Writing on Writing

Writing short to hook the long read

Writing long form articles is my bread and butter. I can sit down and bang out 1,500 words without breaking a sweat. My preferred method is waiting until the last possible moment when I could cut the tension of my looming deadline with a dull knife, and then spew all my thoughts out onto the screen. Then, I go away. Then, I come back and comb. I follow this process several times over the course of a few hours, or days if I’ve given myself enough time, until I have something that I enjoy reading. Because as William Zinsser reminds fledgeling writers in On Writing Well, “you are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for.” And as a closeted snob, I love the idea of entertaining those who are worth writing for.

So, admittedly, that was more or less what I did to write my final long form article for my second grad school class. Barfed it out, culled it down, made it into something I enjoyed. The writing is never the problem for me. It’s the…sharing. For years, I didn’t share anything I wrote or created, positive my thoughts were not worth reading. Luckily for my self-esteem, I’m now forced to share my thoughts on this blog for school. It’s gotten easier, but I still shudder every time I hit “share” on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Marketing is not my strong suit, and writing across various platforms feel weird and disingenuous to me. I have a voice, and I like to allow that voice to announce my arrival so you know exactly what you’re getting. But…as Gary Vaynerchuk teaches in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, you must tailor your content to be native on various social platforms if you want it to get any traction. And I suppose if I ever want to be a real live writer, I will need people to read my writing. So…here’s how I marketed my piece on three separate social platforms:

Facebook

This will be the first thing that I have posted to Facebook since 2016. For personal marketing purposes, Facebook is still king. Being able to select a bright image, use as many characters as I want to describe my article, and insert a direct link makes this one of the more user-friendly platforms for self promotion. I chose a medium length blurb and tailored the language toward social media itself with the mention of the “I Voted” selfie.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the social platforms that I use the most in my personal. I like the idea of a platform that is truly meant for networking in the old-fashioned sense of the word: for professional gain. For this post I opted for a slightly lengthier blurb that both told a personal anecdote and discussed the crux of my article. I found that LinkedIn made hashtagging very easy with its auto-generated suggestions.

Twitter

Ahh…Twitter. I barely knew thee. I don’t use Twitter. In fact, my entire article is basically about how Twitter is bad and should be avoided with its 240 character quippy auto-share B.S. It turns out that I do have a Twitter handle, so I was able to post there. I opted to use the most straight to the point, attention grabbing language in this post because the nature of the Twitter feed is always moving, gobbling up your work and spitting it out into the ether. I also chose a photo that I felt may grab attention with its juxtaposition of classic art and new technology.

While marketing my work is still a new and scary prospect, I do enjoy the writing. Social media and shamless self-promotion are frankly two of my least favorite things and if I could avoid both of them for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy person. But I am thankful that I at least understand the basics of creating good content for each platform, as my main intention is to be seen as someone who puts good, useful information out into the world, not someone who adds to the noise.

If you’d like to read my full long-form article, GO FIND IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Or…just click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s