Blogging is one of my favorite activities. I get all warm and fuzzy when I’m asked to write a blog at work. Especially as we are most definitely believers in the power of content. In Penguin HQ, we love white boards. In the writer’s room, the boards are covered with rules and “No No Words”. Those boards are the penguin writers’ bible - we live by it and follow its rules as if Douglas Adams himself scribbled them on to the holy whiteness. I thought I’d share some of these blogging Gems with you.
Remember you’re talking to people!
Whichever business you’re in - if you’re selling cupcakes on mass to hotels and café’s or a SaaS cloud solution - the person reading your material is just that, a person. Even if a subject fascinates you, if what you’re reading is written like a high school math textbook it’s going to put you to sleep. The Oxford Dictionary, that bastion of “proper English” recently added the words “amazeballs”, “neck beard” and “SMH” (Shake My Head). While I’m not advocating for Microsoft to start using “YOLO” while “Humblebragging”, addressing your audience as if you’re both humans is a good step to helping them understand why you’re the industry leader in what you do. So when writing, don’t be afraid of a conversational tone…you’ll have more fun writing and your audience will have more fun reading.
Tell a story
Yep! A nice fluffy story with unicorns and rainbows, but most importantly, lots and lots of meat (apologies to my fellow vegetarians)! Bridget Jone’s Diary would be boring if there wasn’t any drama, Harry Potter would have been a flop if Harry’s life was all plain sailing, and LoTR – well let’s just say I skipped a couple of pages because I actually don’t need to know what Sam and Frodo had for breakfast – A good example of fluff. We have a rule in our office “Fluff is for Morris, not marketing!” Your story should have a beginning, middle and end, and include enough information in the middle and a twist at the end.
Give people something worth reading
There isn’t any point in explaining some obscure point of your industry if nobody understands the basics. I experienced this recently. We’re blessed at penguin with clients that we love, and I tend to get very excited about the people I write for. Recently, I was explaining to a friend what it is one of our customers does and after a 5 minute rant, my friend asked me – “but what is it used for?!” I’d forgotten to start at the beginning. Not all of your target audience are always going to be experts in your fields so you’re first step should always be to explain why a certain post or subject is even relevant to a reader, without assuming expert knowledge and without being patronizing. A wise man once said: “You know this, but you need reminding.” It’s always worth reminding ourselves of the basics to make sure our content is on target, preforming well and achieving the all-important ROI goals.