I blog about all manner of things happening in the tech world. Often, I choose to concentrate on specifics like mobile technology. I have been doing this for quite some time now and learned many things along the way. The most important one is that I, as a conveyor of news — good or bad — am not the end to my readers’ means of accessing information.
I’ve never been for this assumption that any information I’ve bumped into is exclusive to me. No, it is not. Just that not everyone is talking about it doesn’t mean that they don’t know about it. Plus, is that “everyone”’s work reporting? So, they are minding their own business and you shouldn’t assume that they don’t know. Just put yourself in their shoes and think about what you’d want to know more if you were them.
Thanks to the interesting times we live in, by the time I sit down to put something down on my laptop, chances are that my would-be reader has already heard about what I’m writing from another source that is not me or my publication. As such, it’s stupid for me to act all naive and go ahead with either a headline or content that assumes that I am breaking the same news to them.
The dawn of the age of the internet has meant that journalists, and now bloggers, need to do more than break news. Writers need to do more than just tell a story.
When you sit down to write (I’ve recently discovered that others prefer to write while standing so whatever works for you), remember that you are writing for a modern, updated and, at times, unforgiving audience.
News breaks on Twitter, opinions are aired on Facebook and images and videos with the backstory are shared on Instagram and Snapchat. As a journalist, blogger, writer or whatever you call yourself, you’re just a conduit and your content should reflect that at the very least. Since you are not delivering something that is unheard of — we’re no longer living in the days of the newspaper arriving next morning with all the news — do more!
Today, technology reporting is no longer a niche segment. Many still regard it as such but it has evolved. I have been covering wearables that are more stylish and likely to entice fashionistas than they are to excite geeks. When I’m writing about such, I have to cover the device as the geek would want — specifications and all — while still not leaving everyone who is not a geek behind or estranging the geek in the process since they are both my readers. It’s a thin line but I, and you, must walk it.
Tech, as we know it, has evolved to cover every sphere of our lives. When you have that at the back of your head then you will remember that your would-be audience may be a mile or two ahead of you every time and there’s little you can do to change that. It’s a new world. This complicates matters because to stay relevant, you must not only catch up but also try to stay ahead.
How do you do that?
Give your audience something that expands their already held view of the subject matter or that widens their perception of it. One of my favourite go-to sites these days is vox.com. Vox goes a step further every day to explain the things in mainstream press. Just look at how they brilliantly explained the Panama Papers story using a piggy bank analogy.
Not many of us will have the resources at the disposal of vox.com’s writers and editors for research and information gathering but we can all rely on our accumulated knowledge of different subjects and subject matters to offer something more to the reader. For instance, as someone who writes on technology, I can count on my experience covering certain subject matters over the last five years to explain things better. Or I can turn to my four years of studying tech in college to be in a better position to place things in context and give the reader more.
It is okay to cover things as they happen. It is not okay to just stop there. It doesn’t matter how you do it — inside the same news piece or in a separate post — just make sure you do it!