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Retrospective: about writing

Every Thursday this year, I'll try to look back and pick out some great articles that have been previously posted, and link them up together. This is the first such article - feedback is welcome via Twitter or email.

For this one, let's focus on a favourite topic of mine: writing.

Why write

We'll start with Ryan Wagonner's admonition that entrepreneurs should be copywriters. Read that if you have any doubts that being a good writer is a fundamental entrepreneurial skill. Jason L Baptiste later echoed that point with "every entrepreneur should write". Not to be outdone, Gabriel Weinberg made a clear, step-by-step case for why one should blog (to which I added my own reasons). If you still had doubts, Patrick McKenzie's admonition that soapboxes are not optional in the startup world should convince you.

The iDoneThis team also wrote a good article showing how good copywriting reduced their support load, and Alex Pankratov gave an example of copywriting of an email subject increasing his conversion rate by 30%.

How to write

In response to Ryan's article, I ended up publishing how to get better at writing. If you missed it, and you want to get better at writing, this is the article for you! Are you trying to convince the rest of your team to write more? Perhaps you need a Power blogging hour, courtesy of Robert Laing. Finally, how to become an online influencer, via David Spark, is not so much focused on teaching writing, but on explaining how writing helps to boost your profile (and, indirectly, your startup's profile).

Blogging is not always the best way, however. Depending on your goals, you may need to step away from the standard chronological format, as I discussed in the problem with blogging. On the other end of the chronological scale, if you're wondering how to fit Twitter with your writing ventures, you might be curious to find out how I use Twitter.

Focusing on specific kinds of writing, Hirelite wrote about how to write a tech job ad. Leveraging my unique depth of expertise on the topic (cough), and taking meta to the next meta-level, I wrote about how to write startup advice articles so that they're actually useful to the readers. This rare article on SEO (well, rare for swombat.com) will also touch on some tips for how to get your writings to mesh with the search engines. Kristi Hines also wrote about how to put together a great case study.

Another specialised kind of writing is cold pitches, so here's how to cold-pitch angels, via David Cohen, and how to cold-pitch new sites, via the awesomely named Vinicius Vacanti.

And more...

Finally, as I mentioned in how to get better at writing, one of the things to do to get better at writing is to read a lot, so here are two articles about getting better at reading: get the most out of your startup reading and take notes to supercharge your reading (which make similar points in two different contexts).

I hope you enjoyed this first retrospective. Please do let me know if you like it.

More from the library:
Dark patterns: good for business?
Start with a prototype
Go for the win-win situations