Donkeys, Elephants and You: A Guide for the Web Content Writer
As a web content writer, you probably write on a variety of different topics. Some of these topics come easily to you, some of them are a bit harder. No matter what your background and interests, one of the hardest topics to write about is always going to be politics. Even if you are extremely knowledgeable, it is very difficult to tackle these subjects because you will have your own opinions, the readers will have their own options, and then there are the facts! Discover a few strategies to consider when you are writing about a politically-based topic—then you can figure out how to tackle that next political article, be it about donkeys, elephants or a horse of a different color.
Just the Facts Ma’am
While this doesn’t work for every piece, one strategy is to cover the facts and only the facts. Quite often this means covering the who, what, when, where and how—and leaving out the why. Taking down just the facts is difficult, and can make for a bit of a boring piece. However, if you need an article that is purely informative, just the facts are all you need.
Avoiding Bias as a Web Content Writer
If you do decide to take a slightly more detailed route, you will be tasked with avoiding bias (unless, of course, you are asked to write a piece that is skewed to one side or the other). If you are avoiding bias, cover the topic from both angles and, even more importantly, watch your words carefully. It is easy to slip words in your writing that can reveal unintentional bias. Avoid words that spark anger, fear or sadness—once again, unless you are writing a piece that is meant to inspire strong feelings in one direction.
When in Doubt, Don’t Check It Out!
Finally, if you have doubts about your ability to handle the topic tactfully and with the correct “feeling,” it may be better to pass on the job. Most of the time your client will understand that perhaps your own political leanings don’t allow you to give the piece the type of attention it deserves. It only makes sense to pass on a piece if you don’t feel like you can do the best job possible. Plus, it is never worth it to compromise your own feelings about a subject just to make a few dollars and get another piece on your resume.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.