News article

Why a space spatula could spell trouble for your blog content… and what to do about it

Firstly, a confession: I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as a “space spatula”.

Our titular utensil might’ve been just a regular spatula – one whose uniqueness stems from the journey it went on and the story it has to tell.

In that way, and as a great philosopher never said, maybe, to some extent, we’re all space spatulas.

100 trillion items of space junk currently circle the Earth as orbital debris

In 2006, British-born astronaut Piers Sellers undertook a spacewalk during the building of the International Space Station. While flipping a space burger on his space barbeque (probably), he dropped his space spatula.

It floated lazily into the ether at around 17,000 mph. A month later, it burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Sellers is far from the only astronaut to transform everyday items into “orbital debris”.

In 1965, the first American spacewalker left behind a spare glove. Just last month, meanwhile, Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara dropped their tool bag.

Thanks to its highly reflective surface, the bag is currently visible from Earth, using only binoculars. You have until March 2024 to spot it before it goes the way of the space spatula and disintegrates on re-entry.

But what does all this have to do with your regular blog content?

Preparation begins long before you sit down to write or open the airlock doors

I’ve never undertaken a spacewalk but I get the distinct impression a fair bit of planning goes into it.

When Tim Peake became the first British astronaut to spacewalk in 2016, the event marked the culmination of 18 years of military service, a year-long selection process, and a four-hour space flight.

Similarly, you’ll have made sacrifices and dedicated untold hours to your journey to becoming a financial adviser or planner. Now, with clients and other commitments vying for your attention, you’ll probably struggle to find time to write.

When you do eke out time at the typewriter, be sure to turn up prepared.

Note down potential titles and news stories when they crop up, record audio notes-to-self, and add helpful websites to your “favourites” for easy access later. You have years of experience. Use that acquired knowledge to reflect on current events and think about the questions your clients will want answered. Then set a definite time aside to write those answers down.

Once you’ve found time to write, don’t be in a rush to start

Even once they’re suited up, Tim Peake and his fellow astronauts aren’t ready for a head-first plunge into the unknown.

Spacewalkers have to breathe pure oxygen for hours before they enter the airlock. This removes the nitrogen from their body and eliminates the risk of an outer space version of “the bends”.

The walk itself (and Peake’s mission to replace a solar panel’s failed voltage regulator) lasted just 4 hours 43 minutes, around 15 minutes shorter than the time it took him to suit up.

You’ll want to draft and map out your blog content long before you start to write, let alone publish it.

Time spent preparing is never wasted so think carefully about what your article needs to say, why you are best placed to deliver that message, and who specifically needs to hear it.

Use structure to stay tethered and prevent your blog from becoming another piece of floating space junk

Astronauts on spacewalks use tethers to stay attached to their spacecraft. Without them, Tim Peake would simply have floated off into space.

He also had a “Safer” – Simplified Aid for EVA (extravehicular activity) Rescue. Essentially a jetpack, it can help astronauts return to their spacecraft if they become untethered.

In your writing, use structure and the signposting of strong subheadings to keep yourself and your message anchored. These should prevent you from wandering off-topic and keep your audience on track.

Remember that not every reader will read every word you write. Some will only skim your carefully prepared blog. Use subheadings to ensure these skimmers still come away with the key information.

Editing and proofreading are vital so check the details and then check again

Just like the roles of NASA and ESA astronauts, the work you do is public and available for all to see and comment upon. That means it needs to be right.

Once you’re confident you have an important message, aimed at the right people, and signposted to ensure your meaning is clear, go back to basics.

Recheck your work for factual accuracy, and then for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Proofread your article and then get someone else to proofread it.

Just as your content is public, your mistakes could be too. After decades of training and hard work, ensure you keep a firm grip on your space spatula and don’t be remembered for dropping your toolbox.

Get in touch

If you need guidance from Mission Control, you can find out how the Yardstick Agency’s team of expert content writers could help you and your business by contacting us at or calling 0115 8965 300.

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