Writing

HOW TO WRITE A COMPELLING CONTENT: THE COFFIN SELLER’S PERSPECTIVE

Compelling Article Writing

I have had an experience doing freelance writing. As a matter of fact, in the first week of this month, I successfully completed a project of over 18,000 words for a client.

How would I have gotten 18,000 words? From my brain or from Balogun market?

For writers and content creators who seek to create a clear and concise copy; creating a compelling content is non-negotiable. How will you create a compelling copy from your brain alone? I tell you, no good writer writes without:

  • Research: Asking questions
  • Critical Thinking: Questioning the Questions
  • Writing for an Audience: Answering these questions

 

RESEARCH is quite important. I am yet to find a story (article, essay, poem, etc) that was written without an in depth study of the topic. It is like going to the movies to find a terrible scene where the nurse intravenous needle upside down; or a military rating hanging the bars of an Able Seaman but is referred to as an officer!

Research makes writers discover and differentiate the things that exist from the things that are no longer obtainable. Without research, the truth in a story is lost.

What do you do in a research?

First, define who your target readers or audiences are. Are they children, adults, professionals, laymen, politicians, masses, etc.

Again, Know what they are interested in and how you can bring a solution based on the value you have. For example, if they are adults who find it hard to keep to their daily routine, but you have a proven system that can help them to be time managers, then you have them.

Thirdly, ask questions. Let me tell you a mistake I made for a while: I used to blog about lots of personal in 2015 until I realized that no one was interested. I. Pulled. It. Down. Shikenan!
We are in a world of #HowETakeConcernMe. So you do not just wake up like these men in Ogbete Market, who keep on forcing your size 38 feet into a size 36 wedge shoe all in the name of, ‘Buy it and wear it! E go expand later!’

Another example to wrap this up is that prior to this post, I already had asked questions on my wall, in this group and one other group. So, if you sell coffins, instead of shouting

‘Buy your beautiful and long-lasting coffins from me!’

I would rather you start with

‘Five effective ways for helping bereaved find comfort.’

This answers the #HowETakeConcernMe. Rememer that only the living buy corpses for the dead.

 

CRITICAL THINKING is non-negotiable. There was a point in my life, I got used to listening and contributing to gossips that I began to sieve them. Infact to avoid people practically, I would put on my earpiece, head over to smartbcamp.com/live and listen to John Obidi’s village people’s beats. In one hour, I could come up with a well researched, written and revised 500-word piece.

Here’s the deal. In critical reasoning, we question the questions to discover the absolute truths, relative truths and the statements that no longer hold water. Here you question what you know and what you have researched, you argue your findings without eny emotional inclinations. The goal is to open up you to a higher reasoning on that topic and to avoid fallacies.
Do not ever force people or your characters. Arguementum ad bacculum is the fallacy that forces people to accept your conclusion. You should know too that when you try to force characters, you begin to lose your audience.
You cannot force a ‘Zone 4’ Abuja girl character into ‘a worker in Family Worship Centre’. There’s a gradual process of plot and critical thinking that gives live to that character.

WRITING FOR AN AUDIENCE is the stage where you put all your thoughts together as a means to answer these questions. Here you:

Put your thoughts into a TOPIC. A topic is not a story. An average of 60 characters (topic) should make up your topic. Your topic should to its work as a title that compells the reader to stay with you until you have aired your thoughts. Use power words where necessary. Let us, for a second time, consider this example:

‘Five effective ways to help the bereaved find comfort’

The power words here are ‘effective’ and ‘comfort’.

If you go by the topics:

‘Five ways to help the bereaved’   or

‘Five ways to help the bereaved so that they can cope with the death of a loved one’

The former is vague whilst the latter is already a story. As a matter of fact, the bereaved can also find comfort in suicide, drugs, unhealthy habits, etc; but the power words here are effective ways for comfort.

 

Next is an INTRODUCTION. Never, except you are at an informal gathering, start an article with these words:

‘Let me tell you a story.’

[We are here to read it already]

‘Story! Story!’

[This one is a cliché that only children could get interested in]

‘I want to tell you something.’

[The topic brought me here already. Or were you planning to tell me something else?]

‘This article is the best you will ever read.’

[We have not read the article and you are already writing a review. Powerful!]

 

Use words or sentences that draw attention to begin your introduction. For example

‘Imagine you were in a world with a loved one, filled with laughter and kindness…. Suddenly death came pressing the doorbell; before you could go get the door, he had gained entrance into your home.’

