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Marketing People – Improve Your Writing Skills

February 26, 2017 Leave a comment

agreementTo be a great marketing person you need to be:

  • Organized and a good project manager
  • A great communicator including being able to write effectively

This post will focus on how a marketing person can improve their writing skills.  No matter the marketing channels you use, a marketing person needs to be an excellent writer.  Period.  If you are not, then make it a goal to improve.

Each marketing channel (Twitter, blog, website, landing page, eBook, Facebook, data sheets, brochures, articles, etc.) has a different tone and style.  Make sure you know the tone to use when writing for that particular channel.

But in all cases grammar, spelling and clarity matter.  Even if it is just emails to others, writing accurately and concise is important for your career.

Here are some thoughts and suggestions on how to improve your writing:

  • Have a personal blog.  Set up a plan and write consistent blog posts.  I got to be a better writer by writing posts for my blog, especially when I decided to do a blog post a day for an entire month.  Read here for my blog post concerning that month of writing.
  • Keep a book journal.  As you read a personal development book or a business book write down notes.  Ideas are reinforced in the mind when they are written down.
  • For some, keeping a personal journal is helpful.  The more you write the better you will write. Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • Read. Read lots. Reading good writing will make you a better writer.
  • Read Stephen King’s book, On Writing.  Understand the habits and mindset of a great writer.  He mentions that after you write your draft go back in and cut down the copy.  I do this every time I write a blog post.
  • Get a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Review is as it will give you the fundamentals you need.
  • Purchase Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.  This provides up to date information on how to write for the various marketing channels.

  • Read articles on English usage such as their vs. there or its vs. it’s.  Or how about site, cite, sight.  Nothing shows that you are not a good writer more than incorrect usage.
  • Subscribe to the Copyblogger and Problogger blogs.  Review their posts and follow their advice.
  • When in doubt about something, please look it up.  If working for a company then review the company’s style guide and look up usage when in doubt.  Be consistent.  For example, we had to make a decision on do we use “life cycle” or “lifecycle”.  Either is fine but you need to be consistent.  Also decide on capitalization.  At a company I worked at we decided to use “HelpDesk” instead of help desk to describe our support team.  Again, be consistent, including on tenses.
David Ogilvy is considered to be the father of advertising and was known for his ability to communicate a clear vision.  He wrote (in 1982) a famous memo, titled “How to Write”, to his employees.  He stated “People who think well, write well.” as well as “Good writing is not a natural gift.  You have to learn to write well.”.  Some of his hints in the memo included:
  • Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  • Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  • Never use jargon words.
It is to your benefit to improve your written communication skills.  Writing is a skill that can be taught, refined, and improved. The written word is still a powerful tool used in marketing. The better you write the better your marketing will be.  Hope that his post helped you improve.  Feel free to let me know what you have done to be a better writer.
Photo credit: stocksnap.io (68)

You are What You Read – Always be Learning

July 30, 2016 Leave a comment

I am a big reader.  I think you should always be learning and to do that you need to read.  It is fun to discuss with others the books you are reading and enjoying.  I was disappointed when LinkedIn discontinued as part of a person’s profile, the books that they had read.  I would get comments all the time from connections on the books that I had read.

Many individuals don’t read books anymore.  They are going more to videos or blog posts.  These are fine, but sometimes you need more detail and that means books.

Reading is listening to others. And that is how you learn, learn from others and their experiences and knowledge.

Books clear your mind.  Books educate you and make you more creative.  Carve out time to fill your mind with useful stuff.  Unplug and read.  Stop playing solitaire and cut down on your FaceBook posts.

A few thoughts:

  • Read anywhere, anytime.  Have a book with you (or eReader) and grab a few minutes of reading in those in between minutes while doing something else such as waiting at a doctor’s office, waiting for a table at a restaurant or waiting for a friend for coffee.
  • I like to read books on business trips or vacations especially on planes.  Sometimes business books but mostly mysteries or science fiction.  Take advantage of those long stretches of time to read a lot.
  • To get the full value of the book, when done reading, summarize it in a book journal. Writing down the main points of the book helps to lock the lessons in your mind.  And your journal will be a resource for you to review at a later time.
  • You don’t only have to read books.  I like to read content from a few of websites such as http://www.marketingprofs.com and http://www.thesaleslion.com.  Great information on these sites.  I like to read print magazines including Sunset (love to learn about new places to travel to) and Time (try to stay current on news).
  • Don’t forget to find books on subjects that are outside of your comfort zone.  I enjoy science fiction books every once in awhile.  I read the Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars series and it was fascinating on the teamwork that was necessary and the interpersonal relationships between the adventurers.  Don’t always read the same type such as mystery books (which I read a lot of).
  • Doesn’t matter if physical book  or eReader (great for long airplane flights) or audio books (especially if you are in the car a lot or working out at the gym).  Just read.
  • One suggestion is to follow the 5 hour rule that Ben Franklin used in his adult life.  Invest 1 hour 5 days a week in deliberate learning.  Make it a habit and be part of your routine.  During this time set personal-growth goals and experiment.  Franklin’s 5 hour rule reflects the very simple idea that, over time, the smartest and most successful people are the ones who are constant and deliberate learners.  Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are big readers. Oprah Winfrey credits books with much of her success and says “Books were my pass to personal freedom.”
  • Plan out the reading and learning.  Set aside time just for reading and learning.
  • Prioritize your reading and keep a list of books and articles to read.
  • I get a lot of what I read via suggestions from others.  Talk among your friends and colleagues and ask them what books they are reading or their favorite books.  Maybe they will share with you a copy of their favorite book.   The reading of the same book is a relationship building event.
  • Read what you are in the mood for.  If I’m in the mood for a mystery book, it doesn’t matter how good the business book is, I won’t like it.
  • Pick the best time for you to read.  Don’t force it.  Maybe it is when you 1st wake up.  Maybe it is during lunch in a park, or maybe it is laying in bed right before you fall asleep.

Reading is personal.  To achieve your goals, you should always be learning and reading is an important part of learning.  Go grab a book and start your enhanced reading journey.  What are your thoughts on reading?

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