Guest post by Greg Fowler
Even if your career isn’t focused on writing, the ability to write well can strongly influence your business opportunities. A poorly-executed email, or a resume filled with mistakes, can damage your reputation. To advance your career and impress your boss, develop your writing skills by employing the following five strategies.
Keep Your Writing Concise Brevity is important. An editor once told me that if there’s a way to say something with two words instead of three, do it. People want the information they’re seeking instantaneously, without having to wade through fluff. For instance, you can almost always remove the word “that” from sentences, and instead of saying “in order to,” saying “to” is sufficient.
There’s a distinction between brevity and content length. If the topic you’re covering is broad, there’s nothing wrong with banging out a 1,500 word piece as long as every word provides value to the reader.
Focus on Timely Content If you write about healthcare, focus your content on recent news to help generate more buzz and improve your results. For instance, you could focus on recent Affordable Care Act updates.
Are veterans your niche? Work recent VA problems into your next article, or provide information on new updates to veteran benefits. The more you can tailor your content to run in lockstep with current events, the better off you’ll be.
Be Accurate The Internet is filled with misinformation. I’ve often told friends I can get the Internet to say just about anything I want it to. When doing research, look for the latest statistics, and only pull quotes from reliable sources. Google Scholar is a great resource for searching recent studies, and you can also search for data from government or educational websites by adding “site:.gov” or “site:.edu” in front of your Google search term.
Inject Humor When Appropriate When it’s appropriate, go ahead and show your sense of humor in your writing. By injecting your voice and point of view into your writing, readers are more likely to form an attachment to you and your content. Just be careful – not everyone has the same sense of humor – think carefully about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. If there’s a chance it could be misinterpreted, think it through before you put it out there.
Offer Extra Details Generic content is a dime a dozen. If you want to bore your readers to tears, offer the same information they can find anywhere else. But if you want to catch your readers’ attention and keep them coming back, offer details and tips they can’t find anywhere else. Provide personal examples, add quotes from experts, and offer images that tell the story – these are the types of details that set good content apart from bad content.
It’s one thing to develop high-quality content, but it’s another to write it well. Spelling “effectively” correctly is only worthwhile if you also use it correctly. Spell checkers and basic grammar programs aren’t 100% accurate. If your grammar is rusty, consider trying Grammarly. The program corrects more than 250 grammatical mistakes, many of which aren’t caught by other services. There’s a free trial available, and paid plans start at $29.95 per month.
Do you regularly use business writing? How have you improved the content you develop?
About the Author
Greg Fowler writes about small business, blogging and writing, and online marketing. He lives in Atlanta with his young son and is always looking for new tools to explore and help improve his productivity.