What Fine Dining Can Teach Us About Writing

What Fine Dining Can Teach Us About Writing

I’m a nut for cooking shows. I’m not talking about drama-ridden, spoon-throwing reality shows, but the ones with absolute masters of culinary experience. Maybe it’s because I can draw so many parallels between great cooking and great writing.

I recently binged on Chef’s Table on Netflix (highly recommended) and revelled in the story behind each master. As I did, specific things stood out as metaphors for exceptional writing.

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Don't try to sound different, try to sound authentic.

Don't try to sound different, try to sound authentic.

“We don’t want to sound like just another boring service provider." A small electrical company told me when discussing their website content. "We want to come across unique and appealing to homeowners, not just more corporate talk.”

My first thought was, ‘Are you just another boring service provider?’ I can understand a desire to stand out, but what would I want from an electrician? I want professionalism, collaboration and the ability to get the job done. If you pass that test, perhaps I’ll call for a quote. What’s really important to me is that what you say in your marketing matches what you deliver.

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Dealing with Delays - The Project Horizon

Dealing with Delays - The Project Horizon

Marketing, and in particular content writing, always seems like an unpredictable path. Customer’s change their minds, people go on holidays, unexpected additions creep in; and before you know it you’re a month past due and people are screaming.

It’s not like you’re slacking off, so why are people so upset? 

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An Online Content Strategy Snapshot

 An Online Content Strategy Snapshot

What is the foundation for success online marketing? AdWords? Organic SEO? Content? Well, I lean towards content but even that is superseded by having a solid strategy in place. It’s not as simple as just rankings or writing anymore, it’s about having a plan that attracts people, compels them to look further and engage with your business.

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Crappy Music and Caffeine for Better Content Writing

 Crappy Music and Caffeine for Better Content Writing

I wouldn’t say I’m cornered, but there are definitely elements that help the flow of content production. Most of it comes down to focus, because we’re all creative, it’s just how we channel it into something important and stay on task. Writing is one of those interesting professions that requires a constant mental effort. The moment you go into autopilot, your content becomes mushy and uninspiring. 

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Writing for How People Read Online

Writing for How People Read Online

There always seems to be confusion about what makes good content for the web. The audience is more fickle, quicker to move on when something doesn’t jump out - but they’re also cunning, knowing when something has misled them.

So what really matters in online content?

Every business is different, but there are patterns to how people read and search on the web. When producing content, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind about your reader:

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Writing Content for the Web - Basics

Writing Content for the Web - Basics

When I’ve coached customers on building their own content for websites or blogs, there is a very straight forward approach I take. It works with beginner writers who are just trying for the first time, or experienced product experts who are just getting into web writing.

  • 1 topic per page
  • 3-5 headers per topic
  • 1-2 paragraphs per header
  • ....
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