The 4 steps to create content marketing that spreads without being clickbait

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I hate clickbait. I love posts that spread. So here’s a process for creating content — like blog posts — that spreads usefully, not exploitatively. I’m writing this post because I had an argument with a client. The creative people at this company were creating valuable and interesting posts, then giving them titles that were … Continued

Should you start with a story or a lede?

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The best way to hook an audience is to start with a story. The best way to get people to read what you write is with a descriptive title and a few summary sentences (or as journalists call it, a lede). How do you resolve these contradictory pieces of advice? When I got this question … Continued

What business writers can learn from journalists — and what they can’t

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Should business writers write like journalists? Some journalist habits — like never burying the lede — make perfect sense. But if you imagine you’re Woodward and Bernstein, you’re deluded. Learn which journalistic conventions will make your writing better, and which will ruin it. Journalist habits that business writers should adopt Journalists and business writers share … Continued

Dropbox buries the lede

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Dropbox got hacked a while back. So the company emailed affected users — and hid the news. Burying the lede* is counterproductive; it just makes people work harder to find out the truth. Good writers get to the bad news quickly and frankly, then move on. Here’s what happened: In 2012, somebody stole 68 million Dropbox usernames and … Continued

How “get to the point” jibes with “tell a good story”

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Storytelling is all the rage in business. Meanwhile, I’m telling you to front-load your writing — to explain just what you’re about to say in the title and first few sentences. If you take my advice, won’t that ruin your story? Not quite. In fact, following my advice is the only way you’ll get to tell your … Continued