When crafting an important piece, it is likely you will become intertwined in the classic writer’s dilemma: who are you writing for? According to author William Zinsser, you should be writing for yourself. Although he is the self-proclaimed evangelist of brevity and simplicity, Zinsser emphasizes that the audience – or the idea of who your audience is – should not have an effect on your writing. In chapter 5 of his book On Writing Well, he describes this paradox. A good writer should be a master of the ground principles of writing and confident in their personal style. Here, the difference between technical craft and unique attitude is key.
According to my colleague, writing is a cruel and unusual form of punishment – and those who are very good at writing are all indulgent masochists. This very same colleague also happens to be a recipient of the prestigious PRSA Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement. If there is anything that she has taught me in our two years of working together, it is that writing is not something that simply flows out of your brain and onto paper with ease. I’ve shared in her frustration as last-minute changes were made to press releases. I’ve seen how it can take hours for even the most seasoned professional to crank out an important document. But most importantly, I’ve learned that even those who love writing are actually secretly exhausted by it.
A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a phrase we have all heard at least a thousand times, but sometimes we need to be reminded that a picture is more than just what meets the eye. Only a little over 100 years ago, people believed that everything they saw in photographs was true. As long as the photograph was taken where and when the caption says it was, it was generally thought to be accurate and, at times, even more reliable than the testimony of a human eye witness (Ritchin, 1985). This mindset is now few and far between in today’s society. Nothing – not even a smiling selfie – can be published without meeting extreme scrutiny from the receiving public.
This week, I’m tasked to write an email to a prospective client who is reaching out to me with the interest of expanding her online consulting business. She would like to explore using social media and email marketing in order to obtain a larger following, but is very hesitant to do so because of privacy concerns. In the below email, I suggest some methods to keep her information safe and that email and social media marketing is necessary for someone who wants to ensure a thriving online business.
If there is something that humans value the most, it is their right to privacy. No matter what job they have, how much money they make, or how much of a social butterfly they might be – people enjoy being able to swaddle back into their personal cocoon and just exist without being bothered.
What I love most about living in today’s world is the speed at which I can find or learn anything I want within seconds. With just a couple of keyboard clicks or a voice command, I’m able to find the artist of that one throwback song that’s stuck in my head or the coolest new restaurant near me. Search engines, like Google, make life easier through its detailed algorithms. By leveraging websites’ SEO (search engine optimization), only the best and most relevant sources are served to users in an organized fashion in SERPs (search engine results pages).
I’ve always marveled at people’s ability to create power out of letters. By itself, the English alphabet consists of 26 letters – 21 consonant letters, 5 vowels – but the combination of them yields over 170 thousand words. As language changes throughout time, words are added or deemed obsolete. Through the power of social media, people can communicate every one of their words on a global scale – instantaneously. As these words hold omnipotent power, it is important for businesses to understand what people are saying and use these insights to their advantage.