Seth Godin Suggests: Write Like a Blogger
This morning, I spoke to a journalism class at Cleveland State University, and was met with more questions--and great questions--than at any other time I've talked about writing, anywhere, ever. My friend (and their teacher) Cliff Anthony is obviously doing something right (two years ago, I wrote about him a little). These students were an invigorating reminder of what it's all about. This afternoon, the marketing guru and writer Seth Godin provided me with another important reminder of what it's all about. Below is his entire entry. His most important point, I think: "Waiting for perfect is a lousy strategy." Remember, you can get closer to perfection with rounds of rewriting and revising. But nobody begins there, or even close to there. You have to work at it.
You can improve your writing (your business writing, your ad writing, your thank you notes and your essays) if you start thinking like a blogger:
Use headlines. I use them all the time now. Not just boring ones that announce your purpose (like the one on this post) but interesting or puzzling or engaging headlines. Headlines are perfect for engaging busy readers.
Realize that people have choices. With 80 million other blogs to choose from, I know you could leave at any moment (see, there goes someone now). So that makes blog writing shorter and faster and more exciting.
Drip, drip, drip. Bloggers don't have to say everything at once. We can add a new idea every day, piling on a thesis over time.
It's okay if you leave. Bloggers aren't afraid to include links or distractions in their writing, because we know you'll come back if what we had to say was interesting.
Interactivity is a great shortcut. Your readers care about someone's opinion even more than yours... their own. So reading your email or your comments or your trackbacks (your choice) makes it easy to stay relevant.
Gimmicks aren't as useful as insight. If you're going to blog successfully for months or years, sooner or later you need to actually say something. Same goes for your writing.
Don't be afraid of lists. People like lists.
Show up. Not writing is not a useful way of expressing your ideas. Waiting for perfect is a lousy strategy.
Say it. Don't hide, don't embellish.
What would happen if every single high school student had to have a blog? Or every employee in your company? Or every one of your customers?