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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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Marketing Day: Blockchain myths, digital billboards & Belgian court fines Facebook

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Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

From Marketing Land:

Recent Headlines From MarTech Today, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Marketing Technology:

Online Marketing News From Around The Web:

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Bold kids looking for adventure are featured in new campaign for Universal Parks & Resorts

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The kids featured in the new ‘Grow Bolder’ campaign for Universal Parks & Resorts are ready to take off the training wheels and go on adventures.

The national brand campaign for Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood showcases Universal theme parks as destinations for kids who are ready to take the next step and up their vacation quotients.

Created in partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and David&Goliath, the campaign features a cinematic, black and white spot featuring kids who are empowered and eager to stand on their own, speak for themselves and boldly take on the respective parks.

We see a young wizard in Harry Potter’s world ready to wave a wand, plus a kid who isn’t afraid to venture in with the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, or wield a ray gun with Minions, go face to face with King Kong or save the planet with Transformers.

“This campaign captures the essence of what we offer our guests every day,” said Alice Norsworthy, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. “Our theme parks offer the kind of vacation experiences that allow families to vacation together and to grow together.”

Added David Angelo, founder and chairman of David&Goliath: “Now more than ever kids are growing up fast, and we wanted to be a part of that growth. But instead of telling kids ‘you don’t have to grow up,’ we let them speak for themselves. We see fearless kids boldly challenging themselves in the most cinematic way. And we show that what you experience at Universal Parks is more than a day of smiles, it’s a chance to truly grow in ways beyond what you imagined.”

Throughout the campaign, Universal Parks & Resorts and David&Goliath will introduce new initiatives and creative on all platforms from social to digital to ambient, all amplifying the brand’s ‘Grow Bolder’ message to kids and families around the world.

The spot airs during the last week of the Winter Olympics on NBC and its affiliates.

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Cristiano Ronaldo refuses to part with his suitcase in spot for American Tourister

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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is starring in a spot for luggage brand American Tourister in which he causes quite a stir at an airport for refusing to separate from his suitcase.

Created by TBWA\Spain, which has been tapped by American Tourister to lead the brand's global campaign efforts this year, the spot encourages travelers to ‘Bring Back More’ from their trips. According to the agency, Ronaldo personifies this tagline since he “brings back more memories, experiences and memorabilia from every trip.”

Directed by Augusto de Fraga, the spot features Ronaldo strolling through an airport with a bright yellow bag. When an airline attendant asks him for his luggage at the check-in counter, he smiles and shakes his head before jumping onto the conveyer belt alongside his suitcase. He then proceeds to stay with his bag throughout his entire journey – even during the flight and all the way to the baggage carousel – as fans gawk and snap pictures.

Video of Cristiano Ronaldo – American Tourister TVC

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On social, American Tourister is asking fans to guess what’s in Ronaldo’s bag by posting a photo of their best guess along with the hashtags #BringBackMore and #AmericanTourister. Those who submit ideas will have the chance to win a trip to Russia for two or some of American Tourister’s products.

According to TBWA\Spain, the brand will be releasing different activations with the football legend in the upcoming months.

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