The One Skill That Can Help You In ANY Career In The Digital Age
That’s the skill. Writing. It’s an ancient skill that goes back over 7000 years and it is more important than ever today. It’s the one piece of advice that I make sure to include and emphasize in every conversation I have when I mentor student athletes at the University of Michigan, and it is a skill that people may underestimate for many different careers. Always be honing your writing skills - it’s never too early and it’s never too late.
Now there are certain careers where the ability to write is central to the job - journalists, authors, English teachers come immediately to mind - duh. But what about chefs, plumbers, firefighters, soldiers, landscapers or massage therapists for example? Well here’s the thing: in today’s digital world you can type a few hundred words to tell a story, teach someone something or show your services or products, hit a button and have it reach people in any corner of the world (or even just your neighborhood) because of the Internet. Now it’s not necessarily that easy per se, but there are indeed people doing this in every - yes every - career imaginable and growing their influence and their business as a result. Just this second I plugged in “Plumbing blogs” to a Google search and got a result for the FIFTY best ones to follow. Plumbers blogging their plumber’s butts off! Now the idea of beginning a blog in a crowded field may be intimidating, but starting a Facebook page (or hiring someone to help you start one) isn’t that hard, and if you can write 500 hundred words on a plumbing topic maybe you could even offer an article to one of these blogs as a guest and then you’d get a credit to your name online which you could indeed share on Facebook - that could help your business! Besides you probably don’t need 100,000 readers or customers or even 5000 to be successful online - heck you might not even need 100 depending on the field you’re in. If you have expertise and you can get it across in words on a screen in an interesting voice (YOUR voice) maybe with a little bit of humor and wit, then you can make it happen.
But Doug I’m not the most accomplished writer…
Okay so you’re not William Shakespeare. But here’s the good news: When you write a blog post (or even just solid posts on Facebook, Instagram or elsewhere) you aren’t required to write at the level of the Harvard Law Review. In fact the lower the level, the wider the appeal - “they” usually say that blogs posts are best at an 8th grade level. That’s not to say you can sound juvenile or have misspellings or grammatical errors - you certainly can’t. But if you aren’t completely confident in your skills there are many ways to improve and get help. Here are 5:
Read. Yes read! Find a good book if you haven’t in a while. Search for some blogs in your field or chosen topic and follow them and get in the habit. Reading more often (as opposed to plopping down in front of the TV or gaming) will indeed help you with your writing. It will exercise the parts of your brain that are responsible for language!
Write. Yes write! Sit down in front of your keyboard and just do it. You could even start journaling to get in the habit of writing. Even just by writing for yourself you’ll know when you read it back a day or a week later if it’s any good.
Take A Course. You can just do a quick search at your local community college and enroll in a writing or composition course if you really want to up your game. Oakland Community College here in Oakland County has a bunch for example.
Tweet. Okay wait - Twitter only gives you 280 characters right? Right - but the constraint of space can force you to succinctly get your point across with less fat. Getting your point across is important - bloated posts may have less impact with today’s digital attention span of the average human.
So that’s my advice to you. No matter what your age, no matter what your field, being able to write is the one skill can help you in any career in this digital age we live in! So get going!
M10 Social is owned by Doug Cohen in West Bloomfield, MI and provides social media training and digital marketing services from the Frameable Faces Photography studio Doug owns with his wife Ally. He can be reached there at tel:248-790-7317, by mobile at tel:248-346-4121 or via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.