Brand management is a hot topic, especially when considering the impact the Internet has on the success of small and large businesses, no matter the industry. But the online environment present in today’s business world constantly fluctuates and it can feel overwhelming when you are trying to create a consistent message. It’s about more than fancy logos or graphics and indeed, if Google is telling us anything right now, it’s that the written word does count for something. Considering I am a writing professional, running a writing business, this makes me happy. Even so, while writing has always come naturally to me, I recognize it is a challenge for others. Whether your personal branding efforts are targeted at growing your business, selling a book, rewriting a resume or just upping the quality of your content on your social media pages or blog, here are some helpful tips:
- Identify your readership and talk directly to them. I know there have been times when I have been on a website or reading a book where I feel that the author was speaking directly to me. And if anything, it made me feel connected to that material and value it that much more. This is such an important rule to follow no matter what you are writing. Remember, writing success relates directly to whether a reader values the material and feels it is relevant to their needs and desires. In order to attain this, you must identify what your intended reader wants to discover from your piece. Are they looking to solve a problem? Do they have a goal to reach for? Ultimately, the reader must be engaged and your writing must resonate with them. To do this as a writer, you must know your audience and always speak directly to them. This means you need to understand them!
- Decide on topics and plan your schedule accordingly. Hey, I’m a professional writer, so I understand the concept of sometimes “winging it” and writing furiously to meet a deadline. I’ve been there, but I do not encourage this! In fact, if we did this at Grammar Chic I can tell you that it probably wouldn’t be a pretty picture. In order to be successful in your personal or business branding efforts and to be consistent, I suggest you devise a calendar. Internally, my staff and I call this the “job board” and it helps us manage our deadlines for our clients on a day-to-day basis. While this might differ a bit for you on a personal level, I suggest if you manage a blog, run a social media account, or simply want to make sure that your company’s website content is up-to-date to appease the search engines, that you create a calendar of the topics you want to write on and when. This way, you won’t feel the pressure or even be faced with the dreaded “writer’s block” when you know you have to write a post or a website page. You will already have your topic identified…all you will have to do is write it!
- Write your material and then “sit” on it. I cannot stress this rule enough. The reason? You might need a bit of time to make sure you wrote something that you want to put out there for the world to see. Whether it is making sure you have the perspective to identify awkward writing or if you simply want to make sure that your proofreading skills are up to par, it’s much easier to do this with fresh eyes. I tell my on-staff writers this all the time, and the best tip I can provide to you is to read whatever you wrote aloud. As an adult reader, you probably have the capability of reading text quickly on a computer screen, but this doesn’t allow your brain the time to catch up and really identify a mistake. Therefore, pretend you are a Kindergarten student and read aloud, taking the time to sound out each word. I can guarantee you will catch mistakes that you didn’t see before, and your readers will thank you for it.
- Keep an open mind and always welcome learning opportunities. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if you are writing a topical blog or appealing to a certain industry via social media. However, in order to create compelling content and engage new readers, you have to be open to learning new things. Commit to reading material each week that is outside of your industry or interest area. You never know what you are going to discover and how it could help your writing. For instance, I have typically hired entry-level writers because they are highly adaptable. However, there is a downside here. While I might have spent several years in corporate America and have a developed acumen about business and other industries, they do not. I encourage each of them to take this piece of advice and investigate something they normally would not be interested in. Not only does it open their minds to new concepts and material, but it also helps their vocabulary, which in turn benefits them, and my company, when they write for different Grammar Chic clients. If you are looking to improve as a writer, but don’t have the time to enroll in Writing 101 at your local community college, think about studying the writing of successful bloggers and writers online. Trust me, you will learn a lot.
- Make your writing a habit. I know that it’s easy to make a to-do list each day and I also realize that it’s easy to throw a to-do list out the window when you get too busy or have other commitments to deal with. But in order to be successful in your writing, you have to make it a habit and stop thinking about it as an “event.” Schedule time, create a process and know what it takes for you to get your blog post, social media content, press release for your company, etc. done. Writing might not be the easiest thing in the world for you, nor may your abilities come naturally, but writing for success in today’s Internet-based world is based on habit, not talent.
As the end of the year approaches, this is the ideal time to make a New Year’s resolution related to your writing goals. I am happy to respond to any of your questions related to the writing process, but if you are looking for the help of a professional, feel free to visit www.grammarchic.net for more information about how my team might be able to assist you. Remember to think of writing as a key element to your personal or professional success and not as a chore. A reader can always tell when written material is forced by the author or written under pressure. Likewise, they can also identify when it is inspired. Good luck!
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.