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How to Craft
Way of Oz
Follow the Yellow Brick Road...
invites you to...
Sue-Ann Bubacz 1/19/2016
How to Craft Engaging Content by Way of Oz
And by Oz, I don’t mean Australia.
To craft engaging content, a trip to Oz may help, because you’ll need all the heart and courage you can ﬁnd…and a
dose of brains won’t hurt either.
For writers, the journey to ﬁgure out how to craft engaging content can be just as tricky as falling out of a tornado
and landing in Oz.
A simple formula I use for more engaging writing parallels Dorothy’s memorable trip down the Yellow Brick Road.
Who knows? Maybe a trip to the “Great and Powerful Oz” will help you ﬁnd some helpful answers for crafting your
engaging content, too.
Let’s seek some writing lessons and see what a little tromp down a yellow brick route may reveal.
Oh, and keep an eye out for ﬂying monkeys along the way. Just saying.
Start at the Heart
Just like that Tin Man, you’re looking for heart in your writing and, like him, without it, you are just hollow.
You need to get to the heart of your purpose.
You need to feel and understand the heartbeat of the project/company/product.
And you need to ﬁnd, as precisely as Cupid’s arrow, the heart of your audience.
The hollowness in the Tin Man as he knocks and clanks his way through Oz makes you sad—you want the silver
guy to get his beloved heart.
Without heart, your writing is sad, too. And mechanical. And it sounds like something you have already seen or
heard before. Dry. Scholastic. Boring. Clunky.
You ﬁnd out as the tale goes on, the Tin Man’s heart is a bigger heart than any so, oops, there it goes again—
writing. Developing a character in the telling of a story to make you feel and then learn, oh so many lessons along
Drumming up Courage
When it comes to your writing, are you a Cowardly Lion?
I feel I may have learned a thing or two along my writing journey and sometimes life on this topic, but one thing
every writer needs to get is this:
Your courage begins when you put the ﬁrst letter down on a page. (Okay, or on your favorite digital device.)
What I’ve learned from the learned and you may ﬁnd particularly helpful, too, is:
Writing is a continually evolving, changing, and growing experience. It improves over time and with practice.
As you hone your writing skills, you develop a unique style and “craft” that ultimately is a one-of-a-kind, piece
Writing that’s not good, or needs improvement (however you want to look at it) will not blow up the world.*
You can’t hurt anyone by being courageous enough to give it a go. *I borrowed this one from Linda
Formichelli and Carol Tice.
“Even an editor needs an editor,” is one of my favorite lessons straight from Kathryn Aragon, Content Director
at Mirasee and former editor of the Crazy Egg blog. Knowing your work can have a second look ( by an
editor) should give you an extra boost of courage right there.
Rejection is just a part of the business of writing. What????? You mean it isn’t about YOU? Nope, it’s just a
business decision, or mismatch in timing, or change in guidelines, or…whatever it is…it isn’t you. So gather
your courage and move to the next guy who wants, needs, loves, and maybe even will PAY for your work.
(You’ve heard how many times the likes of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling were turned down—and they’re
pretty darn good writers, right?) So I guess courage sometimes means persistence, too.
“You are a writer,” as Jeﬀ Goins says. I know I repeated that one to myself, over and over in my head after
reading Jeﬀ, because courage is to proclaim who you know you are and who you want to be and sometimes
the biggest goofball out there—the one you mainly have to convince—is yourself. Try this one, because
mindset is everything in writing. It takes courage to take a stance and action to make it real, and that’s up to
Being cowardly, like our favorite Lion on his way to Oz, is often overcome by action.
You have to forget about yourself and your insecurities and simply take action. Like the Cowardly Lion does when he
in sticks up for Dorothy, showing a lot of courage, even if accidentally.
I guess what I’m saying is that action is motion, and when you’re busy working on your writing skills and doing it, you
forget to be afraid.
And soon enough, you won’t have time to waste looking for courage because you’re just too busy writing! At least,
that’s how it works for me.
Bring Your Brain to the Game
The quest for a brain to ﬁll the friendly, but empty-headed Scarecrow’s noggin with brilliance may be the biggest feat
This quote, sent to me in an alumni mailing, really stuck in my head, though the pub didn’t say and I have no idea
who ﬁrst said it:
Follow Your Heart, but Take Your Brain Along
See, just like the Great and Powerful Oz, the brain of the operation is hidden behind the curtain, as is often the case
in your writing. But without it, no one can follow the yellow brick road or get anywhere at all.
Logic, too, is paramount to what you write—you know, the thing you need to have in place to hold your thoughts and
words together and present them in an inspiring way to readers.
The biggest obstacle to putting the brain in gear in your writing may have something to do with this one thing: it
takes work. You know, research, fact-checking, interviews and other analytical, data and background gathering
This means proving what you are saying, or at the very least, building believability/credibility, or creating a
suspension of disbelief, as may be the case for your work, depending on genre.
So this is where the nuts and bolts come into play when you write–more than the Tin Man will ever need in his entire
Reading, listening and learning is something a writer needs to do every single day.
Tuning in and seeing things in a new way helps you ﬁnd material and ideas all around you. And it plays into a
writer’s natural curiosity as well.
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. ~John Wooden
Put Your Brain in the Action
In this example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar backs his views, written for Time with strong data to support his case.
Creative guy, Barry Feldman, writer and content creator extraordinaire, produces piece after piece of writing all over
the place, oﬀering not only examples and data-backed information but, he provides worksheets, e-books, webinars,
infographics and checklists to:
prove his position
beef up your brain and skills
make him memorable
build authority with clients and prospects
You get the picture. These guys apply smarts to their writing like mad and tremendously have an impact. That’s what
you, me, and the Scarecrow all want!
Then all we need to do is add our very own insight for a one-of-a-kind, unique perspective.
TaDa, before you know it, the magic from Glenda’s (the good witch) wand is within reach, ready to twinkle from your
pen, and the beautiful Emerald City comes into view.
On this last note, I’ll share a tweet from my Twitter feed.
I was new and trying to ﬁgure Twitter out at the time. I remember feeling delighted because a piece of my writing
(testing on my feed) scored me the most love (maybe ONLY love) I had on Twitter, at that point. Now I’m sharing it
with you, too:
If being a thought leader means having your own thoughts, I’m in! ~Sue-Ann Bubacz
Reaching the Emerald City
I hope this tale down the winding yellow road inspires you, or your sense of writing, or helps in some way.
I know some of these ideas and tips, even all of them if you’re a seasoned writer, may be familiar, but I think they
apply each time you sit down to write and sometimes, it’s nice to have a reminder in a simple formula like this.
Bringing heart, courage, and brains in each piece of your work, is no doubt a winning checklist.
In the end, if your readers feel like you’ve brought them home with you, then, well–we all know the rest, “There’s no
place like home.”
What do you think?
Bringing heart, courage, and brains to each piece of your work is like ﬁnding The Emerald City.
Need Better Content for Your Website?
Sue-Ann is a boutique business owner for more than half her life! She
loves creating content to help businesses grow. Working and deadlines are
great, but boating in the wind and ﬂoating in water sure is fun too!