On Wednesday 25th April I attended a fantastic course on writing for exhibitions and social media. Run by Rebecca Mileham and Dea Birkett, aka textworkshop, it was a lively, engaging and stimulating day, with a great mix of listening and participation.
In the morning session we worked through their ten top tips for improving your writing. I particularly enjoyed this as they illustrated their points with real-life examples of both good writing and epic failures, mainly taken from museum displays, so it was clear how the theory worked in practice. The presentation was interspersed with writing practice sessions, as we each worked on a short piece of event advertising text which we kept revising according to what we’d just learnt. Although the ten tips were all excellent advice I won’t broadcast textworkshop’s secrets here – if you want to know what they are you’ll need to book onto one of their courses, which I thoroughly recommend!
After lunch we were joined by @mardixon to talk about social media, and in particular how to manage a corporate twitter presence. One of the main things I took away from this which I hadn’t really thought about before is that everyone should have a social media strategy. Obviously companies need to, and this should be a continually-evolving thing, but Mar argued that it can also be helpful to have a personal strategy too, as it can help shape the way in which you disseminate information and engage with others. Thinking about this further, I do have a set of principles which I try to abide by, I just hadn’t thought of it as a strategy – for example I don’t swear, try not to rant too much, avoid being passive-aggressive and only retweet things I think will be of genuine interest/value to my followers.
To finish we looked specifically at blogging, and I was thrilled when a post I wrote recently for our work blog was flagged up as a good example! I noted down the following pointers, and I know I (try to) do some of them, but there’s clearly room for improvement:
- Be yourself
- Feel it
- Ask questions, provoke debate
- Share secrets, describe a hidden world
- Have a rant (sometimes!)
- Make it fresh, immediate
- Keep it short
- Great pictures help
- Don’t over-edit
- Take the reader on a journey
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