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A journalist's 12 tips to writing good content

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Good writing isn’t easy, nor should it be. The fact that every man and his dog thinks he can write these days only serves to make the role of writers more important – with a real need for people to write quality content that stands out from the mediocre morass.

However, even the best writers get writer’s block and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. In that spirit, here are 12 things I learned as a journalist that I’ve taken into marketing. Hopefully they can aid you in your quest to fine tune your writing.

  1. Read widely: The more you read, the better a writer you become. Look at your competitors – but also become a voracious reader of blogs, websites, newspapers, magazines and books. Good writers ‘magpie’ ideas from a variety of sources.
  2. Keep it simple: Journalists are encouraged to consider whether their parents or grandparents would understand their copy, stripping away unnecessary jargon and explaining terminology. Always consider if your audience would understand what you’ve written and use short, sharp sentences without too many clauses to avoid confusion.
  3. Be active: Think of the loose formula ‘subject, verb, object’. So, ‘Andrew wrote a rant for The Drum’ is probably better than ‘The rant came in an article written by Andrew’. Don’t be constrained by this rule but keep it in mind to write punchy content.
  4. Bullet point lists: Google loves a bullet point list – and so does your reader. Use them to make your content digestible.
  5. Use a thesaurus: Avoid using the same word more than once in a sentence. A thesaurus is your friend.
  6. Become self-reflective: Read back over posts you’ve written, preferably after a week or more has passed. Learn to critique your content and see what has and hasn’t worked.
  7. Write for pleasure: Writers who keep their love for their craft will give you that little bit extra. Write a blog about your personal passion in your free time and the process of writing will never become a chore.
  8. Listen to others: Good writers observe the world around them and channel their observations through the written word. Listening carefully to others will especially help if you write for an audience you aren’t part of.
  9. Don’t be too precious: People will disagree with you as a writer. They’ll often fuss about one or two words. You need a thick skin. Don’t be upset by the one word you were forced to change, be proud of the hundreds of others that are published.
  10. Challenge your brief: If you’re writing something and it feels wrong, it probably is. If you’re bored or confused by what you’re writing, then you can expect your reader to feel the same. Be prepared to question what’s in your brief.
  11. Write it how you’d say it: Are you stuck? Think about what you would say if you were to explain this verbally. Maybe write this out and then turn those words into something that’s more appropriate in a written form.
  12. Talk to other writers: A good team spirit and open dialogue between writers is important. Writers can help each other through difficulties by suggesting possible solutions or maybe offering links to articles they’ve read or written for inspiration.

This article first appeared as a chapter in volume two of The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Your Brand. You can download a free copy here.

Andrew Brookes is deputy content editor at digital marketing agency Zazzle Media.

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Manchester United unveils official global mobile app

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Manchester United has unveiled an official mobile app powered by its digital transformation partner, HCL.

The new app features exclusive content, including the United Now feed – which collates the latest news, polls, stats, videos and blogs about the club– and a live matchday experience, including line ups, up-to-the-second match updates, live blogging, player stats and score updates from rivals.

The app will also provide exclusive content and behind-the-scenes player access.

Manchester United’s group managing director, Richard Arnold said: “This app will allow our 659 million Manchester United followers to easily connect to the club they love, wherever they are in the world. Fans will now have the opportunity to follow all Manchester United matches through the app with up-to-the-second notifications and updates.

"The app was created by a dedicated project team from HCL Technologies and Manchester United, ensuring a truly collaborative approach to the project. The team not only built the new app and website, but also created an advanced underlying platform that will give the club the ability to adapt as new technologies emerge.”

HCL Technologies’ corporate vice president, Ashish Gupta said: “Our partnership with Manchester United has been one of continuous co-innovation. HCL’s digital experience platform has driven significant business transformation combining digital product strategy and technology innovation to deliver a compelling user experience. The Manchester United official app has received excellent reviews from a worldwide fan base with downloads in over 210 markets."

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The Drum presents: Tom Ollerton talks to Rachel Falconer, head of Goldsmiths Digital Studios

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Talking about the latest marketing technology in order to make sense of it for brands and agencies to apply it through his podcast 'Shiny New Object' is Tom Ollerton, AI consultant and the former innovation director at We Are Social. In this latest installment, Rachel Falconer, head of Goldsmiths Digital Studios offers her thoughts on the impact blockchain will have on the marketing industry.

Each episode of The Shiny New Object Podcast will be distributed in partnership with The Drum and can be followed by subscribing through the Apple podcast app (which also currently features the SheSays Says series) here on the website or follow The Drum's SoundCloud page.

Tom Ollerton is a consultant in the field of creative artificial intelligence. He helps brands use the speed and scale of AI to make their content and media budgets work harder. Tom runs a monthly meetup called ‘I’ll Be Back’ that studies the intersection of creativity, ads and AI. Each week he interviews an influential marketer about their favourite new marketing technology.

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Sony Pictures Network unveils a digital campaign for the 18th Asian Games

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Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India has unveiled the #KoiKasarNahi (No stone will be left unturned) campaign for the 18th Asian Games to be held in Indonesia.

As part of the campaign, SPN will be hosting a ‘Fan Flame’ on its microsite . Inspired by the Asian Games torch that burns in the cauldron for the duration of the Games, the virtual Fan Flame will have message of support that will be passed on to the participating Indian athletes.

To feature on the virtual Fan Flame, fans will need to use hashtag #KoiKasaNahi on social media platforms. SPN will broadcast live more than 300+ hours of the Asian Games in both Hindi and English.

It will also have a live studio show with panelists like wrestler Jagdish Kaliraman, hockey champions Sandeep Singh, Viren Rasquinha, and Jagbir Singh, tennis players Somdev Devvarman and Gaurav Natekar, badminton player Aparna Popat, and expert columnists Ayaz Memon and Boria Majumdar.

Rajesh Kaul, president, Sports and Distribution Business, Sony Pictures Networks India said: “At Sony Pictures Networks India we have always promoted a multi-sport culture and it doesn't get bigger than the 18th Asian Games.

"As our athletes compete across 36 sports and against sportspeople from 45 countries, we will bring fans and viewers the ultimate experience to enjoy the Asian Games. As patriotic fans, it’s our utmost duty to give our unrelenting support to our athletes just as they will give on this stage.”

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