Worried people aren’t reading your emails or reports? Here are 7 uber-speedy tips to make your writing irresistible.
You spend days preparing that important report, doing the research, bringing the stats together, and fine-tuning your arguments. Now you just want to hit send and hope for the best.
There’s one crucial thing you need to do first:
What’s the point in all your hard work if nobody reads it? Or worse, they read it but miss all the key points because they lose interest halfway through or are distracted by bad spelling.
Great writing mostly comes down to great editing. Our MinorWords copywriters don’t call it quits after the first draft. (Trust me, we wouldn’t have any clients if we did!). Instead, we write, edit, read, edit some more, get a coffee, edit again, sleep on it, and then edit a final time before sending it for review. Then, once we’ve received feedback, we start the process all over again.
Okay, sometimes we don’t have time to sleep on it. But the basic rule is the same. Whether it’s an email, presentation, proposal, team update or just a little tweet, taking the time to edit will make your writing more engaging for readers.
Here are some quick and easy editing tips that can instantly improve any piece of writing:
If you do nothing else, please, I’m begging you, run a spell check over your writing. Checking your writing for typos and bad grammar is an absolute must. Even emails. Especially emails, in fact. There’s nothing worse than your colleagues or future clients thinking you’re careless (or worse – a bit dim) because you don’t know your your from your you’re. It takes literally seconds to spell check – so get it done!
LEAVE SOME SPACE
Let your words breathe. Nobody likes dense impenetrable paragraphs of text. Leaving space gives your readers time to take in your words. It gives emphasis. And it makes your writing infinitely more readable and scannable.
Not sure where to put the spaces? Every three sentences or so should do it. Also, reading your writing aloud will show you where it makes sense.
Bullet points are a writer’s secret weapon. Numbered lists or bullet points have lots of advantages:
- Create a visual break in the page
- Help you organise your writing
- Make your writing easier to scan and digest
- Draw attention to key points
Use bold to point your readers to the most important information. If there are a few key points readers absolutely must know (think deadlines, questions, statistics etc.), formatting is an easy way to make them stand out. That way, when readers are scanning the text, you can be sure their eyes will stop at the important bits.
ASK MORE QUESTIONS
Are you using questions in your writing? Starting with a question is always a great way to grab attention. But don’t be afraid to stick a few in the middle to throw your reader off guard.
MAKE IT ACTIVE
The writing was made more engaging by bullet points.
Bullet points made the writing more engaging.
Notice the difference? The first is PASSIVE voice and the second is ACTIVE voice. Active voice just sounds better, doesn’t it? Wherever possible, convert your sentences to active voice. This means making sure the subject of the sentence is doing the action, rather than having the action done to it.
READ IT ALOUD
As a final check, read your words aloud. This does two things. First, reading aloud makes you focus on every word, so no typos and weird grammar issues slip through the net. When reading on a screen, your brain guesses what comes next so you’re more likely to miss common typos. Second, it shows you where to put the breaks and highlights. Where did you stop to breathe? Which words did you emphasise? This is where to tips 2 and 4 come into play.
Try out these tips on your next piece of writing and see what difference they make.
Need help with your writing? Contact us! Our copywriters can help with everything from blogs and social media posts to reports, white papers, websites and more. Get in touch for a chat about your project – however big or small.