High quality business writing is a rarity. The clamour for good content is only increasing and marketing teams are not able to service these demands quickly enough. We hear a litany of complaints from various companies we interact with and they are
mostly the same, irrespective of size. It goes like this – we are not able to articulate our value proposition or strengths in a compelling manner. Or the content is too high-level or it can be about the English used not being sophisticated enough. Does this ring a bell?
Keeping this in mind, here are 5 simple but powerful suggestions on
how to improve your content. Mind you, these are no silver bullets and you still need the base of good content to impress your reader. However, these tips will go a long way in enhancing the readability. Here you go -
1. Scan your sentences – sound the alarm when you come across words like leverage, cutting-edge, next-generation and so on. David Meerman Scott refers to such kinds of words as “gobbledygook” by and it’s hard not to agree with him. Remedy is to replace these words with simpler ones – try utilize, sophisticated etc.
2. Use sentences in active voice to keep your readers engaged. Time to recall our grammar lessons from school days. Using active voice makes it simpler to read and more precise. It is important to follow this style especially for the American audience.
3. Keep it short – do you like to read long sentences that never seem to end? Shorter sentences are easier to grasp and importantly retain the attention of the reader. Thumb
rule – no more than 20 words in a sentence. This is a no-brainer. Actually, there is nothing wrong in using long sentences – however, you then have to contend with punctuation. Moreover, in today’s age of short-attention span, don’t you agree that briefer messages are better?
4. It cannot always be about “Me”! Think like your reader– change “we” to “you” and see the difference. Very important! You are bound to lose the reader’s interest if you pump them with details about yourself. They are more interested in knowing what is in it for them. So, let’s cater to that.
5. Review! Review! Resist the urge to send it out as soon as you finish it. How many of you do that?
I cannot underscore the importance of reading your own work before sharing it with others. You are bound to find at least 3 mistakes to correct and it’s worth it! In fact, we got very good suggestions from our Facebook followers on this aspect. One of them was to return to you work after a period of time and reviewing it again. Another suggestion was to read out your content aloud and spot mistakes.
These are some sure shot ways to improve the quality of your content. Try these and let us know how you did. Plus, do share tips of your own.