A little bit of a treat this week, as I’ve got the first guest post in about 3 years! Say hello to Rebecca Kellogg, who is a Southern California based copywriter. In this article, she’ll share her thoughts on how you can improve your writing with Social Media. Enjoy!
Using Social Media Can Help Your Writing
Aside from connecting with others and “building your brand,” social media offers an interesting side benefit: It can improve your writing.
Writing, like many other skills, is something you can get better at with practice. When you use social media to interact with people, you are practicing (and likely improving over time) your ability to write in a conversational way.
Social media gives you an easy and informal test ground to hone your communication skills.
Winston Churchill is said to have practiced the best bits for his speeches multiple times on family members and guests. He’d try out various lines and anecdotes and practice delivery.
You can do the same thing!
Next time you’re sending a Tweet or doing a Facebook post, see if you can tweak the idea in your head a bit before you are posting it. Think about what you wanted to write, then see if you can alter it slightly to make it even better.
Watch. Your “real world” writing will start to improve as you work on these “mini-writing” pieces.
I have now given you the power to feel virtuous about spending time on social media. You’re welcome.
“But Rebecca,” you ask. “Do you have any pointers about HOW I might tweak my social media quips to make them more interesting?”
Why yes. Yes I do. This brings us to . . .
One Copywriting Principle Can Help You Be More Interesting On Social Media Sites
Let me tell you about writing headlines.
Have you ever seen those Twitter accounts that seem to post nothing BUT headlines? The ones I’ve seen seem to fall into two categories: (a) Spam or (b) News services.
If you’re reading this, I imagine you keep a social media account that is at least somewhat personalized (or that you are a spammer who wants to make his social media accounts more conversational).
So you probably post updates about your life, your plans, etc. and seldom make use of the “headline” tone of voice or sales blurb-style of socializing online.
But there is something we can learn from the headline-only accounts. The sole goal of those accounts is . . . to get you to click through. They want to grab your interest.
And isn’t your goal in social media to attract interest and build up your personal brand?
To that end, let me introduce you to “The Four U’s” of headline writing. These serve to draw the reader in and make him want to read more. Incorporate one or more of these into your social media activities, and see how it affects your posts.
- URGENCY. In copywriting, this means we try to get people to take action. In social media, you might substitute “urgency” for “immediacy.”Write vividly of your present moment. How to do this? Use details that add color and draw our attention to you. Help us focus on you, now. Remember that guy that tweeted his wedding vows? He is an example of this.
- UNIQUENESS. Uniqueness is a great one-word synopsis of the already brief mantra “be yourself.” How can you play up your uniqueness?Talk about the things that make you YOU—hobbies, interests, things you mull over in your brain. The guy that tweets stuff his 70+ year-old dad says is pretty unique.(Side Note From Rhys: This is key if you’re retweeting articles! By offering your own spin on what you Retweet (such as making the headline funnier, or more urgency, or a quick opinion, you’re being unique!)
- ULTRA-SPECIFICITY. Want an easy way to create subtle humor? Be very specific. “Saw 4 geckos on the train today” is more interesting than “Noticed wildlife during commute.”
- USEFULNESS. Tell the reader useful things you’ve learned. Share links to things you find interesting or helpful, or give a synopsis if you can write it briefly enough.Share how to solve a problem. Whether a new movie is enjoyable with a date. Or even how to write great quips for social media sites using copywriting principles.
Rebecca Kellogg is a copywriter based out of Southern California. She writes copy for businesses and also writes magazine articles. Visit her blog at www.rebeccakellogg.com.