I’ve been privileged to attend the Digital Publishing Summit offered by D’vorah Lansky over the past two weeks. 22 speakers and an impressive amount of information about using internet tools to spread your message. Write a book and re-purpose it into video, audio, short posts, courses, webinars … the full gamut of content forms. Make your message available in whatever format your reader prefers. Your $20 book may become a $97 video or a $299 course. Same info; new – and slicker – format.
The concept of an entrepreneurial author is a new one to me and I’m still mulling its meaning. Nonetheless, one of the most dynamic speakers of the event was David Hancock, who labels himself that way. Despite his brilliance, I wonder about the deconstruction of writing, its commercialization.
It may be that Hancock does not revere writing. He seems to suggest transcending all types of media in favor of your message and the ways it can help people. In other words, your book doesn’t matter; it’s the message it shares that’s important.
Instead of deciding that you must publish a book, identify an issue that you can solve. The key is helpful information, however it’s presented.
In case you never read the sidebar here, notice that every post on this blog is exactly 200 words long. This somewhat dramatic style allows me to perfect my writing, refine my message, optimize my time, and serve my reader all in one fell swoop. Whether or not I wield the tool as well as some others might, it’s a practice I enjoy and espouse. Here’s why:
Short is sweet. Those who insist a blog post has no worth unless it’s at least 500 words are deluded. How often do you cringe at the challenge a long piece of writing presents?
I love to read, I read all day long. Still, my desktop is full of pdfs awaiting that mythical moment when I decide it’s okay to dedicate the next hour to reading for miscellaneous learning. When there are too many to fit, they all go into a folder named “Read.” But I never do.
In many cases, length is a good thing. Absorbing novels, detailed histories, cookbooks, can you think of a bunch more? But in a blog, if you’re truly looking at things from your reader’s point of view, you know pith is far preferable to purple prose.
One of the surprising aspects of social media is its juxtaposition of technical and lyrical demands.
As an inbound marketing specialist, I need to be facile with the technical workings of multiple networking and publishing websites; and then for the next assignment, I must compose copy for updates, content, or blogs.
The variety in my work is a big part of its appeal for me. Some might claim that it’s unlikely one individual can excel both technically and lyrically. Science and poetry are forever at odds, isn’t it true?
On the other hand, it may be that anyone can excel by combining contrasting sides of themselves. It may be that social media’s strength lies in the ways it synthesizes experience. Here, no medium of expression is beyond anyone’s reach: the resulting combinations are endless. How any one person uses the interactive web is a matter of profoundly personal expression.
And here’s the punch line. I learned some years ago that you can count on profoundly personal expressions to be awesomely and uniformly beautiful. After years of studying the arts, I came to know that it is not ‘talent’ but creativity itself that produces the most passionate and inspiring art works.
I’m doing a mini-series on how to make your writing for online publication more attractive.
When something’s hot, in our lingo, it’s attractive; it draws attention. But like fire, it’s beautiful yet can also easily offend. So setting the dial to red-hot is not always in your best interest. The solution is a custom mix of hot and cold. All your internet updates operate on a hot/cold continuum.
(Note that dead center, exactly inbetween hot and cold, is where much writing lies, inert.)
In the effort to avoid middle of the road writing, decide the proper synthesis of hot and cold, and then write to the allowable extreme of hot. Here’s a sample tweet (the audience is internet marketers):
1. (Dead Center) Digging Ingram Hill on Pandora… Worth the $36 for the year just to hear music that’s not on the radio here!
2. (Cold) Ingram Hill via Pandora. Unusual radio fare. Glad I bought the subscription.
3. (Hot) Ingram Hill ecstasy. Kudos for playing non-mainstream stuff, Pandora! (Worth every penny of $36 a year).
4. (Best solution) Listening to Ingram Hill. Kudos for playing non-mainstream stuff, Pandora! (Worth every penny of $36 a year).
Social media is a good place for writers. It can be a bit of a challenge for non-writers. You can produce content using other media besides text (e.g., video or audio); that’s the best way to get around a distaste for writing. But if you choose to write for the internet – most everyone does write at least Twitter and Facebook updates – consider some ways you can help yourself and your rankings by making your writing better.
By better, I mean more accurate, more appealing, more evocative, more powerful.
There are as many tricks for beefing up your writing as there are people. If you seem to be blogging to a vacuum, if your comments get no reactions, if nobody ever re-tweets you – would it help if your writing was more attractive?
What does that mean, more attractive writing? It’s a question of fine-tuning the temperature, adjusting either up or down, according to the tastes of the reader you wish to attract. So, for example:
- Start with: We went to the movies.
- Make it hotter: We saw a cool flick.
- Make it cooler: We took in a film.
More to come soon on this theme.