The Power of Clear Writing
As writers, we've all taken an English class somewhere in our backgrounds. At least in high school. Likely in college or university as well. Those courses taught us well in the analysis of literature, and writing to express ideas creatively.
But in the realm of business, our aims are different. We need to move away from literature. Michael Masterson's (aka Mark Ford) "Power of One" strategy serves us well in the craft of copywriting. The most successful writing presents one clear Big Idea. Only one.
Consider these points for better business writing:
- Length matters. English class always assigned a length to our assignments. In business, less means more... State your point across in the least words. Email used for simple communication is an example. Strive to make your point in about three sentences or less. Have a question? Simply ask it. Often the email subject line can capture the entire essence of an email. If you need more words spend your time better by picking up the phone.
- Use simple sentences. Flowery descriptions usually have no place in business writing. Perhaps if you're using a story lead in a piece of copywriting you can draw out the picture with colourful descriptions. But do it with strong verbs. Slay the adverbs. I found a handy editing tool to run my writing through at: Hemingway. (I'm sure you studied him in English class at some point. Ironically, Ernest's simple clear writing style would have made him a great copywriter.)
- Taking ACTION is the point of business writing. Literature can analyze many points of view. But in business, especially in copywriting, action is the point. Ask your prospect for a sale. Persuade him to click through to another page of information. Tell him to request either a free report or some other form of information. Present surprising conclusions in case studies and tell the reader how to apply the conclusions himself.
Consider the Power of One when you begin thinking about writing. Don't worry too much about it while writing. Keep it in the front of your mind always when editing. Keep asking, "Is this as clear as it can be?"
By Kevin Rokosh
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On my "Maslow's" hierarchy of making writing work, clarification is the bottom, bedrock, #1 thing to achieve. Unless the thoughts and ideas are clear in the writer's mind first, the writing hasn't got a chance of being fully understood, acted on, or recalled. (Notice that this is just two sentences!)ReplyDelete
Diana, your point also speaks to the importance of research. If we've done our research thoroughly, then we've got the best chance of having a clear understanding in our own minds BEFORE we begin writing.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your input!
Perfect and so-right follow-up, Kevin. Thanks!ReplyDelete