A week ago I went to a boxing event here in Malta. There were 9 bouts, each rather good, some spectacularly so. At around the third fight in, an idea formed in my head.
Boxing is a lot like writing good content. A strange match up, sure, but it’s true.
Allow me to show you what boxing can teach you about your content and how it should be written.
1 – Entrance is important
First impressions last and all that. If you go into the ring with arms down and no guard, you’ll get knocked down in no time. That’s like content that starts off with no punch, no stance, just a bunch of extra words before you get to the meat of the subject.
On the other hand, if you come out swinging with arms flailing all about, you risk being unfocused and getting punched in the head by a more seasoned, more composed opponent. That happens when your content is too aggressive in the beginning, scaring the opponent off, or worse, cornering him and making him get defensive. Don’t make your opponent defensive; open strongly, but pace yourself while getting to the point.
2 – Composure is key
You can often predict which way a fight is going to go simply by the boxers’ composure. Sure, there are upstarts, but a lot of the time the win goes to the best composed fighter in the ring. Form is hugely important and requires disciplined training to master. Guard up, move about and stay cool.
The same applies to content writing. Keep to the form and be composed. It’s one thing to write a PR piece and quite another to write a blog post. Composing a tweet is different to writing an email newsletter.
Drilling down even further, think of the shape of your words on a web page. Are there too many of them? Are the sentences too long? Are the words you’ve chosen too complicated? Do you risk boring your reader, like a fighter who flails about desperately, only to get tired and finished off by a single expert punch?
3 – Don’t muck about
In boxing and all other forms of combat, if you muck about and don’t make contact, you’re only tiring yourself out. The opponent is able to move less than you, because you can’t reach in to hit. The longer you take to actually score some points, the more infuriated the opposing fighter will get, and the more time he has to understand your technique.
In content writing, the longer you take to get to the point, the more chance there is that the reader will switch tabs or turn the page. By all means, get to the point easily, but do get to it!
I’m sure you’ve all read something a page long only to get to the bottom and feel offended because you still don’t know what the whole point of the piece was. And this leads me nicely to…..
4 – Respect your opponent (your reader)
As brutal as boxing is, the most heartwarming thing to see is the fighters embrace at the end of a harshly fought out match. True, they’ve just spent 10 or 15 minutes bashing each other in the face and various other soft bits, but that doesn’t mean they don’t respect each other as athletes and fighters.
The exact same thing applies to writing. Respect your reader. Don’t make them feel stupid. Respect your reader by not making stupid mistakes in grammar and spelling.
Lastly, respect your reader by not condescending to them. Remember that people are more likely to like you if they find themselves agreeing with you, so if you come off as haughty and arrogant, chances are you will lose your appeal. Just like a prizefighter who storms off the ring without shaking hands with the opponent, people will know that you’re good at what you do, but they most probably won’t like you.
In conclusion, when writing, just like in boxing, the entrance is important, composure is key, don’t faff about unnecessarily and respect your recipient.
If you need a hand with learning how to write knockout content, contact me. If you don’t have the tenacity to train yourself hard, not a problem, I can fight a few rounds for you myself and write you the heavyweight content you so crave.