Social media is putting pressure on all of us to develop solid content for our websites, e-zine articles, and blog posts.
The feelings of writer’s block and a lack of creativity are frustrating. I’d like to offer you a solution.
It’s the golden rule I learned 25 years ago when I started my radio news career as a street reporter in New Jersey. It’s at the core of our world today in social media.
The Golden Rule
In addition to anchoring on-air newscasts, my job was to cover community events, press conferences, and government meetings. The first day in the newsroom, my boss growled at me, “Don’t come back without a story.” This my friends, is the golden rule.
Every reporter, whether it’s print, radio or TV, has heard the same mantra. It’s the marching orders for all news pros. I suppose we have to earn our keep. So do you.
How It Works
I would go to these meetings and events and often didn’t know what issues or things would pop up. Sure there were agendas, but there public portions and no one knew who would stand up to speak, or what they would talk about. That was part of the thrill. For the most part, things were interesting. There were controversial issues with huge impacts on people, businesses, and quality of life. Trash incinerators, massive construction projects, corruption, murders, taxes, and more. These were all good opportunities for interviews and snappy sound bites.
But there were also times when it wasn’t easy. I knew the rule: “Don’t come back without a story.” I’d look at the meeting agenda and it seemed mundane.
This forced me to listen in a new way. All I heard in my head was the gruff bark of my boss, “Don’t come back without a story.” I’d have to keep my radar up and really pay attention. I had to always “be on.” I had to be more creative and listen for tidbits and nuggets to uncover. They were there; and it was my job to find them.
What This Means To You: Your 5-Point Action Plan
Even though you’re probably not a news reporter, we’re in a fiercely competitive world desperately searching for content. To meet this challenge, you always have to “be on.” It’s about keeping your radar in life fully activated.
I challenge you to live each day with the mantra: “Don’t come back without a story.”
Here’s your 5-point assignment:
1. Awaken and fall asleep each day with a journal or small notebook in arm’s reach. Carry it with you all the time.
2. Start to listen in different ways to your breakfast conversation, a dialogue in an elevator, or a talk you have with your mechanic. Watch people. What are they saying or doing that can tie back into your world? Be curious. Jot things down. Don’t leave anything to memory.
3. Understand all the content you need is in front of your face. Connect what you’ve seen and heard back to your expertise, business, products, customer service, vacation, and computer crash. Think about how it fits in with trends in your industry.
4. Remind yourself that you are ‘always on.’ Pay attention!
5. Remember your goal: “Don’t come back without a story.”
At the end of each day, review your notes, phrases, and nuggets. Select at least one topic that you can use for your blog, newsletter, bylined article, or video.
You’ll soon notice an improvement in your creativity.
Now that you know the rule, I’m sure you’ll come up with some great ideas. I hope you’ll share them.