“It is the writer who might catch the imagination of people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.” - Isaac Asimov
Writing. The challenge of capturing a feeling with words to establish meaning.
Words. Thoughts made explicit that result in what we say and how we say it. Words are easily said. When used right, words can be powerful, and a tool to express ourselves with nuances. Words turn into conversations; what we mean versus what is interpreted.
What do we mean to say when writing? That brings us to the purpose of this blog series about writing that we are going to sway into the world. In this case, the writer is us. But we'd like to claim that everyone can write! If you feel like expressing yourself. Whether you write for fun or for your business, it would be nice to be able to 'hit the right note', making your piece of creativity meaningful for those who read it.
Company writing is seen as an effective tool for businesses to communicate. Communication is for people as well as businesses a core competence, right? All writings should be aligned with your company's identity and voice, before it can make an impact on your readers. As great content is considered key for businesses in order to 'count and stand out', we want to share our experience in writing by showing how we create content at aFrogleap.
The content machine
Since a while now we've been writing blogs about a variety of topics that arouse our interests and cover our expertise. A true process of content creation that represents the company's identity with the purpose of informing our readers and engaging them with all that we do at aFrogleap.
Our content marketing - aka 'Maxime's regime' - came to live with the creation of a content marketing strategy. In short, this is the larger story that a company wants to tell, taking into account key business values, content goals and audience needs. What do you want to communicate? What topics are of interest to your readers? In fact, who are your readers anyway? The high level questions you should be asking yourself in order to create great content. We will deal with audience and writing persona's in a next blog.
Creating content requires a well-oiled contentmachinethat ensures continuity: your content strategy. As part of this, you think about how to measure success, which channels to use as well as your content goals, tonality, audience etc. In order to put this into practice, you create an editorial formula or plan of action.
In the process of content creation, we must take into account the different phases of ideation, planning, production, publication and distribution of your content. In addition, managing your content stream also means tracking the content you create.
In our editorial plan we distinguish three content topics - 'identity', 'work series', and 'fun & innovation' - as we write about who we are and who we work with, how we work, and what we love and what drives us.
As equally important - and often overlooked - you should also bear in mind the integration of content creation within your company. Speaking of communication and support of the team. And simply organizing the writing process and gathering several writers to ensure variety yet consistency (keep the balance!).
But for now, let's focus on the process of writing: blogging. Because it all starts with writing and writing some more. You just have to dare to open up and be vulnerable. As freely as a child who knows no fear of embarrassment and rejection. Everyone can do it. You just need to start and know a few tricks.
So how to begin..?
And so the writing begins. Let's say that you can start writing from scratch or re-purpose an existing piece of writing. Beginnings can be messy, chaotic or even hard. That's Ok. There are certain writing techniques that we can use to put that first words on paper:
- "Freewrite" - Write long and don't even think about writing short (yet)! Like a waterfall, get everything out what's in. Editing and formatting will come later.
- "Let your mind wander" - Mind mapping. Create a web of words and associations. Whatever comes to mind, and connect the pieces.
- "Better well-stolen than badly invented" - We're drowning in information overload. Don't try to create something totally new, search for a content model and rewrite it! Make sure you reference well though.
- "Sing your favorite song" - What do you actually like to read? What tone or choice of words most appeal to you? Look for a similar voice or vibe and imitate it.
Learning by doing
Now let me be vulnerable to take this writing piece as an example. It took me a few months to clarify my thoughts, come up with a good storyline in order to bring it all together. Besides, I'll even need a few blogs to write everything I want to say about 'writing'. In short, writing is a creative process, and perhaps, it will take a while. So don't try to 'nail' your text in one draft or in one writing session. Instead, write a lot and use different writing methods. In that way, you will make the writing part way easier. Shift the focus more to editing and formatting, and let others 'proofread' your text.
Want to know where this is heading? In the coming blogs we will focus on the things that should be considered in reaching out to your reader: Who is your audience? What is your tone of voice? What are 'key ingredients' for a good story? And finally, what is the story that we want to tell as aFrogleap? Where did it all begin...?
See you next time!