Tips Everyone Can Use to Improve Their Writing
Whether you’re writing an email to a client or creating copy for your website, clear and persuasive writing remains an essential part of running a small business. While everyone has their own writing style, everyone can use tips like these to improve their writing.
Organize Your Thoughts
Have you ever read something that jumped from point to point and sounded more like a stream of consciousness than something with a clear point? We’re all busy, but the single best way to improve your writing is to organize your thoughts.
- What do you want your reader to understand after reading what you wrote? Whether you call it a thesis, key message or lead, make sure you can articulate it in a single sentence.
- If you can’t answer “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) then how can you expect your reader to?
- What evidence supports your key message? Sometimes all you need is a few bullet points.
- What’s next? Whatever you do, do not write something without a call to action, or CTA. Nothing is worse than getting a reader’s attention and then forgetting the CTA.
Don’t Bury the Lead
This one happens to the best of us. We like to tell stories in chronological order or make our point a logical conclusion to our argument. This is a mistake. Whatever your main point is, make sure it’s right up front so that even those readers who scan your blog, email, whitepaper, or press release get a sense of what you’re trying to say.
Say it. Say it Again. Repeat.
Repetition is key to getting your primary message or call to action understood. While there is no hard and fast rule for how often you should repeat the most important ideas, the longer the piece, the more often you want to repeat it.
A good way to organize your writing is to put your main point in the first sentence or subject line. Repeat it at the end of every paragraph or page. Then, repeat it again at the end of the piece.
Speak Your Audience’s Language
Some experts advise writers to avoid using jargon but that’s not always smart. If you need to convince a very specific, technical audience about your own expertise then industry jargon can be an effective way to give instant credibility to what you’re saying. Too much jargon is likely also a mistake. If you’re not sure, then avoid it altogether or define it in your writing.
If You Can’t Proof It, Don’t Publish It
Before you hit send or publish, proof your content. Better yet, get someone else to proof it. Even if you’re just sending an email to a colleague, constant typos may result in others questioning your attention to detail or skill set. Better to take a pause and proof before you publish.
Writing is one of the things that separates humans from other animals. And with a few tricks, even you can see your writing improve.