Introduction opens the curtains to a stage. It is the welcome address you give to an audience that keeps them from leaving the room until the show is over. If you want to spice it up? Use metaphors and pose a main question. For example, let’s assume that the statement applied to a character, Mrs. Omotosho; we can pose a question:

‘How then can we help the likes of Mrs. Omotosho, walk down this road of pain and loneliness in the shoes of bereavement?’

 

Next is the BODY OF THE ARTICLE. Here you will face the business of providing answers. Describe specifically in five paragraphs, the five effective ways that the bereaved can find comfort. As much as possible, use transitional words for each paragraphs. For example: firstly, secondly, also, in addition, moreover, in conclusion, etc. Each paragraph must address a method as already given in your topic. Do not use ambiguous words; keep in mind who your target audiences are. There’s no need stating the relativity theory or Hooke’s law in a story for 5-year olds.

Next is a CALL TO ACTION. Remember that this content marketing strategy is for a coffin seller. How does he #SellHisMarket without actually sounding ‘OMATAish’ [OMATA: Onitsha Market Traders Association]. He puts a call to action. In this age of blogging, calls to action are of various varieties. What I am referring to is a call to action within the article. This is sometimes not necessary to may people, or often ignored. However, it is great to have one, asides the ‘Share now!’ ‘Get a guide!’ ‘Download your free ebook!’ buttons located on target areas of your blog.

So, the coffin seller can say:

‘In my business of coffin design and making, we do not just aim to sell the best coffins that help the bereaved give the dead a befitting burial; we also take them through a coaching session on how to function well, inspite of their pain, but to the happiness of the one who has them behind.
In the case of Mrs. Omotosho, XYZ coffin sellers took them through a 5 day mental exercise, helping them reinforce the values that their mother left behind. We also reassured them of Mama’s philosophy to be a good ancestor to her children, as well as encouraging them to carry on this legacy down to her generations of children….’

 

Last is the CONCLUSION. How dare you write an article without a proper conclusion? It is like being invited to host a party as an MC, and you leave after refreshments have been served. Do. Not. Try. It. Mbok!
A conclusion usually is a single paragraph that SUMMARIZES (not begins another plot) in your piece. The coffin seller can briefly say:

‘In the long run, _ , _ , _ , _, and _ will not just help the bereaved carry on the legacy of their loved ones, but will help them infuse meaningful energy into live…’

You can also make a RECOMMENDATION in this part of your article. You can use words like

‘I advice’, ‘It is advisable’, ‘I suggest based on already proven results…’ and so on.

There are other necessary things you should indicate in an article.

Your name, contacts and a bio in a few lines, especially when writing for  a newspaper or popular blog.

When you use quotes, remember to use them appropriately and to reference these quotes. You may or may not reference clichés.

If you cannot afford an editor; write your first draft in a different font [say, Times New Roman] and change the orientation when proofreading [I love to use Courier New font, double spacing when editing]. Always check for errors, including factual errors. Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation must be ‘tight. Use a dictionary or thesaurus, please.

Use dialogue where necessary. It gives live to your characters.

I do hope that this article gives answers to the questions that you have concerning article writing. Do you have QUESTIONS? Leave them in the comment section.

Would you like to learn more? Type MORE in the comment section too.

Did you get to this point, reading this post? I have finally won the SEDUCTION contest. You have just read 1,642 words.

 

Consistency births Clarity

 

Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Ime Asangansi. He is the Chief Excellence Officer (CEO) of eHealth4Everyone, a healthcare company that uses digital strategy and analytics to solve current challenges in the healthcare industry.

We talked about the things we had in common as writers and storytellers; as health professionals seeking to build customer-centered relationships… As I made for home yesternight, I was left to ponder on a lot of things: the aftermath of these discussions.

Whilst some of us healthcare providers have our eyes solely on dragging, shifting, claiming, maintaining professional boundaries and crowning ourselves kings of the jungle; people like Dr. Ime are busy carving and owning niches, dominating the markets by weaving their talents, gifts and experiences into unique businesses that solve day-to-day problems.

Two things stood out for me, that one does not know where one is heading to until one eventually starts. Again, that the worst part of the writing battle is usually the first paragraph; once you begin, the ideas come flowing towards you like the river.
Last year, I took my writing seriously. I did not know where I was heading to. Today, I have one parking lot in the line of Brand Storytelling/Content Marketing Strategy/Social Media Strategy. Call it whatever you want, but they all have the same aim: to tell stories that will persuade people take action. All I can say is that consistency paves way for clarity.

