For someone who doesn’t consider themselves much of a writer, the writing process can be fairly intimidating. But writing doesn’t have to be unbearable and scary. And more importantly, writing plays kind of a large part in creating content for your business and is an ideal way to connect with your customers.
Here are a few tips that will help you become a better business writer and improve the way you communicate with your customers.
Have a plan
There is nothing more intimidating (or discouraging) than staring at a blank page, not knowing where to begin. Take the time before getting started to do your research and develop an outline of your topic. Think about your goal, main points, and the most important take away. Planning will enable you to have a clearer direction when writing, making the whole process much easier. It will help you avoid wandering around aimlessly and writing poor content.
Here is a great article that details the importance of outlining and provides resources to help get you started!
Simplify, simplify, simplify
When it comes down to it, writing less is often more. Avoid wordiness and the use of jargon in your work. Readers will either become confused or bored if you don’t. Don’t waste time dancing around your main points, simply say what you have to say while keeping it short and sweet.
But remember, simplifying your writing should never sacrifice its meaning. While it’s not always easy to cram a lot of meaning into a clever, simplified phrase or sentence, it’s something your readers notice and will appreciate in the long run. Some of the best advice I have received in terms of knowing how much to write was to simply, “Write enough to get your message across. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Go back to the basics
It’s far too easy to over complicate the writing process by overthinking things. Are you nervous about saying the right thing? Are you worried you will make a mistake or look silly? Do you feel clueless on where to even start? Taking a deep breath and going back to the basics is the best way to write productively and free of frustration. Remember the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) you learned back in grade school? Good content is found when you simply answer these questions. And don’t forget the H (how)!
Write once, check twice
This was actually a tip I found from Dustin Wax’s “12 Tips for Better Business Writing.” In the article he explains that putting some time between writing and re-reading your work actually serves two purposes.
It gives you time to effectively proofread.
According the Wax, the proofreading process should begin, “immediately after you write,” and continue “hours or, better yet, days later.” Giving yourself time in between proofreads allows you to catch the things you might otherwise miss the first time around. “The brain is tricky,” Wax explains, “and will ignore errors.” Detaching yourself from your work and coming back to it later will help you catch those embarrassing typos before anyone can judge you for them.
It gives you time to check your tone. Wax explains that “When we’re upset or angry, we often write things we don’t actually want anyone else to read.” So putting some time in between when you write and re-read your content will also help you catch errors in your tone that may otherwise escape you and be a cause for trouble. “Make sure your work says what you want it to say, how you want it to say it, before letting it reach its audience.”
Be professional, but not always formal
While all business writing should be professional, it’s important not to lose your personal voice. Writing gives you the opportunity to make a connection with your readers and there’s no better way to do that than to let your personality come to life in your work. Finding the perfect blend of professional and personable will allow your readers to relate to your content while finding it credible.
You don’t have to have an extensive portfolio of literary work in order to be a quality writer. Again, writing is a great way for businesses to articulate a unique message that connects with and serves their audience.
So the next time you sit down to write, remember, don’t over complicate things, just communicate.
For more information on how to improve your skills as a quality writer check out this post on the “4 Important Elements of Writing Quality Content.”
Feel like you’ve got the hang of this whole writing thing? Check out this blog post on “6 ways to Improve Your Content.”
What other questions do you have about writing? What are the biggest struggles you have when it comes to creating content for your business?