Marketer Judy Huval offers some intriguing insights into her boss’s developing a capacity write an effective blog:
My boss walked into the office shortly after the first of the year and told me “My goal in 2016 is to write one LinkedIn blog post every week.”
Let me paint the picture for you …
My boss is an engineer. And the worst kind of engineer; a software engineer. He’s also the COO of our company. He’s pulled in a million different directions. A lot of his published articles to date have been ghost written by me. He is brilliant but has horrible grammar! The man has no idea when to use “there”, “their”, and “they’re”. And don’t even get me started on the Oxford comma.
But I applaud this goal he has set for himself. He is a very private person and sharing his personal experiences is difficult for him. He has a lot of reasons why he set the goal (he’s refocusing on leading our company, he sees how fresh marketing content and social media leads to warm leads, he is a thought leader and wanted an avenue to share his ideas, etc.) However, I am starting to notice one thing improving quickly and that is his writing.
At first, he didn’t send me his blog postings to review before he published them. After the second posting, one of our prospective clients emailed him and said “Great article! But you should have someone edit them for grammar.” That came from a Chief Estimator! Another group of people who I would not rank high on the grammar scale. Now, he sends his articles to another staff member to edit. When I get the final article I get to read it for context … does the topic make sense, is the focus the same throughout the posting, who is the audience he is writing for, should he elaborate more on a specific area? Plus, I create graphics to go with his postings. And he’s getting TONS of feedback from people about his articles. The postings are a delicate balance between professional and personal stories but his ideal audience (company decision makers) resonate with them.
I’m starting to see less mistakes in his grammar. I’m seeing more complex written thoughts. He’s enjoying the writing process and finds it to be very therapeutic. He carves out time from his week to write and that offers him stress relief. He is living proof of the value of social media done well. He is a marketing content machine.
Now, if I can get him to understand the difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re” I’ll go buy a lottery ticket. If I can get him to use the Oxford comma correctly then I’ll buy YOU a lottery ticket.
I like these thoughts, because they show something about how, as she title’s her post: “Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks.”
The first lesson we can learn here is a reminder that not everyone writes well. There is a reason professional writers are just that. While writing skills can be learned, I’m quite certain there are some in-your-blood characteristics that define whether you have the natural ability.
However, we can all still write effectively, if we have the right level of determination and support.
The company leader had the determination. He carried on, even though his initial efforts were awful. Then he sought out support; having one employee edit for grammar before passing the file on to Judy for a final review and publication.
Even the best writers benefit from editing. I received a powerful reminder when my wife started editing my Construction Marketing Ideas book. She discovered some consistent errors throughout the manuscript. She grew so frustrated by the problems she gave up after reviewing half the work. However, when I set out to incorporate her changes in the first half, I could see what I had been doing wrong, and set out to follow her observations with my own revisions in the second half. Then I packaged the entire manuscript to a third-party proofreader who caught more mistakes.
Conclusion: If you aren’t a writer but want to write, go ahead, but be prepared for some patience and make sure you encourage and accept some serious editing. You can then achieve worthy content marketing results.