Sure, great writing may take talent and innate creativity. And hey, you’ve got something to say, right? No matter your current level of experience or skills. With a little gusto in your writing step, you can make the reader feel something, take an action, or be more informed than before.
A few tips below to show you how.
Suggestion: let loose, try some (or all) of these, and repeat them for a few of your posts. Build those new writing-muscles.
You’ll be amazed at how clear you’ll write, and how you’ll zero-in on your voice.
1. Barf it out
Okay, I’m back.
Whenever, I’m ‘stuck’, for any kind of writing… I just type. Every time, something useful appears before my writing-eyes-and-brain.
The same will happen to you, too.
Punch the so-called “writer’s block” right in the gut. It’s bunk.
2. Write to an 8th grader
Not because they are dumb. Because it forces you to write clearly. And to ditch the jargon and terms that eyeballs just gloss over.
“Become a disruptor.”
And my absolute non-favorite, “Transform your business…”.
Oh please. Some of the most over-used, under-effective statements of all time.
Companies and their writers hide behind these terms every day, all across the web. Statistically speaking, probably you, too. I’m just sayin’.
I don’t know if this intentional or not. But here’s the thing…
Terms and jargon say little, while making you and your biz appear as a commodity. Like many others. Better to do the heavy lifting for the reader. Because they certainly won’t. They’ll stop and leave, versus stay and scroll.
Do the work. Say something real. Practice on your kid, mom, or any outsider to tell your important and useful message.
Your readers will appreciate it. It makes good business sense.
3. Write to the reader
Because no one cares about what you (or I) do. Readers only care what they can get from what you (or I) do.
So then, write from the readers’ perspective. Make them the hero.
A list of features? B-o-r-i-n-g.
Words that paint a picture for how the reader’s life will improve, that’s the ticket.
Sometimes, “standing out” is nothing more than writing from the reader’s point of view. Because most of your competitors don’t.
4. Write with a purpose
And write that purpose at the top of your draft piece.
To keep your mind on the target while you write.
For an email, blog post, white paper, and of course for any social media post—be clear on the purpose.
What action do you want the reader to take?
Click the buy, call, or contact us button?
Or maybe you just want them to feel a certain way. Empathy? Bliss? Informed?
Too often, we humans write to write. Not a problem.
Unless you want to sell your stuff.
Social posts are usually a top-of-mind selling approach. And an opportunity to build, show, and share your brand.
And still, write with a purpose to raise your signal, lessen your noise.
Hey, don’t forget to delete the purpose reminder at the top of your draft.
5. Write to make the reader feel successful
Which is hard to do when reading long paragraphs, without breaks—like single lines and bolded lines.
Lead your reader down the page by breaking up your message.
Short paragraphs. Short sentences. Transition lines. Bullets. Some bolded items, too. Like this one…
Allowing your readers to skim and scan your message is nice.
It helps them feel a series of successes as they move down the page.
The more they read, the more they understand.
Good for everyone, right?
Oh yeah, and questions are good too. They encourage the reader to ‘lean in’, with interest.
What are you doing to help your readers scroll down the page?
Maybe I’ve overdone the short paragraphs in this post. Maybe not. Part of the just-try-it-and-see-for-yourself model. Better ‘too much’ than ‘too little’. You can dial it down later.
6. Write with a hyper-focus
…and with a tomato.
Stay with me.
Too often, we look at a piece of work and think, ‘Ah man, I need a bunch of time to do this post.’
There’s a better way.
By defining and going after a small section or piece of your post, document or whatever you’re writing. Right now. Say, in the 15 minutes before your next meeting.
- Define a small portion to write (I’m doing this right now for this single section)
- Set a tomato timer, that you can hear going tick-tock-tick-tock
- Barf it out (like we talked about above)
- Make your edits
- Go to your meeting
Progress made. Feels good.
I wrote this section in 17 minutes. You can, too. String a bunch more of these together to complete your writing, iteratively. Without feeling like you have to set aside a load of time in one or two sittings.
I love the Pomodoro Technique for getting anything done with a hyper-focus.
7. Use pictures to enhance the words
I’m not going to say much about this.
Of course, pictures enhance the words.
This piece is about the words.
I don’t want to leave you hanging though. Here’s one of a thousand good reads about adding pictures to your work.
Culled from Hootsuite