Thursday, July 24, 2014

Engaging the Reader

Engaging the Reader
I recently read a book written in the first person in a way like a minister delivering a sermon to an audience. It is not what many readers would expect of a well-written work because of its unconventional writing style and the lack of smoothness or intrigue. Yet the book took the number two place on The New York Time's bestseller list.

The popularity of a book is obviously not about how well a writer writes, but about writing on the right topic and about content. Unless the writer is a celebrity or a famous someone, expecting high readership for what one writes may just be wishful thinking unless the writer has done his or her research to know what topics and content engage readers.

As an enthusiast of the social media, I have managed blogs and social network platforms long enough to understand how certain topics and content are well received while others fall short or fail badly. If the number of followers and comments are a guide to measure popularity and engagement, then analytics may be a good way to help make trending observations.

When I write on topics like healthcare, for example, the number of followers tends to fall far below expectation even with strong digital marketing engagement through campaigning, promotions, and the like. When I write on topics like career or faith, on the other hand, the number of followers increases exponentially even without campaigning.

Engaging readers or audiences in the real world requires knowing what's hot and what's not, what moves the heart or touches a chord, what reaches out and helps meet a need. In a nutshell, a writer needs to do research to know what readers really want before beginning to write.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Writing on Unfamiliar Topics

Writing on Unfamiliar Topics
How do you respond when someone wants to hire you to write on a topic you are unfamiliar with? Do you decline to take up the assignment or do you rise to the challenge?

As a writer providing editorial services, it is not uncommon I receive requests to write something I know nothing about. How I go about tackling such a problem is to research, consolidate, and attribute.

This is obvious enoughresearch and gather as much information as possible on the Web and from the hirer.

Compile and consolidate the information gathered. Plan out and organize the order for the information to be used. Ponder over the topic for a little while and decide how it should be written so it would sustain readers' interest. 

If using or citing information from sources other than those owned by the hirer, always state where the source is from and attribute authorship to the relevant parties or publisher. Doing so not only helps prevent infringing any intellectual property rights, but also enforces credibility in our writing, especially when the citation is from an authoritative source or reference.

Take it from me if you encounter a similar situation to go through the same steps, and you will find writing on unfamiliar topics is not as difficult as you imagine it to be.

Here are some sample articles with citation and attribution written by me for your reference.

Are you now game to take up the challenge?