Okay, so let’s agree that writing matters because every manifestation of your professional brand, except for what comes out of your mouth, requires writing.
I mean, there’s writing everywhere.
Think about it: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Your website. Your blog. And, if you’re a small business owner, your marketing material…
All of these require words from you – otherwise there’s nothing to put in them. Nothing to populate them with.
And the content of all of these different profiles needs to be written well: cleanly, powerfully and compellingly. Otherwise, why bother?
So writing’s a big deal. Whether your business is services- or product-based. Whether you’re big, small, start-up or established. And whether or not you aced English at school or bunked all the classes to smoke in the loo.
What’s my point? You need to up-skill yourself, find someone in your company who’s an exceptional writer, or out-source it. But until you do…
Some quick, easy tips for busy people
- Email subject lines matter. Make them count. Please avoid one-worders. Be specific, detailed, definite and meaningful.
- Stay away from old-fashioned ‘businessy’ language. Just write as you speak. If it sounds like Shakespeare (henceforth, abovementioned, perusal, hereto, thereby), it’s not doing your brand any favours.
- Switch your viewpoint with the reader’s. In other words, always write with the reader’s agenda in mind, not your own.
- Don’t be afraid of white space, short paragraphs, one-liners and bullets. Readers love these, because they make reading easier.
- Go through your website copy. Count all the times you use ‘we’. Try to replace them with ‘you’ and flip the sentences to speak to your readers’ interests. It’s about features, not about benefits.
- If you’re going to use social media, find someone to manage it and make that their job. They need to be a good writer and a polished diplomat, not just a young person who’s social-savvy.
- Think about outcomes, not about messaging. What I mean is, start by knowing what you want your audience to DO. Then create the text around that. Don’t start with your text and forget the desired action.
- Be explicit. Your readers aren’t stupid, but they’re not concentrating. If you want a reader to take an action, state it directly and clearly.
And one final little tip from me…?
When you’re done expressing your message, just stop writing. You don’t need to pad the text to make the copy look more substantial. Allow it to stand alone.
Like I’ve just done.
This article was originally created for The Marketing Site.
Tiffany Markman gives good advice on words and writing. Want some?
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