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Making your first time magic: writing for an audience.

First times are exciting and a bit scary, but there’s a lot that we can learn from the experience.

Do you remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels? That time you made it all the way to the end of the pool without taking a breath? How about when you first went on a plane overseas? There’s a first time for everything, right?

For years I was a writer of personal, unpublished, unscrutinised content but I never utilised the digital medium. Admittedly I’m a little slow on the uptake at times, but to be honest I enjoyed the cathartic nature of pen to paper (and still do). But it’s not easy putting that first foot forward knowingly allowing public scrutiny and cementing your digital footprint.

So you’ve landed a sweet role in the digital marketing department for an awesome company, your enthusiasm is beaming then your boss turns to you and says, ‘We need a company blog, can you create and manage it for us?’  You instantly feel the water rising and with arms flailing, gargling, bubbles coming out of your mouth, ‘Whaat?!? How?…I don’t know my Teflon from my stainless steel!’

My own fear was confronted when during a course I was doing I needed to create a blog, and as part of the exercise I had to alert people to its presence. As much as I believed in my ability to write I had to take a deep breath before I hit publish on my first post. But the more we do it the better we get. Our confidence grows and the distant inner whisper turns into a respectable, natural voice that initialises conversation.

 

7 things I learnt from my first time

1) It’s not that scary – get your best dress on and put yourself out there

2) Plan and strategise – be goal orientated. Who do you want to read it? Write for them and only them.

3) The red pen is your friend – write write write, then edit edit edit. The digital world is time poor, your readers don’t want waffle. Succinct is best.

4) Write what you know – ok so this is not always easy in a marketing role but you can be creative in how you present topics and relate to your audience.

5) Do your research – talk to people, ask questions, support what you’re saying with examples.

6) Find your voice –  give your writing personality with style and tone, be loud and clear

7) Be mindful of SEO and keywords but don’t let it dominate your writing – you want to inform your readers not bore them by making it inaccessible

 

Believe me, the fear will subside and soon you’ll be waving at it from behind the massive pile of awesome content you’ve created.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on August 13, 2013.

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