Writer: Teresa Madaleno
Stop trying to sound smart if you want to sound smart. Here is the reality – a good idea is relatable when it is delivered in clear, concise language. Many people get into trouble when they try to use big words or long, descriptive sentences.
The following are simple tips to help you if you struggle with writing copy.
- Direction– make sure that before you sit down to write that you have something interesting to say otherwise you are bound to struggle.
- Simple Words– short and simple is the best way to go so write “near” instead of “in close proximity” and write, “ help” instead of “facilitate”. Readers grasp simple words right away and can move on.
- Sentence Length– keep sentences short because they are faster and easier to read.
- Voice – use active voice. Passive can be boring. While it is true that you can’t always use active voice (subject, verb, object), you should use it as much as possible. “Sue read the book in one day” is active, but “The book was read by Sue in one day” is passive.
- Fluff – avoid fluffy words such as “very” and “really”. These types of words do not add any meaning to a sentence and in business, they often scream desperation.
- Repetition– unless you are writing a speech and want to drive a point home, for example, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, then do not repeat yourself over and over again. When you repeat yourself in web copy, in a blog, in a marketing plan, in a proposal and so forth, you risk putting people to sleep
- Edit– rewrite, cut parts out, edit, edit, edit. One of the best ways to be sure your copy is clean is to walk away from it for 24 hours and take a fresh look the next day.
The above list includes common sense approaches that can make writing easier, especially if it isn’t your forte. These tips can also turn non-writers into writers as they start to discover that people are finally reading their copy.