Nothing screams unprofessional more than bad writing. It is the fastest way to put potential new customers off. Here are my quick and easy tips on how to polish your writing before you hit post.
- Step away from the words. Just as an author never publishes a first draft, you should never hit publish on the first group of words you knocked together. Go and do something else. Wash up, make the bed, take a walk, pour a glass of water. Even if time is pushing, take half an hour to step away. With fresh eyes you can return to your work and the errors will jump off the page.
- Kill your darlings. This is a famous expression among authors which means to cut all the word that doesn’t move the story forward. Flowery language, big words and wafting trains of thought all pollute clear communication. Whatever you have written can always be trimmed (10% minimum). Cutting words forces you to ensure you written message is clearer and concise, your readers are time poor after all.
- Say it once. Treat your audience with respect, you are not writing a speech for preschoolers. As you reread are you also repeating yourself? Think about the world now, if one more person tells you to stay home to save lives, you could reach your tipping point. Outside of an introduction and conclusion, body text should state one point, then move onto the next, seperate point.
- Read aloud. Reading is an auditory skill and our ears have the ability to distinguish when something doesn’t sound quite right. When you read your work aloud you will find yourself stopping mid sentence to make corrections. This is also a fantastic way to pick up on spelling errors.
- Scan for white space. The visual presentation of your words is as important as the words themselves. Chunky paragraphs with little white space (or blue or yellow, whatever the background colour is), hurts the eyes and produces a reluctance to read on. Break your words up into short paragraphs and clear bullet points to encourage the reader to stay on your page.
Follow these steps before you hit publish and have confidence you have sent out a professional message into the world.