So, over the last year as editorial director, I started compiling some rules for writers to help them and myself be better writers.
Some of these I’ve learned over the course of my career, and some I stole from other writers and editors because they make a ridiculous amount of sense.
1. Consume as much as you can. Especially marketing blogs, business publications like Bloomberg, watch Netflix, go to galleries and comedy shows — whatever. Be in tune.
2. Try to write something that lives beyond the product, beyond the campaign.
3. The product isn’t boring. There’s a story in everything.
4. Make recommendations to clients, help them be better, arm them and don’t let them waste their money on bad content. Remember, we’re the writing experts.
5. Think of new ways to tell stories—we have the in-house capabilities to tell stories in wildly interesting ways.
6. Take risks. Meticulously researched and calculated risks, but take risks.
7. Have fun with it. Let it piss you off, get under your skin, keep you up at night. It’ll be a better piece by the end.
8. Somewhere there is a 15 year-old kid making the sickest beats on his computer, in his bedroom. We can look, feel and sound bigger than the budgets.
9. Don’t bullshit. There’s enough of that type of cheapjack, gutter trash content marketing. It just upsets people and wastes their time and gives marketers, and writers, a bad rep.
10. Respect the audience. Imagine a house. And kids. One is a two year-old girl and the other is four year-old boy who’s really into planes right now. They’re playing in the backyard with their chocolate lab, George. Imagine their father lost his job. Imagine their mother has a job and at that job she’s responsible for purchasing a large piece of equipment that will make or break the company’s fiscal year. Her job, and other people’s jobs depend on her decisions and she is acutely aware of this fact. Imagine her working on weekends, travelling for work, missing and worried about her husband, missing her children and soon they may have to move into a smaller home, cutting back. She’s up late researching and reading technical documents, comparing notes, sending emails and dealing with an impatient boss and she wishes she could take a vacation but knows they can’t afford it.
Now write for her.