Written by Pat Wootton, PromptProofing.com
It's time for some more helpful writing tips!
Last month we wrote about writing web content; however, there are many other forms of writing that we are required to do in the everyday business world.
That said, many of the tips we recommended for writing web content translate to other business writing. In particular:
No matter whether you are writing a sales pitch, a business proposal or marketing materials, one thing never varies - your audience has a limited attention span and long, rambling missives or several pages of information will simply cause the reader's brain to switch off. You have a limited amount of time to catch someone's attention, so use your words wisely.
Imagine that each word you write costs you a dollar - you might think twice about adding unnecessary ones. Read through your document once you are finished, at least twice. The first time, check for typos and inadvertent errors that make your writing look unprofessional. Remember that spellcheck won't help you if you have written 'form' for 'from' or 'too' for 'to'! Your second read-through should be to eliminate any redundancies. Consider the following:
When writing web copy you should try to be concise and keep your writing brief. Avoid digressions or asides and stay focused on the subject without allowing distractions to hinder your writing.
Now let's rewrite those sentences:
When writing web copy, try to be concise and stay focused on your subject.
The second option does not omit anything important and the message is delivered using fewer than half the words of the original.
Ideally, introduce your main message in the opening paragraph; if this is not made clear early on, your readers may see no point in reading further. If you are writing sales or marketing materials then try to focus on 'you' rather than 'us'; point out the benefits to your readers, how you can provide solutions to their problems.
Check back next month for more writing tips!
Check back next Friday for another Prompt Proofing blog post!
Pat Wootton is originally from England and is a former high school English teacher. Having spent many years in the Caribbean, where she raised her family, she now lives in Vancouver, BC. In addition, she has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for several years after earning a diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of British Columbia. She now owns and runs Prompt Proofing, a copy editing and writing service that caters to both individuals and businesses.