This article got published in Noteworthy – The Journal Blog.
At gunpoint, your last wish is to write? In the middle of a day-dream, you end up wanting to write? As you frantically call it a day, your brain shamelessly drives you to write? In a world that’s reminding you of a million reasons to write and make your neocortex work overtime, there are a hundred….well at least eight ways, to peacefully pen down your words. You heard it right. Become a better-informed writer, the next time you publish your piece, for here are 8 Pocket-friendly (literally, save up to read this later!), tried-and-tested (by a fellow you, that’s me!) lessons your journal is longing to preserve. Let’s neatly ink ’em up, one by one.
Time and tide don’t wait, but content surely does
Most of us have a habit of writing something and expecting to publish the same immediately. Saw your pal post something yesterday? It’s surprising if you don’t end up with a piece on your social wall. A new topic to write ends up in the “go ahead and stop not until to finish the piece” phase. Yes, these are the golden minutes and hours that push you to write more. The problem doesn’t reside there; it only arises the minute you start time-stamping a content piece.
What’s written today needn’t go live today; not even tomorrow or next week. Sometimes, the best of the content sees light only at unexpected times and when you have half-forgotten memories of writing such a thing. This reminds me of a post that I thought would not receive much attention, because I felt I was the only one who was psyched up by psychology. To my surprise, I got an opportunity to publish this piece in a renowned marketing platform, nearly a year after I wrote the same, and received so many positive reviews.
So, the next time you write a piece — about anything at all — and end up not publishing it, don’t worry. There’ll always be better opportunities to go live. And, remember — no content goes waste. Ever.
Let your content don many hats
If you ever notice keenly, content has the ability to reproduce and restructure in many formats. Let’s say you’ve written something that qualifies as a full-length 600-word article. The essence of the same article can be repurposed and represented as an infographic, visually pleasing and engaging. The very same theme can be adapted as an introductory video or a quick consumable podcast. More than ever, one could also break down every little aspect of the article into individual GIFs or images. The creativity is totally under your control in such a way that for every little piece you write, your content replicates and creates an entourage.
A very good example of this kind is how LonePack’s page-long article could be converted into visual-rich content cards, and how a podcast could turn into a video, transcript-ed blog, and easy-read snippets. Only thing you need to learn is that — the content options are boundless.
Note: Bonus points if you’re SEO-centric. All of these help you in the longer run in building a steady brand (you’re a story, yourself, storyteller!).
Anchor on your power idea
I figured this trick much later, but it comes to relief whenever I end up in a rigmarole, struggling to prioritize the themes I want to write about. And, truth be told, this doesn’t work all the time, so the time it works — embrace it!
If you have a handful of themes to write, check whether each of those can be explained by you in a line, a paragraph, and an essay (yes, all the three!). The first will eventually become your title, next one the introductory paragraph, and the last being the whole article itself.
At any given instant, your power idea is the one that can be both put in a nutshell and elasticized into a passage and an article. That’s exactly what you need to pick, from the big bunch of topics that you have.
Don’t over-play the platform
There’s often a quandary that writers get into — choosing the right mediums to publish their content. Should we think of the platform to publish and then start writing, or is it vice-versa? Though people may have their own versions of answering this, what has worked for me is a standardization technique — between the content and the platform.
While this may seem placing weight on the content’s end, the platform also eventually gets considered — though not overridden. The solution boils down to how much of your thoughts would you like to reason out for the topic at hand. Are you voicing your thoughts as a 250-charactered Tweet, a checklist-ed passage on LinkedIn, or a string of paragraphs on Medium? Well, it all depends on the measure of the words. So, stop fretting over which platform to choose, and start thinking on what value you have to add to the content. And, the rest will fall in place.
Fix up your own plug-box
If there’s something that’s seen my brain’s worked up self-talks, it’s my notes app on the phone. The notes I add there are random — from the funny ideas that sprung after a candid call with a friend, to the thoughts fresh out of my 2 AM mind. The pages I stumble upon, the articles I bookmark, the words I write to manage my anger, the topics I think I could revisit for my writing, (insert every possible thought straight outta brain) — everything goes into my notes app. In other words, it’s my plug-box. And, you might never know what kind of powerful connections can birth from this terminal.
I feel the best thing to boost one’s writing is to have one’s own version of a plug-box. It could be an app, journal, or anything. Discover your terminal space and start giving a path to your thoughts. Now, would you believe this article is an adaptation of a wire from my plug-box? You would (read should), for that’s the truth. Your plug-box is your mayhem, master-space, and maker behind your writing.
Flag force-feeding and fear
The two frenemies a writer can possess are force-feed and fear. They’re called ‘frenemies’ because they try to do good, but end up in staggering your content.
How often do you have the urge to extend your content? Picking up on our earlier lessons of ‘power idea’ and ‘platform play,’ we have a tendency to add more water to a bottle than it can contain, with a good reason for quenching the thirst that comes later on. But you know the result? Water spills on over-pouring. So, by force-feeding your article with more content, with the views of providing a sound approach, you end up decreasing the value it holds. Stop when you think the content has taken its best form, even when it’s just two lines.
The next flag to address is the fear of putting content on the table. While one takes up the courage to write, more often than not, that piece doesn’t see the publishing light. This fear is good, but as long as you channel it in the yielding way. Fear not to criticize your own work. Repeated analysis (not action paralysis) of your content, at least in the initial days, helps you tinker with your offering and polishes the final product.
Find solace in synopsis
Flash-back! Let’s go back to our high school days and think of the greatest English class lesson that stood the time. It’s definitely Precis writing and essay writing (Good ol’ Wren & Martin days). What’s commonly observed in both of these is the power of short structures and the ability to expand them into extending sections (recollect power idea concept, yet again!). And, just like that, let’s say hello to synopsis — the god of writing.
What I love about synopsis is how much thoughts could be collected in just a few sentences and words. Doubt this? The subtitles of this article were the only points in my synopsis, and I’m not kidding when I say my synopsis drove this entire essay. So, try jotting down your content in the form of synopsis next time, and see how it empowers you to complete (brownies if you do micro-journaling).
Write for your soul
And, just like that, we’re here at the last and most important point — write the content that connects with your soul. Sometimes, you don’t have to declare and behold anything to the world. Just writing some passages for yourself to recollect and fuel your further works is an art. Once you master that, you can’t undo. But, did I tell you it takes eons to do that? Well, now I do.
Hopefully, these eight quoted content marketing lessons from my personal diary helps all of you to enjoy writing, take pride in your work, and create meaningful pieces of content.