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Just a Book, Part 3 – “Everybody Writes”

Courtney Beasley

Courtney Beasley

Welcome back to Part 3 of the 2017 Just a Book blog series!

As we head into week three, it’s time to take the philosophies and skills we’ve learned so far and put them to action – getting content published.

Every piece of great content deserves the right platform to host it, and an audience eager to read it. However, as content creators, we have to remember that every opportunity to publish is a privilege. And with that privilege comes an accountability to our audiences to produce content that is both accurate and honest. To help us navigate this responsibility, Ann offers a number of great strategies on publishing content that you can feel confident in.

Check out these tips from our third week of reading “Everybody Writes”:

Champion data

“Data before declaration. If you are going to tell me what you think, give me a solid reason why you think it.” (Page 178)

Readers want to know that your opinions are founded in truth. The best way to convey this is through data. Whether creating a white paper or drafting a byline, data gives your content important context and earns both you and your business credibility. You can turn to trusted sources like government agencies, research reports and major media outlets, but it’s ultimately up to you to be a good judge of what sources are reliable.

Be a Thoughtful Curator

“If you are merely regurgitating content from elsewhere without adding your own take, that’s not curation – that’s aggregation. A robot can aggregate content, but only a human can tell me why it matters.” (Page 166)

At some point as a writer, you’ll need to find inspiration and content elsewhere. As you search, it’s imperative to curate your content ethically. This means giving credit where credit is due, using a diverse set of sources and, most importantly, adding your own point of view to the story. Like a museum curator, it’s your job to highlight an artist’s individual work while also putting together a cohesive gallery that says something new about you. Take a closer look at how our design team approaches finding inspiration.

Dot Your i’s and Cross Your t’s

“Copyright information is like smoking marijuana: people tend to think that because it’s common it must be legal. It’s not.” (Page 170)

When it comes to using a found idea, quote, image, etc., always ask first. While living in a digital age can make it feel like the information we find online is everyone’s, the rules of copyright infringement are very black and white. Ask for permission, record the conversation and stick to this agreed-upon arrangement. Respecting this process ensures the validity of your content and can actually be a hidden opportunity to build relationships with others. Asking someone to use his or her content is not only flattering short term, but grows your network long term.

Interested in more tips on publishing great content? Take a closer look at Pages 139-179 of “Everybody Writes,” which we also cover in this week’s video. And with just one week of blogging left, catch up on anything you missed from Part 1 and Part 2.

Don’t miss Ann on Oct. 23, which is when she’ll be joining us and some of Chicago’s best marketing minds for a meet and greet and Q&A session. Learn more about the event here, which we’re hosting at the newly opened American Writers Museum!