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Sept. 9, 2020
This paid piece is sponsored by Click Rain and was abbreviated for SiouxFalls.Business. Read the full article here.
By Cameron Brooks
New beginnings open us up to learning and fresh perspectives. That certainly has been the case during my first 90 days as a content writer at Click Rain. In this post, I’ll share just three of the most relevant lessons I’ve begun to learn since starting.
When I started at Click Rain, our city was taking its first strides toward return to “business as usual” after months of COVID-19 shutdowns. The whole office had gone remote, and many team members were still working from home on my first day. It was an unusual time, but I quickly learned that Click Rain had not let social or virtual distance get in the way of collaborating as a team.
My first virtual IT onboarding session was seamless. Thanks, Brady! Other teammates reached out over Slack to say hello or answer my questions. I noticed that while every department had its own unique responsibilities, everyone worked together to get stuff done. And that’s what teams are supposed to do.
It wasn’t long before I had team members asking me — the new guy — to edit or proofread their writing: “Please wordsmith this. This needs some finessing. Need Cameron to make this better.” Of course, I knew that was all in my job description. But it was refreshing to see such openness to collaboration from my new colleagues. Teamwork takes trust and humility. When your teammates trust you to do your job, you begin to feel integral to the operation as a whole and you develop a healthy dependence on others.
My second lesson is trade-specific, but if you ever write anything, keep reading.
Web writers attempt to “write like people talk.” And for good reason. Most of us don’t engage in routine long-form reading online. The internet is a resource for snatching fast information. So if you want readers to actually read what you write, the reasoning goes, you should be accessible, conversational and nowise esoteric. This is especially true for copywriters, whose words are meant to convince and convert.
But here’s the thing — we all know that compelling writing is clear and concise, two words which do not accurately describe how most people talk. When we talk, we ramble. We stumble over “likes” and “ums.” We inadvertently stuff our sentences with superfluous adverbs. And that’s all fine, but it raises the question: should we really write like we talk?
Yes and no. Yes, if you want readers to engage with your web content, you should use familiar words, words within their vocabulary. Use shorter sentences. Strive to be friendly and helpful.
On the other hand, writers, especially copywriters, should pursue brevity and exactness with words. Powerful writing is concise and direct. A good headline communicates through what it says, a great headline through what it doesn’t.
Finally, a note about culture at Click Rain. Like a new kid at school, I’ve been attentive to the dynamics and routines that turn the gears at this place. I knew that Click Rain claimed to be “people-first,” but I didn’t really know what that meant until recently. Let me explain.
Actually, it might be more helpful to first explain the opposite. The marketing and advertising industries can have rather cutthroat reputations — confirmed in the imagination by popular shows like “Mad Men.” Long hours, breakneck pace, no work/life balance to speak of — that industry tends to put profits first, not people.
True, marketing is about selling and promoting products and services, but even products and services are intended for people. I’m learning that people-first means creating a vibrant work environment where real people are valued over everything else, both the people in the office and the people we call “clients.”
Thankfully, I know my learning won’t stop after 90 days because people-first environments foster continual personal and professional growth. Really, I’m just getting started. So here’s to a more people-first world of marketing and perhaps even a more people-first world.
See what Click Rain’s new content writer learned during his first 90 days on the job.