When I think about what I'm going to say it always brings me mixed feelings: I hated writing. Every time I heard the slightest positive comment about my writing I used to get very annoyed, embarrassed and tried to ignore it. The thing is, I've always been a bookworm, and I didn’t want people to tell me I could write because I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it at the level I would like to.

Time passed and I got into film school. At that time I was very focused on becoming a director of photography and screenwriting class was just a requirement for me. Something I had to get out of the way so I could do what I actually wanted to do. Without noticing I started to be very active in screenwriting lessons. I wrote many little scripts for our assignments and started helping my classmates; especially with their dialogues. After the first year, I received an email from my current teacher. She was very, very tough and barely had any compliments. If I think about it she didn’t even compliment my work, but as a final comment she wrote: “Do not stop writing, please. Don’t let go of this.”

It wasn’t like from that day I changed all my plans and turned to screenwriting, no. But it really marked me. And although these years I’ve working on getting better,  I’ve been encouraged by many people who repeat the same motto “do not stop writing”; I must confess, it wasn't until now that I’ve found better motivation and discipline: I can’t stop writing because it has become part of my job.

Friendly reminder

When I started writing for Maniak Social Media, my pen was very rigid. They handed me a brief about how I was supposed to sound when I write: bold, disruptive, fresh. But that didn’t tell me much. It’s not a secret that the developing world was an unknown place for me. It wasn’t until I read a lot about it, paid attention to my coworkers' conversations and asked a bunch of questions, that I could reflect our company personality. It’s like writing dialogue: if you know who’s saying it, why and what that person is like, you can write good copy. I mean, dialogue. I mean both of them.

Let’s dig a little deeper into this.

I know there’s people who are great at talking about things they don’t know. That’s why the world is full of phonies. I just can’t because I think it's obvious when you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Not knowing what I am talking about makes me feel ashamed. Whether it is a copy for a podcast, a script for a short documentary or an announcement, I need to know all about it. That way I’m capable of understanding the marrow of what I want to communicate. Once I know that, I can stylize it with words that are fit for it. I can include references and deliver jokes. That’s something I borrowed from screenwriting.

You can’t write a character that is a total stranger to you. It’ll feel fake and fraudulent, and the world already has too many of those characters walking around effortlessly. So every week when I write copies for 7 different podcasts I treat them like 7 different characters and respect the personality each of them has.

I also write a series called Meet the Maniaks, where I tell the story of many of my coworkers. I really enjoy writing that one because it’s like doing a character's profile and I can practice my storytelling skills. Again, something I do when screenwriting.

Some people take for granted that structure is an easy road, a boring one that’s more like a recipe than a marvelous idea. And they couldn't be more wrong about it. Structure is important because it helps us to make things work. It’s proven that it works but that’s just the first layer of it.

I love looking for structures in everything, watching buildings being raised, looking at an exposed bone or finding the exact moment when the second act of a movie begins.

But I enjoy watching structures because I love to create my own: read closely, create new ones, not just break them. Because you don't always feel like breaking rules, and sometimes if their form is not closely related to the content, you would have broken the structure for no reason.

This also doesn’t mean my structures are very experimental or that I’ve discovered something new; I’m saying that I have come to terms with what works for my digital audience after experimenting with formulas that I’ve learned (yes you’re right) from screenwriting.

And no, I don’t say every time I want you to read one of our blog entries or listen to our podcast or make a new business we’re going into the Hero’s Journey or that I write it in Final Draft. I just learned that some principles I use for entertainment are a good fit for digital writing.

For example, I always start my copies with a hook, something under 7 words that’ll catch your eye. Or another thing is that I like to reveal things little by little, so the interest will grow. I'm also very meticulous with closure, so whether I'll end my copy with something I said in the start or I'll look for a final punch line. That's my structure, my spine.

When you’re delivering very different copies in little time, having a structure will save you a lot of effort.

Argh, Peggy don't listen to him.

I read a blog entry recently that was also inspired by a Mad Men dialogue. It was called “You’re a copywriter, not an artist”. In that piece the author said that we are problem solvers and although I agree some copies are made exclusively to make you spend money on something, digital writing has expanded in some levels that selling is not always the major point of a copy.

I think the focus on copywriting changes within the time and the goals you want to achieve. Right now, our goal is to build a strong community, to connect with an audience, and to gather interest based on our most valuable asset: our people, the main characters. Just like we do it in the movies. So maybe I’m not the artsy-est version of myself when copywriting, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bring the tools art has given me to this digital war that is social media.

SocialMedia Wars: Episode VIII

I'll end this with an invitation to everyone who wants to chat more about copywriting for improving any social network (business or personal), to write me an e-mail or hit me up at my personal instagram @arreboldelosgeranios. We can also talk about screenwriting, cinema or Olivia Rodrigo.

If you want to check my work as a copy please go to @themaniaks, @36cincuentamx and @plansgdl. And if you've been questioning from the beginning of this post if I quitted photography, the answer is no! Check my work by clicking here.

Thanks for your time, see you soon.