When I start a project, I do a surprising amount of reading and listening, more than you likely expect. I listen to what people want, what they're saying about what's important to them, and what they're genuinely proud of.
Web writing, more than other kinds of writing is a call and response mechanism. That might have made you scratch your heads, if you're unfamiliar with old school hip hop, and beat poetry. In other words, it's like a back and forth discussion between the reader, and the writer. The writer says something, and the reader responds to that particular comment, and it just keeps going back and forth rhythmically. There's a concrete reason why I often do phone calls with new clients, where a majority of my comments are phrased as questions. That first conversation is a key resource because the client often freestyles about what they value the most.
One of the most memorable web writing projects I ever did was for someone who owned a restaurant that specialized in chicken. All the copy that I produced was based on how proud they were of both their family's influence on their work and their ability to endure despite crucial barriers, when they were just starting out, such as money and resources. Listening is an important part of my process, because if you give people the chance to talk, they'll talk, and if what you do for them, reflects what they said, they'll like you.
One thing that I've gotten really good at are calls to action. The web is a medium that always has to give readers a clear sense of how they can respond in a manner that keeps the call and response mechanism flowing. There's always a "that's cool, now what," question to answer, and I find the idea of that extremely fascinating. This is also why this is a medium where listening is extremely important. You have to be one step ahead of what people actually want.
Every single testimonial that I've published via my website
within the past two weeks consistently reminds me that my listening-based approach is extremely effective. People often ask why I write. That's something that I get a lot. Once upon of time, I had a really hard time getting my voice heard by others, and ever since I've wanted to help people tell their stories.
That's literally what gets me out of bed in the morning. I have this amazing gift, writing, of course, and there are so many people out there that need me to use my gift to get their voice heard by others. It's a journey that hasn't exactly been easy, sure, but sometimes I find myself immersed in projects that make me go: "why did I ever consider doing anything else besides what I'm doing right now?"