Sharpen Your Writing Skills

Sharpen Your Writing Skills

In a world dominated by the short and snappy – Tweets, Instagram, LOL, Whatsapp, Snapchat – you could be forgiven for asking “Who cares about writing anymore?” In fact, writing matters more now than ever. Business is driven by online content, and words are our emissaries – they tell our customers who we are and what we do.

Here are five tips to help you hone your writing voice on your website, blog and social channels.

  1. Use real words and try to avoid “revolutionary,” “value-added,” “impactful”, “cutting-edge”, “best-of-breed”, “mission-critical” words designed to “leverage” and “synergize” the “current paradigm” to offer a “differentiated value proposition”. They will poison your content.
  2. Avoid frankenwords, weblish and words pretending to be something they’re not. Frankenwords are words weirdly bolted together to create stiff, bizarre versions of themselves, e.g. netiquette, kidult, guesstimate, edutainment, along with buzz-words such as datafication, crowdsourcing, bucketise. And definitely avoid weblish like “Thx ur welcome”.
  3. Use clichés rarely, if at all. You’ve heard them all: “at the end of the day”, “in the final analysis”, “think outside the box”, “open-door policy”, “all things being equal”. Sometimes, clichés can offer a quick reference or shorthand (e.g. “We’re all on the same page”). But too many will make you sound just like everyone else.
  4. Trim word-bloat. Say things simply, with empathy for the reader. So, instead of “in order to,” say “to,” and instead of “despite the fact that” to “although”.
  5. Break some grammar rules! It’s fine to start a sentence with “And,” or “But” if doing so adds energy and momentum to our writing. Grammar does matter, but readability, personality and emphasis matter, too.

Are you using the correct written words?

Adapted from an article by Ann Handley,

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