While we can’t always pinpoint great writing when we see it, we can almost always identify bad writing. Typos, inconsistent grammatical structure, run-on sentences, confusing jargon, etc. can make reading a website, blog post or white paper feel as though you’re wading through literary sludge. Even worse, poor writing can make your smart ideas look sloppy or incomplete – not exactly the response you want after spending weeks on a well-researched article or white paper.
Your writing style, tone and language can vary greatly depending on the audience and intended purpose. Yet, there are certain ground rules that apply to all businesses and types of written communications. Here are 14 rapid-fire tips to help you analyze your writing:
- What’s your tone?
- Avoid corporate jargon and technical language.
- Think about what current customers love about you to ensure it is part of your message.
- Consider using relatable words/phrases such as “you” and “your business.”
- Address the challenges of your most popular decision-making persona…and how your product or service solves them.
- Details. Details. Details.
- Don’t forget about SEO by incorporating high-value, relevant search words and phrases.
- Provide a link to the original source for added credibility when using stats or quotes.
- Audit copy for dated references – for example, Company X was founded 12 years ago.
- Don’t forget the fundamentals.
- Resist the urge to use big words if smaller ones convey the message.
- Be consistent in how you format dates, numbers, percentages, etc.
- Use spellcheck often and always.
- Proofread, proofread, and again, proofread.
- It’s all about the eye candy.
- Use bullets to emphasize key messages.
- Insert relevant images to break up longer chunks of copy.
- Accentuate important words by making them bold (but don’t underline them because they will look too much like hyperlinks).
By following these suggestions, your writing will improve as will your readers’ level of interest and engagement. Don’t have time to review or fine tune your writing efforts? Give me a shout online and we can chat about your next writing or marketing project.
Happy writing! And yes – that’s my cat pictured above, working up a little spreadsheet madness!