Writing is equal parts laborious and glorious. Everyone knows that, especially us, TrueLogic writers. Every day, we read different documents, do some research, and consult references and editors just to come up with one article. There is also writer’s block, which can strike anytime.
Our job may not appear fancy, and yet, we are certain ours is one of the best jobs in the world. Through writing, we get to touch lives and immortalize ideas. It may sound cheesy, but this is how I see it.
Passion, however, is not always enough to help everyone get through the day. It also takes skill, knowing that we are in an industry where creation, persuasion, and disruption are commonplace. This is the reason the Content Department organized a training program on Saturday, August 9th for all its writers.
Other than helping us connect with our readers by making our writing more relevant, the training was a testament to the company’s strong commitment to quality. As an inexperienced and mostly self-taught writer, I appreciated the valuable opportunity to learn in a professional setting, from people who have been doing this for much longer than I have. It taught me the science behind things I have been taking for granted, and what I could do better.
The training, facilitated by Ms. Karen Sordan, lasted for around eight hours. Each minute was time well spent, as the active participation and exchanging of ideas between the attendees ensured that everyone walked out of that room a little bit wiser. Here are some of the highlights from that discussion.
Building the image of the reader in your mind’s eye
As the training went on, it reinforced my belief that actors would make good content writers. Writers should be able to put themselves in a role, and see things from a certain perspective. Usually, this means understanding the reader’s motivations and way of thinking.
It goes beyond a short, one-dimensional description. You should have a clear idea of how old they are, where they live, what they do for a living, and how they spend their free time. Do they have children or pets? What can they easily relate to? And most importantly, what do they need at this very moment?
Choosing a topic that is unique, interesting, and useful to the readers
After building a clear image of the reader in your mind, it’s time to pick something relevant to their interests. The deeper your understanding of what they want, the easier it is to find a topic that hasn’t been done to date. There’s enough redundant information on the Internet without you adding to it any further.
Technology helps a lot with this; two of the most effective ways of finding new topics are browsing the forums your reader probably spends time in, and staying updated with trending issues using websites like Inbound.org and Google Trends. These tools make quality topic selection a breeze.
The writing process: turning a rough idea into a polished article
Poor execution ruins even the best of ideas. No matter how well researched and intelligent your article is, it’s meaningless if nobody reads past the first sentence. While we already knew we need to catch the reader’s attention early, the training taught us the actual figures. We learned that:
- Readers spend around 2 seconds skimming a page before reading
- They spend around a minute and a half on a website per visit
- The visuals and formatting of an article determine whether they will read it or close the tab
Along with various other statistics that show how the average site visitor has the attention span of a goldfish. As time is precious, we have to communicate the nature of our message; what’s in it for the readers within the first few words.
The best articles tend to follow a general format. They promise something irresistible in the introduction– a fascinating story, little known facts, or even a direct challenge to the reader’s beliefs. After capturing the reader’s attention, the article delivers on what it promised in a persuasive and informative way, backing up its claims with facts. Finally, the article crafts a memorable close that inspires the reader to act.
I’m happy that I got the chance to participate in this training program. I know that it will have a profound effect on our writing careers for years to come, and I’m grateful that TrueLogic provided us with this opportunity.
Training notes by Jay Pagkatotohan and Pocholo Legaspi.