If writing isn’t your strong point, it can be difficult to get motivated and spend enough time on tasks to do the best job. Here are six quick tips you can employ today to make writing for your business faster, easier and better, regardless of industry and audience.
1. Get the tone right
Don’t assume that writing for business means you have to be more formal in your approach – that’s not necessarily the case. Your tone and register should be determined by your branding (the image you want to portray) and your audience (specifically your customers’ or target customers’ personalities and expectations). To some degree, you’ll also want to factor in what you’re selling – if it’s technical and/or specialist, work on creating an authoritative tone of voice. If it’s broadly consumer, for example baby toys, then you’ll need to appeal to a wide range of backgrounds, interests, habits and education.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. You don’t want to specifically copy their style – in fact, it’s better if you don’t – but it will give you an idea of what other people are doing in the space. Go beyond the basics and investigate brands in completely different sectors whose writing you admire. Then make a list of all the qualities you like and consider how you can apply them to your own brand.
2. Create a style guide
Even if you’re the only person doing the writing, a style guide always ends up coming in handy. This is particularly true if you allow guest posting, intend to hire more people further down the line, or work with big websites or remote designers. If you have a lot of projects on the go simultaneously and tend to flick between them or lose interest, this is also a great way to stay organised.
Build a list of words and phrases to use and to avoid. Standardise your headings, subheadings, lists and paragraph formatting along with the fonts you use.
3. Always read your writing out loud
This is a quick and easy way to identify any run-on sentences, missing punctuation, and unnecessary paragraphs. Each piece of writing you do needs to balance information with the projection of your business and what it represents. If it doesn’t say anything, it shouldn’t be on the page.
4. Tell a story
Studies show that people are far more likely to remember information if it’s presented to them in the form of a story rather than presented in isolation. Your website (and writing) should integrate important facts and stats as part of the story of its past, present and future. Introductions are far more appealing if they begin as a story, and also have more of a nolvety factor that discourages the typical visitor practice of page-skimming.
5. Be more interesting
Your visitors will respect you and your business a lot more if you put the effort in to make your writing more appealing. Well-crafted sentences, good spacing, thoughtful images and a sense of humour can all help contribute to this. You may have the best services or argument in the world, but if you can’t construct and present it/them well, you’re missing out on valuable custom.
Always read your own writing back directly from the page you’re publishing it on. Is it easy to read? Are the line lengths too long? Did you struggle to finish any paragraphs or get bored?
6. Get a second opinion
When you’ve been staring at the same piece of work for a long time, it can be difficult to see where improvements need to be made. Someone reading it for the first time is much more likely to notice when you’ve repeated the same word several times in a short amount of space, for example. Always have a second person to act as editor to make sure your writing is as good as it can be.
What are your top writing tips or problems? Let us know in the comments.