As someone who spends his entire day either writing or reading, I encounter A LOT of bad business writing. It bums me out, because I know what a HUGE difference quality copywriting can make, and it seems like businesses often undervalue it. But I can assure you, copywriting is an integral part of the branding and image of your business, and it really doesn’t take much to improve it.
In fact, here’s ONE tip that can totally overhaul your writing and improve your marketing results:
Never sacrifice clarity for cleverness.
When writing, most people (myself included) are inclined to try to sound smarter, funnier and higher class than is appropriate for the medium especially in the business world. A business website is not a formal letter of protest to an 18th century king, so it doesn’t need to read like the declaration of independence. Yet, time and again I will see phrases like “We provide deflated tire solutions” instead of “We fix flat tires.” Really? Deflated tire solutions? Come on…
So, how do you avoid this trap? Editing.
I know that you are busy. And I know that writing is usually not a high priority. But if you take the time to add a second round of editing to your writing process, you’re writing will improve dramatically.
Here’s how you do it:
Write exactly what you want to communicate. Do not worry about how it sounds or grammar or punctuation or anything else. Simply write out the information you want the reader to know at the end of the blog post, article, press release, etc. No filler or fluff. Just information.
Go through the piece and correct any grammatical errors and add any stylistic flair you desire, as long as it does not detract from reader’s ability to get the information they need. Focus on layout. What is the best way to present the information so the reader can digest it quickly and get back to work?
That’s it. The more clearly you communicate, the more effective your writing will be. It might be counter-intuitive to “dumb-down” your writing, but it works. After a while, you will get a hang of how to communicate clearly in your writing and the editing will take less and less time!
To future clarity,