Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness — Georges Simenon
Most everyone thinks they are a decent writer, but there is always room for improvement. Improving your written content — whether it’s a press release, a brochure or web-based content — is not difficult. It just takes practice and adherence to a few basic rules of grammar and style.
If you are knee-deep in developing a new product, launching a business or just wanting to share your message, you may not have the time or expertise to develop skillful messaging that will hook and captivate your audience.
People will judge you by the words you write and distribute. You want to make the right impression. You want your words to matter.
This is when you should consider hiring a professional writer who can craft written copy that is crisp, clear and compelling.
Crisp: Your writing should flow smoothly, not ramble. Stick to the main points. Keep on message and use words that grab your prospective reader’s attention. If you are writing a press release, think about the editor on the receiving end of your words. The old adage applies: less is more. Don’t make the reader work to understand your point. Avoid complex sentence structure.
Clear: Writers instinctively want to impress their readers, but unless you are writing a novel keep your sentence structure simple: subject, verb, object. Choose your hook wisely and then expand on that theme. Avoid cliches and jargon. (Example: “win-win” or “let’s be clear”)
Compelling: Think about your subject matter. Make a list of no more than 10 things that make your subject important. Remember: newspaper editors and the general public are barraged with thousands of written and spoken words every day. What is going to make your message stand out?
If you break your arm, odds are that you will seek the help of a professional. It’s really no different when it comes to producing written copy for your project, campaign or business. Do you really want to wonder if there is a split-infinitive in your copy, or do you want to leave that work to a professional?
The guidelines above are just a few easy ways to improve your writing, but there are many more.
For example, if you’re writing press releases think like a reporter or an editor. The best way to do this is to write like a reporter or an editor. Most reporters and editors use the AP (Associated Press) Style Guide.
If you want a refresher course on basic grammar and style, then you should spend a few dollars and pick up a copy of The Elements of Style.
Writing is important for your success, but it does not have to be a chore.
I invite you to contact me to discuss how I can put my years of experience as a newspaper editor and professional writer to work for you.
Randy Seaver is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He also has more than a decade of experience as a strategic communications consultant, helping a wide range of clients overcome challenges in the court of public opinion. Learn More