sharing tips and tricks with other like-minded fans. A chef might be writing to someone who searching for cooking methods. It’s not rocket science. Write about your unique expertise or perspective for an audience that is most likely to be receptive to your knowledge. Just don’t make the mistake of telling them what they already know.
Good Writing Matters
You were once educated in your writing language, but you may have allowed some rules to lapse. Grammatical rules exist to keep writing clear and concise. Stumbling across multiple errors in an article is quite discouraging to readers; they strike as unprofessional and sometimes just plain lazy. Do yourself a favor – proofread before you publish. There is no shame in referring to a dictionary or thesaurus when you need, or following a set of guidelines on best grammar practices.
Offer A Resolution
Now that you have established your subject matter, goals, and audience, you need a conclusion that entices your readers to take action. You may want them to share the article, engage in conversation in the comments section, or apply key points in their own lives. You are now bringing your intentions full circle.
So go forth and write well. Keep your blogs short and concise. And share this advice with your friends and network.