Improve Your Writing, Improve Your Content.

When creating content for the web, whether it be for your own web site, for a social networking profile or otherwise, better writing means more effective content.

Existing and prospective customers alike appreciate well written copy. It makes you and your business sound more intelligent, respectable, and trustworthy. Obviously, writing copy for your business that sounds like you’re texting a friend during a night of revelry isn’t going to gain you any admirers. While most of us have better writing skills than that, mistakes still get made. Here are some quick ideas to move your writing in the right direction.

Edit, edit, edit.

“Write drunk; edit sober.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Second Draft = First Draft – 10%” – Stephen King

It is important when writing that at first, you just “go with the flow” and write down everything in your head on your chosen subject. Get all your thoughts out on paper or into your word processing software. The problem is, for a lot of people that is the ONLY step in their writing process.

Editing is extremely important. I would say it is equally as important as the actual “writing stuff down” step. You need to pull together the raw creative output into something lean, cohesive, and powerful. That’s what editing is for, separating the wheat from the chaff. Be honest with yourself and remove anything unnecessary.

No Mistakes!

Typos and misspelled words will destroy you in your customers’ eyes. With every mistake, you’re communicating “we don’t take this seriously” to your customers. Misspellings are easy in this day and age- use a spell checker.

What is more important, however, especially now that we have spell checkers, is to proofread your work, a couple of times at least. Even better, have someone else proofread it. Be on the look out for grammatical errors, improper use of punctuation, and incorrect words, e.g. using “dessert” instead of “desert”. A spell checker won’t catch that!

Okay, Maybe Not.

Sure, it’s important to take your writing seriously. Try to make it as concise as possible, and keep an eagle eye out for typos and mistakes. But the truth is, you’re going to make mistakes. Lots of them. We’re only human, and I’m probably making mistakes even as I write this, telling you not to. What matters is that you’re making a conscious effort to clean up and improve your writing, and that you keep trying. Writing skills are like all other skills, and get better with practice. I’m not a great writer by any means, but with practice and an intent to learn, I’m improving.

As your writing improves, so will all your company’s communications. Your customers will start to enjoy reading what you have to say, and come back for more. What better reason than this to start taking your writing more seriously and improving your skills today?

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About Karyl Gilbertson

Karyl is New Harvest Media's Creative Director. He is passionate about design, and pretty stoked about things like web standards, usability, and Wordpress too.