I’m Unlearning Writing-101

College writing prepares you to fail as a digital writer. 

Writing to a digital audience is a distinct skill you don’t learn in college. In fact, college writing prepares you to fail as a digital content writer. 

I am not a writer by trade. However, over the past couple of years, I spent at least 40% of my time writing on different channels such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Tax Adviser, CoinTracker blog, etc. breaking down complex tax topics. I have had a decent amount of success including some of my posts reaching over 100,000 views. Here’s what I have learned about online writing compared to college writing. 

First, college teaches you a writing structure that simply doesn’t work on the internet. The college trains you to start with an introduction and a background about the subject before jumping into the true message of the post. This approach sets you for failure on the internet. If you don’t capture readers’ attention from the title or byline, readers won’t even click the post to read, regardless of how good the content is. 

Some of my highly viewed posts grab the attention of readers at first sight. 

Second, college rewards you for writing more words (quantity). The internet rewards you for short, impactful messaging as opposed to writing. On the internet, great writing is more about deleting words than adding words. The ideal length for a post is about 500-600 words with a 2-3 minute reading time. If your article is more than that, that means you have too many ideas in one article.  

Third, college rewards you for using fancy, complicated words. Online readers reward you for simple words that communicate ideas clearly. Improving readability is especially important when you write on complex topics like taxes. The goal should be to share enough information to make the readers aware of the subject. 

Fourth, college doesn’t reward you for writing fast. The internet rewards you for the speed of writing. In college, you usually get weeks or even a whole semester to write on certain topics. You are not rewarded for the speed of writing. The internet is the complete opposite. Breaking news requires you to write fast and concise posts. The sooner you get your post out, the higher the chance of getting more visibility into your post because you become the source of the news. 

I will add more tips and tricks as I unlearn college writing.


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