DevReady PodcastDevReady Podcast E34 – Writing with Your Audience and Your Purpose in Mind with Adam Turner

On this episode of the DevReady Podcast, Andrew and Anthony speak with Adam Turner, freelance technology journalist who writes for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Starting out working for The Age, he developed a passion for tech and decided to go freelance – writing consumer tech for magazines like PC Authority and MacWorld, along with biztech for publications like the AFR and CRN. He also has his own tech news podcast called Vertical Hold.

Adam dives deep into the world of freelance writing and explains some of the nuances in building credibility. He spends a bulk of the episode breaking down helpful tips as well as scathingly criticizing the cumbersome tech writing of today. His main points here are that writing needs to be concise and engaging. There are tricks, but ultimately it’s a skill.

Topics Covered:

  • How to start selling your name and your business in press releases.
  • The importance of the brief on a press release.
  • Understanding what you want for the outcome.
  • It’s all about the hook, for journalism and everything else.
  • General advice for making your writing better.
  • Why reading a lot makes you a better, more engaging writer.
  • You need to understand the style you want to capture.
  • It’s all about writing concisely and engagingly.
  • The move now is away from academic language to tight, engaging writing.
  • You must have something to say — it’s the most important thing.

Key Quotes:

  • “If you’re writing a thought leadership post, you’re helping them know stuff.” – (12:20)
  • “If they see your press release and it reads like an ad: swipe.” – (14:10)
  • “It’s not easy to write about yourself and not about yourself at the same time.” – (15:46)
  • “When you’re talking to a journalist, you’re talking to them in 5 second increments, if you’re lucky.” (18:20)
  • “Sometimes you have to throw out the line you worked really hard for.” (21:16)
  • “Don’t get too bogged down in it.” (24:10)
  • “Have a look at what your competitors are doing as well.” (28:25)
  • “Every word and every paragraph needs to be doing a job — if it’s not, get rid of it.” (34:10)
  • “I always find more mistakes on a printed page than I do on a screen.” (39:00)
  • “If I get stuck, I go back to the beginning.” (40:25)
  • “You need to discover your value on top of what you have to say.” (45:25)
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