When was the last time you read a marketing or business blog that made your hair stand on end? It’s probably been a while, or never. Sadly, most business content is boring and tired.
You mindlessly scroll through it, or decide to pass on the post before you even click on the headline. Most business writing feels like it was written by a robot, for robots.
I’m a big fan of AI, but we’re not walking talking robots, yet. At least, I don’t think we are.
You probably know the basic rules of grammar and how to string a sentence together. But, writing to inspire and actually connect with people is something entirely different.
Lucky for you, this posts exists. Below you’ll find seven tips that’ll help you transform your writing into something your audience can’t wait to read.
Take Your Ego Out Of It
Who are you trying to impress? Really.
A lot of writing that fills the web is written to satisfy the ego of the writer. Look how many big words I used. Look at this lengthy prose.
Write with clarity. Don’t stuff your sentences with jargon and complex words, just to sound smart.
You know what’s smart? You know what makes people want to trust you?
Clear communication. If you can use a simpler word, then use it. If you can use fewer words to get your point across, then do it.
Write Like You Talk
Your blog should read like a conversation. When we write it’s hard to see the person on the other end. So, we end up writing in isolation. We write for ourselves, instead of our readers.
When we do this our posts tend to get a little murky.
When you sit down to write imagine your best friend is sitting right in front of you. Then, write just like you’re talking to them. It’s okay to break grammar rules. It’s okay to write short sentences. It’s okay to use slang.
Do You Have One Person?
When you sit down to write do you have one person in mind?
The quickest way to bland writing is to try and write for everyone. When you write for everyone you end up writing for no one.
If you have a customer avatar, then pull up this file before you write. Try to get into the head of your ideal reader. Write for them, and them alone.
Leave everyone else out of it. This will help you create more powerful writing.
When you write for a single person you truly speak to them and their needs. This makes your writing more attractive and useful. Don’t worry about alienating people. People who share characteristics with your target reader will feel more drawn to your content as well.
Be Real, But Be Honest
Do you have people you enjoy reading, or friends you like talking to on a regular basis?
What do you like about them? What draws you to what they write or say?
A part of it is probably the content of their message, the tangibles of what they have to say. But, there’s another big part.
Most writing is two-dimensional at best. We don’t gain any insight into who the author is as a person. We see their content, and that’s about it.
To truly connect with your readers, show them your human side.
- Do you have any hobbies or interests you could use as metaphors?
- Do you have an interesting background you could use to sprinkle stories into your posts?
- Do you have any mistakes you could use to teach your readers?
When you open up to your readers make sure that it’s authentic. Don’t use cuss words just to seem crass. Don’t embellish details or stories about your life. Be honest and your readers will thank you for it.
Do you feel like your readers don’t engage with anything you’ve written?
Try adding a few questions throughout your content. Questions make your reader engage by forcing them to either agree or disagree with you.
This brings them into your content and out of the state of passive consumption.
Questions also can cause your readers to start imagining things. Like this: what would your life look like if you only had to work two hours per day?
Your content is a conversation between you and the reader. Not just a block of text to be digested.
Be Emotional and Descriptive
As much as we’d hate to admit, we’re emotional creatures.
We connect to stories, metaphors, and emotional descriptions. They draw us in and make us pay attention way more than pure data and logic ever could.
Take a look at these two passages both referencing the same thing:
Meeting deadlines can be difficult sometimes. No matter how much planning we do some projects always seem to take us down to the very last minute. With a strategic approach to work we might be able to prevent this from happening.
My heart raced. I couldn’t tell if it was the five cups of coffee, or the pressure of the clock. Each minute passing made my anxiety surge. I had five minutes. Another deadline, down to the wire. I wish someone taught me everything I’m about to show you.
Take Hemingway’s Advice
Hemingway was the king of short prose. His words are powerful and invoke grand images. He absolutely despised flowery writing. In a letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, he wrote:
“It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.”
When writing for the web it’s become a rule to write long content. After all, the search engines love it. But, don’t confuse writing long blog posts for puffing up your writing with unnecessary sentences.
This is just abusing your reader. You’re already asking them to give you their time. So, make sure you’re valuing their time by only giving them what’s absolutely necessary.
Delighting your audience is tough work. But, with the tips above hopefully you’ll be able to transform your writing from boring and bland, to exciting and useful.