Write Better: Read
Great fiction writers will tell you there are two things they need to do to master their craft. They’re the same techniques for content marketers too.
The first tip: write more. If you’re a copywriter, social media manager or blogger, you spend a good chunk of your day writing. If you want to be better – keep. on. doing. it.
Write ‘Top 5’ help guides, and long feature articles. Try media releases and event blurbs. Set up a regular, themed article series that becomes so hotly anticipated you’re forced to produce more!
Practice makes perfect.
The second tip is a little more unexpected. But it’s one we small business owners and content marketers do less of (time poor peeps put your hand up with me!), and that’s why we have to talk about it and commit to it!
You need to READ more.
I know you have excuses. They’re the same as mine. You’re too busy skimming Facebook. Too busy cooking dinner. Too busy going to webinars. Too busy spending time with family, listening to podcasts, driving home, working out. and the list goes on.
Here are eight simple ideas about why you should read more; and how you can do it.
Four reasons marketers should start reading more now
- Reading teaches you to write. You’ll learn to craft language in new and beautiful ways. This doesn’t have to be a deliberate copying strategy – you will absorb new techniques and recall them almost subconsciously in later writing.
- Reading opens you to new ideas about your industry. Industry trends, consumer preferences, trending lists, popular event ideas – all is revealed by reading.
- Reading spurs you on to change, innovate, and improve. You’ll be inspired by witnessing the success of other people and businesses and discovering their unique stories, You’ll gain the confidence to take a risk and try something new in your writing too.
- Reading will ensure your stories stay contemporary and relevant to your audience and clients.
Four things marketers can read right now
- LinkedIn. Find and follow some interesting characters writing articles about the stuff you love. Read the articles your colleagues ‘like’. My favourite writer on LinkedIn is a master of brevity – Bernadette Jiwa, from The Story of Telling.
- Medium – or another content collation app that feeds you new stories. I am always fed articles by pessimistic pep-talk guru (somehow, it works) Jeff Goins. Try his article on ‘Good Writers Read‘. Check different interests and news sources to expand your horizons.
- Free magazines. Head to your local library and pick up some paper. There’s something special about flicking through the pages instead of getting all your content online. I’ve started visiting my local library to read articles in magazines I wouldn’t normally buy because I can’t get through the entire thing, like Meanjin. You can also pick up a zeitgeist just by browsing the covers of the latest mags, which might spark a story idea for your business.
- Novels. Join a book club to keep you accountable. Check out all the existing bookclubs in your area on meetup.com. You could also sign up to the very cool Melbourne Books on the Rail Book Ninja subscription service – for $20 they post you a surprise novel each month, anywhere in Oz.
If you’re still not sure about reading more, listen to Stephen King. In his uber famous book On Writing he tells us to write more and READ more to be better writers. And then, try Carrie 🙂
Happy reading, writers!