Remember Cliff Clavin, the fictional character on “Cheers” and the bar’s know-it-all postal worker who never seemed to be out delivering the mail? He often began his witticism at the bar with, “It’s a little known fact that …”
If Cliff happened to be a member of your association’s board, he might say, “It’s a little known fact that everyone is a writer.” And he’d be right. Everyone can write, but few do because of the fear of mistakes, or a bad experience at the hands of their junior high English teacher.
In this day and age, publishing is easier than ever, so you should put your fears aside and contribute to your association’s website, blog, magazine, or newsletter. Unlike Cliff Clavin, you ARE an industry expert and sharing your knowledge is fun and stress-free. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Use the inverted pyramid style – get to the point in the first paragraph and then expand on it.
- Write short sentences. Keep paragraphs short.
- Too much information? Use links to expand your story for readers who want to know more.
- Use action words to tell readers about the topic, why it’s important, and how to use the information.
- Use bulleted lists.
- Proofread your work. Have a colleague, friend, or family member do this to eliminate errors
Work Smarter, Not Harder
If you are writing for print and the web, write the print version first because you are appealing to an audience that has the time to read. Then take the best parts of your article and trim it down for the web. Once you prune it back, do it again.
Web readers are scanners, so even though you’ve written a Pulitzer Prize winning article, it won’t be appreciated. Besides, you can always link to the longer version of your article for those who are interested in the topic.
Once you’re finished writing and ready to publish, don’t forget to find an image. The key is to resist the urge to “decorate” your work, so don’t just pick something random or sprinkle in various pictures throughout your text. Find one that complements the topic and pulls the reader in.