Do you consider yourself a writer? No? Well perhaps it is time to shift your perspective. According to Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes:
“If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means we are all writers”.
As writers we all have an opportunity for persuading, informing and influencing our readers through the power of the written word. Yet we can only capitalise on this opportunity if we possess the right writing skills to communicate.
And having good writing skills might be more beneficial to you than you think. A recent survey conducted by Grammarly revealed statistically people with strong writing skills are better at their jobs and get paid more across a range of industries. Check out the infographic below summarising their findings:
How Do I Know if I Have Good Writing Skills?
Do you know when to use their, there and they’re? It’s a good start, but unfortunately it doesn’t necessarily make you a good writer. Even I, with a degree in English and communications, still have a way to go when it comes to my writing skills.
To brush up on my abilities, I recently attended the Building Writing Champions Workshop with Sarah Mitchell and James Lush. Among other valuable lessons, one of the key things we worked on in this workshop was the art of keeping things concise without losing meaning.
Our natural instinct might be to crowd our sentences with many complicated words in order to seem credible or intelligent. However, truly effective communication captures the essence of what you are trying to say succinctly. A good starting point to writing concisely is to review any document you have and review all occurrences of ‘that’, ‘will’, ‘can’ and ‘should’. You’ll find in most cases you are able to get rid of these words entirely, significantly reducing your word count.
It’s not just the amount of words you use, but also the type of words you use that contributes to the quality of your writing. At all costs, everybody should avoid those corporate phrases and buzzwords adding no real value and often not even making sense. I’m talking about words and phrases like ‘incentivise’, ‘solutionisation’ and ‘solopreneur’. You may think these phrases make you sound exciting and corporate, but really it makes it sound as if you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
We need to understand we don’t impress our readers by confusing them. We impress our readers by writing quality content appealing to their interests and desires. Ann Hadley also claims:
“Writing matters more now, not less. Our online words are our emissaries: They tell our customers who we are”.
And it’s true. Gone are the days where our newsletter articles would be crumpled and tossed in the bin after reading. Now a simple Google search brings up all of your company’s writing from the past few years. In one click of the ‘share’ button, your content can be discovered all over again.
So what are you writing to your customers and readers? And more importantly, are you writing it well?
If you need help brushing up on your writing skills, sign up for the Building Writing Champions Workshop. It’s guaranteed to make you a better writer in less than four hours.
By Carla Young