Workshop - Write to Be Read
Alexandra Williams, MA
Ashley and Alexandra are twins that run www.funandfit.org
1. Write in a way that readers will engage with you.
a. All good writing needs a purpose statement.
b. Purpose statement should be at the very start.
c. Learn to shift from the writer’s to reader’s perspective to enhance response
d. Always ask yourself: Who are you writing for?
2. Circle how many times you write I, Square how many times you wrote you- If you have a lot of I, and not a lot of you it is time to revise.
3. A good example of a purpose statement from, Cucina Testa Rossa: “If you are in charge of the chili tomorrow, here is a tried and true recipe for you.”
a. It’s telling you exactly what you are about to read
4. If you are writing to attract money or product, you must write with brands in mind.
a. Grammar, cursing, spelling, consistency of opinion and position
b. Consistency of opinion- Politics and religion don’t belong on blogs- you are automatically deleting 50% of your readers.
c. This matters on posts, comments, and all social media
d. Ethics is important- don’t change your portion because of a ambassadorship or sponsor. You will break trust with your audience
5. If you don’t pay attention to your grammar and spelling, why would I trust that your recipe is good/ works? Spelling and grammar matter.
6. What is the oatmeal syndrome? If you write thinking I don’t want to offend anybody or make anyone mad. You won’t bother anybody, but no one will remember you. Just like you don’t remember if you ate oatmeal for breakfast. Until somebody hates you, you’re not successful. Don’t be afraid to have strong feelings about something.
7. Audience question: If you have a sponsored post and somebody leaves a negative comment, how do you handle it? A: Publish them, but don’t necessary respond. Brands aren’t paying for you to cover stuff up. They are paying for exposure. Brands want to know feedback.
8. Negative comments: They say more about the person. Let them go. The commenters will reply and take car of them.
9. Audience Question: When someone asks you tot eat at your restaurant, do you have to write about it? Thing of your blog as valuable real estate. You can also tweet, facbeook, instagram. Work this out in advance with the restaurant. What are the expectations of the visit? Your readers will trust your position. Be authentic so that your readers will continue to trust your option.
10. Do you write informally or formally? Be aware of the difference between the two. You can still write informally, but be professional.
11. Are you an editor? Yes, everyone is an editor. Speed bumps are when you have to stop and slow down to read something. Most likely, that means you should revise.
12. Formal writing: Do you use the word therefore or hence? No! Write as you would speak. You want your writing to serve not stifle the conversation.
13. Audience question: I say “y’all” when I write… Is that a turn off for brands? A: No. You are your brand and y’all is part of you. If the brand doesn’t like that then it’s not the right fit for you.
14. All writers want some sort of action, even just to read or know.
a. Readers have habits in common
b. Readers like the first paragraph best
15. Do you speak to your boss the same way you speak to your kids? Are you going to tell your boss to “stop talking to me”? Probably not. Who you are is not going to change, but you are going to write for you audience.
a. Who am I writing to and how can I be myself?
b. If a brand hires us, we want them to know how we are going to write.
c. Better writing leads to more money
16. Looking for a unique angle and topic for posts
a. What do you like to read?
b. What do you think your audience would like to read?
c. What is your intended audience? Are you writing for a brand? How would you word a post about a restaurant you didn’t like? You are writing for your readers and the restaurant that hired you.
i. If you really hate something, write to the brand and ask them what they would like you to do.
ii. Respect your readers
iii. It’s ok t okay I didn’t really like this, but maybe it was a different chef or bad time of day.
17. Find your niche.
a. What has not already been said? How could you say it another way or with a different angle? Paleo, gluten free, allergies?
b. Why should I read your work? You are going to take their PR blurb and but it in your authentic voice with your spin.
18. PR companies will pitch you. When you are pitching a company, make sure and find a name. “Dear person I have spent 30 minutes looking for you name, but I can not find it.” –Tells the brand you spent 30 minutes researching.
19. Product review you want to read, by Yum Yucky: Use words like: gazillion, biotiches, nom The product review is totally unique and you want to read it.
20. Would you work with this PR company: “I want to publish some high quality guest blogs on your guest blogging site…” –No, thank you.
21 Tips for editing your self
a. Spellcheck is not your friend. Do you know anybody smarter than yourself? No! Spell check it not as smart as you! Don’t trust it!
b. Get a 2nd pair of eyes.
c. Walk away from a post if you’re struggling. Your brain is tired.
d. The human brain organizes in patterns. We like predictability and consistency. Your readers are looking for order.
22. It’s OK to get help.
23. Technical skills: spelling, parallel structure, apostrophes, here is/ are, action vs no action, active v. passive
a. Parallel Structure: Gives order to a sentence
b. Apostrophes: twitter and texting we take them out.
c. Here is/ are: Take it out! “Here is the recipe you need to create chili” take out the here is.
d. Action is saying go do something: Write to be read. No action is passive: Writing to be read
e. Active v. passive is the voice: I will stop this lecture on time. Vs. This lecture will be stopped on time. Active voice is generally preferred. Passive voice de-personalizes.
f. PS statements: are a quick hit action item at the end of a post.
a. Your/ you’re: Check yourself with “you are.”
b. Its/ it’s: Check yourself with “it is.”
c. Apart/ A part: Apart as one word means away from. I am glad to be away from… =Apart
d. Their/ There/ They’re: Their- You own it. Always has a noun after it. Their book. Their outfit. There-Geographical location They’re- They are.
e. Elicit/ Illicit: Elicit a response, eliciting a response Illicit- Illicit behavior.
f. Further/ farther: Further- time Farther- physical distance
g. Lay/lie: Lay needs a noun after it. Lie is the action.
25. Voice: Good example from Breakfast to bed, “I have tan boobs.” Makes you want to keep reading. She always tells a little story, transitions, and then gives a delicious recipe.
26. Audince question: I like the idea of telling a story at the beginning, but what about a purpose statement. A: The purpose statement is the title of the post.
27. Your personality should come out in your writing.
28. Audience question: With SEO, how do you still add personality and voice, but get your keywords in the post. A: Google has changed slightly so that keywords are not as big of a deal. Add certain keywords into the title.. Don’t let SEO and keywords effect your voice and personality.
29. Don’t be shy with PR companies. Tell them what products ate good for your readers and what is not good and why.
30. Time to write: Are you writing a post, pitch, email reply to comment?
31. Have a call to action with links on every post: Do you have your social media icons on the top of your site?
32. Audience Question: What is your favorite grammar book? A: 30 Days to Better Vocabulary