The NCIS Guide to Content Writing

In the long-running crime drama NCIS, special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs has a set of rules to live by. How can you apply some of these rules to content writing?

Don’t believe what you’re told. Double check.

This rule goes hand in hand with “Never take anything for granted.” Do your research. Find good sources. Dig deep to find information hidden beneath the surface. A related Gibbs’ rule to remember is “There is no such thing as coincidence.”

Always watch the watchers.

In other words, know your target audience. Why are people reading the content, and what do they want from it?

Sometimes – you’re wrong.

Even the best writers sometimes make mistakes. If you do, admit it and follow another rule: “Clean up your messes.” Maybe that’s as simple as updating a blog post or writing a new post explaining what happened. If you’re writing for clients, you may need to apologize (yeah, I know that breaks Gibbs’ never apologize rule) and offer to fix the problem.

When the job is done, walk away.

Most good writers will tell you that they are never completely happy with what they have written. But, at some point, the writing has to be finished. When you believe the content is accurate, achieves its intended purpose, and has been properly edited and proofread, it’s time to let it go and move on.

Never, ever involve lawyers.

Enough said.

Complete list of Gibbs’ rules. Do you follow these rules?

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