Business writing is extremely powerful.
The right words can drive business and your success plan. The right content can lead to all sorts or positive outcomes. Great writing can boost website performance or a social media campaign. A killer press release can lead to a great media opportunity. And, yes, a well-written resume could surely gain some LinkedIn traction and the attention of a recruiter.
So, it makes sense to improve your writing chops. We all can. Even the best authors struggle and rely on an editor for guidance. So, why not put some news strategies into action and start improving your writing right now? Here's how:
1. Plan it out. Before you start jamming out that next story, take a second to plan it out. Schedule a brainstorm session and map out what you plan to write, intended audience, tone, and key takeaways for the reader. A little bit of planning can make writers feel less overwhelmed.
2. Go simple. Stop trying to sound like Shakespeare and just sound like yourself. Cut-to-the-chase copy often performs better, because it gives the reader a clear idea what you are trying to get across. In the news business, we would sometimes joke "write for a fifth grader." In other words, simplicity is best.
3. Start write-talking. Have a hard time putting words on paper but can easily tell a story at the dinner table that captivates the ear of your audience? If so, you'd probably rock at write-talking. This practice is simply talking out loud what you want to write instead of typing it. Consider dictation software or Google Docs to voice type and you may be surprised how easily you hit that desired word count.
4. Use grammar tools. We all make mistakes. Technology can help us avoid some grammar pitfalls. While spell check is good, there are even better options. Grammarly, for example, is a free online proofing tool that checks for punctuation errors in real time. It also has a handy plagiarism detector (note: upgrade may be required for use of all tools).
5. Read. Write. Repeat. The more you play, the better your game. Practice doesn't mean perfect, but the more you write the easier it will likely be. Read and write as much as you can, it will make you stronger and more confident in your writing skills.
6. Use an editor. While seeing a paper all marked up might make you feel bad, ask a better writer to take a look at your work and offer suggestions for improvements.
7. Avoid adverbs (Maybe). This one is up for debate, but best-selling Author Stephen King started the campaign against this practice by writing the "road to hell is paved with adverbs." He frowned on using most words that end in -ly, stating that writer could tell the story better.
8. Take a class. If you are really up for a challenge and can commit the time, there are a plethora of writing classes available to take right now online.
9. A/B test (If you can). Not sure if your writing is catching on? If you have the ability to A/B test any content, do it. You'll learn a lot about your audience and strengthen your writing in the process.
Still stuck? Consider hiring a ghostwriter to help you out.