So when you begin with the end in mind today, do not try to build the house all at once. One brick today, one brick the next day… Voila! We have a house!

Own Your Hustle.

The Write Direction

I believe that everyone has a story to tell. I believe that everyone can express themselves through powerful stories. If one becomes consistent in one’s own little pieces, one grows over time. I am my own example. The second edition of THE WRITE DIRECTION holds next month. TWD is an online class that seeks to raise serious writers who want to step up their game in story crafting for the purpose of making money from it. Next month’s edition will focus on MASTERING THE BUSINESS OF FREELANCE WRITING.

This would entail:

1. Understanding the story craft
2. Identifying your writing niches
3. Tools and Tactics for creative freelance writers
4. Crafting your brand statement
5. A guide to creating your first freelance writing proposal
6. Setting up and creating your first blog post (Self hosted sites)
7. Reaching out to your target audience.

BONUS:
8. The step by step guide to writing, editing, formatting/converting and publishing your first ebook.

How will this BENEFIT You and I?

-YOU will grasp fully how to write a compellingBio or an About-Me page.
-YOU will have access to tools that help you automate your online jobs
-YOU will confidently send out proposals for freelance writing gig
-YOU will own and become the landlord of your platform (Blog)
-It will help ME grow a team of committed writers that I can recommend to anyone else. YOU will have access to a one-on-one chat in and out of class.
-It will help ME raise funds for my school fees this semester.
-It will help ME (re) invest in my passion for Creative Writing and Social Storytelling

DATE: 12th-18th of March, 2017
VENUE: Closed Facebook Group
TIME: 10am daily
FEE: 25,000 Naira
Payments made before 26th February come with 20%discount.

To register and reserve a space:
-Please Pay to
GTB
A/c Name: Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli
A/c Number: 0233805503

Send a mail to chidindu.iamchidindu.com for your receipt.

I hope to see you in class.

NB: If you know someone who can benefit from this, please share with them. This class will hold online, so distance is no barrier.

Nonsense ad Ingredients

 

 

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Everyone on the face of this planet has a struggle: a struggle to become… But does the society and her standards really allow us to breathe in the kind of atmosphere we create for ourselves? Is this not worse for women?

Nonsense and Ingredients is a collection of thoughts and stories that do not just challenge the negative views the society has of women but also highlight the need for everyone to be concerned and take on the baton of responsibility towards the role women play in the society.
This book will teach and entertain you. You may have a good laugh reading it but I urge you to learn from every page. Get a copy here.

Healthcare Storytelling

I double as a writer and medical laboratory scientist. This makes me see the field of medicine differently. Whilst most people think that science is different from (or superior to) arts, I believe that art is the voice that connects science to what humans easily relate to.

NYSC days opened my eyes to the world of volunteerism. Being in the corp medical team and delivering health talks as an emergency vanguard were experiences that made me. I would go to places I had never been before, spend a week or few days giving freely to humanity from the life-saving skills I have been equipped with. As someone who loves to travel, I earnestly hope to explore Maiduguri someday.

What have I learnt as a volunteer? I have learnt that people connect with those who understand ‘their language’. Villagers troop to the village health centre because someone finally remembers them and have come to care for them. I have learnt that what most people need is a little knowledge to stay away from unhealthy habits.

***

In these my days of further studies and job search, I realise that I am more inclined to Non-Governmental Organisations than to huge diagnostic centres and hospitals. Each time I got an invite to an interview, I would first search through their websites for the EVENT/BLOG pages. If these pages were absent or had no stories in them, I would conclude that this health care provider was more into making his cash than providing value to the common man.Maybe, I am wrong.Maybe they had these intentions but didn’t know how to go about it.

The difference is clear. Community-based health care organisations relate better than most diagnostic/medical centres. Should it be so? Are the latter category not also dealing with human beings? Why should they not educate us from the experiences that they have?

What if they hired creative writers who are niched in health writing? What if they got a staff trained in writing for blogs and social media?

Do they realise that a blog post of value could keep patients updated in and out of social media?

What if they told success stories on how they were able to solve certain problems in the healthcare sector?

What if they asked clients for testimonials and ratings through Customer service surveys?

#TheWriteDirection#TWD#MasteringTheBusinessofFreelanceWriting#MTBOFW is a class you do not want to miss. A guide to story craft (which includes article-writing) will be discussed.

Learn More.