Are you kept awake at night worrying about whether your writing is going to connect with your reader? Will they understand what you’ve written, will they feel the same passion for the subject as you, will they want to buy from you?
Writing for and about your business is a key part of being visible. However, there’s little point to this if your readers don’t understand what you’re trying to say or if your messages are hidden beneath a warm blanket of wordiness.
In this post I’ll share my top 3 tips for writing to connect with your reader. You can then enjoy a few more zzz at night knowing that your content is going to create the impact it deserves.
Hey, what’s the idea here?
Long, meandering sentences can be a bit of a drag when time is limited and you’re looking for quick answers. Keeping your sentences focused is a great way to meet the needs of your readers. It also avoids the risk of confusing your readers and forcing them to re-read sentences to figure out what you’re trying to say.
What to look out for…
Every time you write the word ‘and’ or ‘but’ ask yourself whether this is part of the initial idea for the sentence or whether you’re starting to take the reader down a slightly different path. Your ideas can easily get lost in these lengthy sentences, leaving your readers confused and a bit lost.
We often use ‘and’ or ‘but’ to lengthen a sentence, perhaps to further illustrate or evidence a point. Remember that longer sentences do not equate to more professional writing. A mixture of short and long sentences is totally fine, so feel free to cross out those cheeky distractors and replace them with a full stop. Be courageous and start the new idea with a new sentence. Your readers will thank you for clear, succinct writing.
Don’t worry, you can keep your jim jam bottoms on for this kind of active!
I’m talking about active sentences that give a sense of clarity and confidence, as opposed to passive sentences that can feel wordy and unclear. Your writing style says a lot about your business, so dig around for your confident writing style and see how it feels.
What to look out for…
Verbs – your action words. An active sentence looks like this:
Lucy smashed her targets last month.
A passive sentence looks like this:
The targets were smashed by Lucy last month.
The first example puts Lucy at the centre of the sentence and it has a clear, powerful feel to it. There’s no messing with Lucy – she kicks ass! The second sentence makes the targets the most important part of the sentence. Definitely less exciting and totally undermines all the effort poor Lucy put in.
Don’t be afraid of active sentences. They’re a great way to showcase the awesome stuff your business is doing.
We might appreciate a descriptive paragraph once in a while, but when it comes to our working day, time is limited and we’re (sadly) driven by productivity. Help your fellow busy human by cutting the words that don’t need to be there.
What to look out for…
Repetition of the same words close together – they cause readers to stumble over sentences. Cut them out, replace them or reword the sentence.
Repetition of the same ideas. Don’t try to convince your readers. Make your point and move on. A quick summary can be useful but there’s little value in repeating the same point three different ways in the same paragraph.
Not every noun needs an adjective. Don’t add extra words to increase your word count. Let your messages jump out from the page; don’t hide them amongst unnecessary frills.
Now that you’ve given your writing a trim, take a deep breath and trust your messages to do the talking. If you’re thirsty for more content writing tips for busy readers, check out this blog post.
I include these 3 strategies as part of my proofreading services. If you’d rather pass this task on to me, so you can focus on the things that light you up, book a call with me here.
Emma Hewlett is a proofreader and copy-editor for businesses that make a positive difference, bringing clarity and confidence to their words so they resonate with their audience. You can find her on Instagram (@emmahproofreading) and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/emma-hewlett-proofreader/).
Her website is https://www.emmahewlettproofreading.co.uk/
Contact Emma here: https://www.emmahewlettproofreading.co.uk/contact/