There are better and more compelling headlines than The Importance Of Writing For People. If I wanted to I’d come up with a story about how it is almost Christmas Eve and I am jammed for time because of the holiday.
But it is not true.
I don’t celebrate Christmas and the only plans I have for the evening are to grab some Chinese food and watch a movie or two with the family.
So what is my excuse?
What is my reason for not working harder to craft a more compelling headline that will do a better job of convincing people to click?
I am writing today for me and not for you. I am writing for the same reason I try to exercise each day, it feels good and it keeps me sharp.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
If I was concerned about reaching as many people as possible I would spend more time thinking about the headline and I’d consider whether Christmas Eve is going to present me with fewer readers than normal.
That is not a given. There are many people who don’t observe the holiday and bunches who do but for whatever reason will find themselves with time on their hands.
If I constructed a post about what people do on Christmas Eve when they don’t celebrate the holiday I’d have a good shot at grabbing a larger cross section.
But I don’t feel like focusing solely on one topic. Don’t feel like limiting myself to just one area or having to concern myself with providing accurate facts and figures.
I do that professionally and with great regularity so sometimes it is just nice to write the way I like to take a walk.
It is at my pace with no particular destination in mind. I’ll know when I get there and keep going until it feels right to stop.
That Twain quote hit the spot for me today, made me smile because it fits the work smarter, not harder attitude I like to wear.
Sometimes people misunderstand that and take it to mean someone is trying to be lazy but that is not it at all.
Working smarter means you can be more productive and work longer. It means you figure out a way to do things more effectively and efficiently which is always smarter.
Writing For People
A friend asked me to share my thoughts on using curse words in my writing and I told them I’ll pepper that motherfucker with the kind of colorful language that would make a sailor ask me if I hold a Post Doc in swearing.
You need to consider your audience and think about how they will respond. Some people won’t care and others will be put off by it and instead of being fucking cool you’ll just be fucked.
If you are like me and you have prospective clients/employers reading your material you need to be extra careful to make certain they understand you can adopt whatever tone of voice they require.
That is going to vary from company to company but it is critical to also make sure they understand your skills includes judgment as well as vocabulary.
But if you ask me cursing in your copy isn’t as bad as focusing on trying to write for SEO first and people second.
It is great to rank higher in search but it doesn’t mean much if people click in and out of your content as fast as they can.
That is a waste.
I like tools.
I suspect I write and talk about them more often than I realize but it’s because when I look at them I see stories and opportunity.
What tales could they tell us if they could speak? Would they be stories that captivate us or tales that cure insomnia.
Are they tools whose uses I recognize? What can they do? What can I do with them?
I am at best decent with most tools, proficient with some and not so good with others but very cognizant of my abilities.
Also confident that with time and effort I could be very good at making them do what I want them to.
But it is always a question of time and where I choose to spend it.
So many responsibilities and so few can be adjusted to obtain more moments to spend on other areas so I make choices as we all do.
Still I think about it often because the satisfaction I get from doing things with my own hands is as great as that which comes from writing.
Sometimes I think about dedicating a chunk of time to tools and learning to be followed by multiple stories about what happened during those sessions.
I suspect there are some great tales waiting to be experienced and shared. Time will tell.