90 seconds to becoming a better writer
“Finding success is all about taking action. You can read all you want, but nothing will happen until you execute.” – Pat Flynn
Your blog is a reflection of you.
Sloppy writing that might have got a passing grade in high school won’t help.
Fear not loyal reader!
In just 90 seconds you can transform your writing from a C- to an A+.
Better yet, your readers will stay on your site longer and that means more business. Lucky you.
Here goes: 7 ways to sharpen your writing and cut to the point in 90 seconds (or less):
1. Make me want to read this
“A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.” – Lee Odden
Compelling writing starts with targeting your avatar, or ideal customer. If you can help them reach their goals faster, cheap or better they will become loyal readers.
Rambling thoughts about unrelated topics that caught your fancy is great if you flew in space, wrote a best-seller or your last name is Branson. If not, stick to solving problems for your target market.
This article walks you through the 5 step process – including how to pick killer topics – we use for every blog post. Start with that.Compelling writing is first about targeting your avatar, or ideal customer. If you can help them reach their goals faster, cheap or better they will become loyal readers. Period. Click To Tweet
2. Start with a template
“The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” – Ron Dawson
I start with a rough outline of what I want to write about and then move content to slot into my template. It might sound rote or mechanical, but my writing always improves this way. The template hauls me back from side trips and reminds me to include important parts like a summary and call-to-action.
3. Put your reader in the story
“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” – Chris Brogan
Great salespeople use ‘you’ more than ‘I’. So should you.
This is a quick edit. Simply scan you post before publishing and look for all the “I”, “my”, “our”, “me” and starts swapping them for “you”, “your”, “your’s” and “you’re.”
When you put your read in the message they begin to envision how they could be applying your solutions.
Before: “When I block time I make an appointment with myself.”
After: “When you block time you make an appointment with yourself.”
4. Clean up sloppy writing
“Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.” – Seth Godin
More words do not make your blog better. Instead you force your reader to slow down and stumble through run-on sentences, bloated paragraphs and awkward grammar.
Not good.More words do not make your blog better. Click To Tweet
The simple test is if you remove the word and the sentence still works, leave it out.
Before: “If you have staff members who are well-organized, their productivity levels can go through the roof with remote working.”
After: “Staff who are well-organized can benefit from remote working.”
5. Remove dead words
“Qualifying words, such as very, little, and rather, add nothing to your meaning and suck the life out of your sentences.” – Copyblogger
Improving your writing can start with removing unnecessary words and helping your reader get to the bottom of your post. Readers that finish reading a post are more likely to share your article and more likely to spend time on your site looking at your products and services.
Get ready to start deleting!
In many cases, removing that improves the sentence: “This is the most amazing blog post that I’ve ever read.”
Book marketing expert and author Diana Urban suggests, “If a sentence still makes sense after removing ‘that’, delete it.”
For example: “I stepped on stage and then the audience went quiet.” can be “I stepped on stage and the audience was quiet.”
All, every, totally, always, completely, absolutely, literally
For example: “If your employee doesn’t respond to your feedback you can always try coaching.
Better: “If your employee doesn’t respond to your feedback, try coaching.
6. Use words correctly
“99.9% of great bloggers are not awesome on day 1. Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time.” – Darren Rowse
Bad grammar is a bad reflection on you. Here’s a quick check list of what to avoid:
- Everyday means common or normal. Every day means today, tomorrow, the next day and so on.
- If you adapt something you change it. To adopt is to take it as your own.
- Already is talking about the past; all ready is about the future.
- Regardless is a word, irregardless is not.
- Especially means particularly, whereas specially usually means “in a special or careful manner” or “specifically.”
- Then is about time. Use than to compare something.
- You write on stationery that is (hopefully) stationary. Get it?
7. Break up looooong paragraphs
“The shorter your paragraphs are, the less dense and threatening the post looks.” – Jon Morrow
Your blog is not a technical thesis written for tenured professors paid to read your writing. Your goal is to keep readers on your site.
A simple fix for most blogs is to break up paragraphs and add what I call ‘cliff hangers’ (just like I’ve been doing in this post.)
Cliff hangers are like teasers that compels the reader to keep scrolling. For example: (that’s one)
But, before I get to that solution, let me ask you a question…
Here are three quick ways to start a conversation.
Has that happened to you?
Ready to turn your blog magnet on?
The theme of this post is less is usually not only best, but stronger—stronger results for your traffic and your business.
Invest 90 seconds to chop, cut, cull and shape your blog and you will keep readers on your site longer. More time on site means more readers into prospects and more prospects into business.
Ready to write your killer post? Here are 3 more articles to get you started: