Garbage in, Garbage Out

Andrew Paterson
May 8, 2016 · 3 min read

Social Media is no different than any other media in that quality content is what appeals to most readers and depending on what type of business your run, this can be crucial. Unfortunately, though, most small companies and startups leave this important facet of their venture to young inexperienced wannabes who’s only credo is having more than 500 friends on FB and being able to write with as many emojis as words. If we filled leading newspapers and reputable magazines with the general level of social media content today, they would no longer exist, literally destroying what generations of highly talented journalists painstakingly built. Your company is no different, if you want to build a brand that people admire, think about who you put behind the words describing and promoting it.

Any professional journalist will tell you, writing well is both a skill and a talent. You learn the basics as a child, more often than not via a passionate school teacher, librarian or (grand) parent and continue your quest through high school and university, progressing each step of the way. What differs between individuals at these stages is the desire to learn, a level of curiosity and diversity of material. This is particularly important for later on when writing becomes part of one’s job, because no one really masters the art of writing, it’s just part of the journey. The talent component basically bridges the gap’s that are accumulated throughout one’s career, some people are able to bring it all together all the time, other’s are more erratic in their compositions. Whoever you choose to be the masthead at your company had better have a blend of both because storytelling, like good journalism, is not for those that consider writing to be just a part of the job, it “is the job”.

Day in, day out, those that are responsible for putting words on new products, events or company news are the one’s your prospects and customers listen to. Their minds are made up before any of your troops get anywhere near them. Not your salesmen, technicians or customer support have the level of impact that your Comms Team have and in today’s fast paced and every changing social media landscape, this precious FaceTime is very valuable brand capital. So why leave it to people who’s very ideal of excellent prose are those that fill pages of gossip magazines, low-level sports websites, and husband & wife travel blogs? It’s not because their in the “age bracket” that makes them anymore skilled at approaching your target audience than a seasoned writer who doesn’t know what an AI Bot was before meeting you! You need someone who can capture the essence of what you’ve painstakingly built over the year’s and, yes, make it sound even better than you can. But you also need the technical know-how of a well-trained journalist to present things in a comprehensive and orderly fashion, especially when explaining your revolutionary AI app to the average layman.

Every social media outlet does not limit you to 144 characters (and even that’s up to speculation these days) so the argument that you need to write like a 15-year-old is no longer valid. Many successful brands and startups that publish high-quality content regularly do so by back-linking to their blog posts where there’s ample white space for the “skilled” to spread their wings. And newsletters these days no longer need to resemble early-web supermarket promos, they can be just as sophisticated as their cousins in the print world. Telling your story online via social media is like writing a good book, it has to be captivating page after page if you want the readers to continue until the end and one thing they won’t accept is, garbage.

Andrew Paterson
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