Everybody Should Know How to Write

Poor writing is the bane of our existence.

And, unfortunately, bad writing is everywhere.

My livelihood depends upon being a better writer than most, but that doesn’t mean I am not constantly appalled at the quality of writing put on display by those who think they don’t need to master this form of communication.

I know very successful people who are terrible writers. It boggles the mind that they have made it this far in life without being able to write a complete sentence.

But it is as much on them as it is on the educational institutions that let them slide out with a degree and a less-than-passing knowledge of the English language.

Not everyone needs to know how to write a press release or become a whiz at content marketing. But is too much to ask for an email that doesn’t make me cringe due to the sheer volume of spelling and grammatical errors?

There is no faster way to come off looking like somebody who is not very smart than to write a Facebook post or email riddled with spelling errors. You might have a very important point you want to get across, but nobody will take you seriously if you can’t spell.

It would be easy for me to build the gist of my argument around society’s march toward a future where our attention spans have been reduced to rubble.

But, like I said, that’s the easy cop-out.

We write more than ever. Whether it’s a blog post, a tweet, a Facebook post, a text message, a LinkedIn article, or an e-mail, we speak with people less and we use our words (in various forms) to more. Those who are eloquent in their writing are the people who will succeed, especially as society starts to figure out what professions will live on as we cope with the rise of artificial intelligence.

You don’t have to be a marketer to appreciate eight writing lessons from marketing guru Ann Handley, but it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on this skill.

Your future might depend on it.

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

The WWE’s Marketing Engine is Top-Notch

Before you delve into this post, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that needs to be revealed before we go any further: I still watch pro wrestling.

In fact, I subscribe to World Wrestling Entertainment‘s WWE Network, a revolutionary subscription-based streaming service that gives die-hard fans access to more wrestling than they could ever dream of.

(Don’t @ me- it’s $10/month to watch all of the pay-per-views, including WrestleMania, as well as (nearly) everything the company has produced in the past 35 years. The adolescent in me wishes this was a thing 25 years ago.)

While I don’t watch Monday Night Raw and WWE Smackdown Live religiously, I still follow the storylines, because it’s the story that makes wrestling worth watching.

When the company tells a story the right way, it sucks you in.

And isn’t telling a story the right way, to the right audience, what good marketing is all about?

Granted, WWE has a rich history and thousands upon thousands of hours of content to pull from. They could easily rest on their laurels and sit back and watch the money roll in.

But the WWE marketing engine always operates at a high level.

Whether it’s the WWE’s Twitter handle, the WWE YouTube page, or email marketing that speaks to a certain persona, it’s all part of a cohesive storytelling effort that draws people in and makes them care about men and women engaging in a pre-determined (yet physically taxing) ballet in the squared circle.

I would love to see their content calendar. That monstrosity has to be a master class in how to create and share content that resonates.

When you engage in marketing, you want to give the audience what they want.

Even if I haven’t watched the product in a few months, I can go to their YouTube channel and watch highlights from past shows that bring me up to speed within minutes.

Now, I’m right back in the community.

When you do marketing properly, you give people a sense of inclusion; like they are a part of something special.

When it comes to WWE, everything they create is geared for the fan, both casual and hardcore. They don’t discriminate.

What you get is a polished presentation of their overarching stories, complete with a wink and a nod that everyone is in on the same secret.

It’s how marketing should be, and the WWE marketing engine continues to hum along as their legions of fans follow close behind.

Photo by Garett Mizunaka on Unsplash

LaVar Ball Is An Obnoxious Marketing Genius

Unless you follow the National Basketball Association, you’ve probably never heard of LaVar Ball.

Here’s a quick primer: LaVar Ball is the father of Los Angeles Lakers’ rookie, Lonzo Ball, the second pick in this past June’s NBA draft.

Ball is also the head of Big Baller Brand, athletic apparel inspired by his three sons: Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo.

LaMelo is still in high school, while LiAngelo has followed his big bro’s footsteps and will play for UCLA this year.

Lonzo is a rookie making his way in the NBA.

Ever since Lonzo burst on the scene at UCLA, his dad has been hyping him as the next big thing. And that was before anyone saw him play a Division 1 basketball game.

Throughout Lonzo’s short college career, LaVar said to anybody willing to pay attention that his son was going to turn the pro game on its head, even going so far as to say his son would be better than Michael Jordan.

And, thanks to his outlandish claims and desire to hog the spotlight, a lot of us were forced to listen to him. (Thanks ESPN for giving him TV time!)

As he continues to praise his son and rep his Big Baller Brand, I’m reminded of another boisterous and outspoken man who was able to say anything and never pay the consequences.

That man, who shall remain nameless, was able to ascend to his desired position on the strength of his words. Whether or not you believed them was another issue entirely, but you can’t deny they propelled him.

LaVar Ball is doing the same thing, and he’s even dragging other NBA players into the discussion. He’s basically using their Twitter accounts to help promote his brand.

Prior to a game earlier this week, Ball said the Lakers wouldn’t lose again this week, which included a game against one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams, the Washington Wizards.

This caused Wizards center, Marcin Gortat, to take to Twitter (like all sports feuds today) and say his teammate, John Wall, would hound Ball for the entire game, making his life uncomfortable for 48 minutes.

Guess what?

The Lakers won, just like Ball said they would. It doesn’t matter if the Lakers lose their next game. What Ball said has come true so far, and he’ll make sure we know it.

By taking the matter to Twitter, the Wizards became de facto influencers for his son and, by extension, the Big Baller Brand.

Marketing 101 says you need to get people talking about your product, even if it’s in a roundabout sort of way.

Whether you like it or not, LaVar’s sons and his Big Baller Brand are being talked about at the highest levels of the sport, and it’s all because of the way LaVar has marketed the trio: obnoxiously.

But to him, it probably doesn’t matter how he does it, as long as there is buzz.

To him, mission accomplished.