Want To Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better #Writer

The number of poorly written emails, resumes and blog posts I come across each month is both staggering and saddening. Grammar is off. There are tons of misspellings. Language is much wordier or more complex than necessary. Some things I read literally make no sense at all to me.

Writing is a lost art, and many professionals don’t realize how essential a job skill it is. Even if you’re not a writer by trade, every time you click “Publish” on a blog, “Post” on a LinkedIn update, or “Send” on an email, you are putting your writing out into the world.

Your writing is a reflection of your thinking. Clear, succinct, convincing writing will differentiate you as a great thinker and a valuable asset to your team.

If you want to be thought of as a smart thinker, you must become a better writer. If you want to be taken seriously by your manager, colleagues, potential employers, clients and prospects, you must become a better writer.

It’s not just you who must become a better writer- it’s all of us. I’ll be the first to admit, I too have had to learn to become a better writer. So here are five ways that I’ve become a better writer over the last several years:

1) Practice, practice, practice. The old joke comes to mind: A tourist in New York asked a woman on the street, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” and she replied, “Practice, practice, practice.” The truth is, the best way to get better at anything is to do it repeatedly. Write a personal blog or begin that novel you’ve always wanted to write. Offer to write some content for your company’s marketing team. Write a short, interesting LinkedIn update each day. The more you write, the better you’ll become at writing. That’s why I write here on LinkedIn every Monday and Thursday, no matter what.

2) Say it out loud. I read all of my articles and books out loud before I publish them, and many of my emails out loud as well. It’s great to hear my writing the way others will “hear” it as they read. Especially since tone in emails is difficult to convey, it’s valuable to say what you’re writing aloud, and then consider a quick edit, before you put it out there.

3) Make it more concise. Less is often more, so during my editing process, I’ll often ask, “How can I say the same thing in fewer words?” People don’t have time to read a long email, or memo, or article, so out of respect for your intended audience, practice making your writing short and sweet. I’d even argue that tweeting has helped me a lot with this, as it obviously limits you to 140 characters. If you’re not on Twitter yet, this is another reason to get tweeting.

4) Work on your headlines. A mentor once told me that 50% of your writing is the headline. So, spend equal time and energy working on your headline as you do the piece itself. Whether it’s the headline of a blog post or an inter-office memo, or a subject line for an email to a sales prospect, your headlines will either grab your reader’s attention, and get them interested in what you have to say, or not. Lists and questions work very well as headlines and subject lines. Practice them.

5) Read. Besides practicing writing, the number one way to improve your writing skills is to read great work. I read at least one book per month, at least 20 articles per week, and countless tweets, Facebook posts and emails per day. I know we all have limited time, but truly the best way to become a better writer is to become a better reader.

These are my methods for becoming a better writer. Now, I’d love to hear from you! Do you agree or disagree with me that all business professionals can work to become better writers? How important is good writing to you? And how have you become a better writer over your career? Let me know in the comments below!

—–

Dave Kerpen loves writing. You can read more of his writing here on LinkedIn by clicking the Follow button above. Check out his bestselling books, Likeable Business and Likeable Social Media, or read more on his personal blog and Likeable blog.

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130221123241-15077789-want-to-be-taken-seriously-become-a-better-writer?trk=li_tw_0213_dave_kerpen_writing&sf9857653=1

Anuncios

Writing to sell (your writing) #copywriter

by Tom Albrighton: October 9, 2012
Posted in Blog, Copywriting Life, Freelancing

As soon as I wrote this facetious little tweet, I started asking myself whether it was true. Do we do just what the job calls for? Or is there an element of oiling the wheels by giving the client a little of what they fancy?

Copy, sir? Very good sir. And how would you like that done?

In principle, of course, there’s no distinction. Both client and copywriter are locked in on the target: benefit-stuffed, hard-selling, no-nonsense copy. But in practice, clients often want something more – or, perhaps, something less.

copywriter

For example, many companies have ideas about

themselves that they want to communicate. (I covered a few in my post on A

bout Us pages.) Things like culture, values and history are all arguably extraneous to th

e s

ell, but firms still like to see them in print. So it’s tempting to include them in order to get the

client on-side.

CD case

It’s a particlarly troubling issue for freelancers, wh

o must be their own creative director and account handler when they deal with clients direct.

The heart says ‘stick to your principles’, but

the head says ‘get it approved and invoice them’. Somehow, that internal dialogue has to be resolved into a professional persona that doesn’t come across as wildly inconsistent.

Being telepathic helps – or, failing that, drawi

ng on experience to get a sense of what people probably mean.

The demand for something ‘creative’, whic

h I personally dread, can mean anything from a head-spinningly radical concept (less like

ly) to a slight variation on what’s gone before (more likely).

In terms of tone of voice, I’ve often interpr

eted a request for informality too liberally, and ended up having to ‘re-formalise’ the text when the client baulked at my first draft.

Sadly for some, what works on an Innocent smoothie may not work elsewhere. And some clients just aren’t ready to display the vuln

erability that’s communicated by the simplest, barest language.

Advocates and mouthpieces

If you’re working with an agency, there may actually be a ‘suit’ acting as a go-between. Depending on their character and/or mood, they will function as an advocate for your creative strategy, devolve into a mouthpiece for the client’s wishes or (ideally) strike a constructive balance between the two.

Before you take their call, it helps to be clear on which elements of the copy are essential, which are optional and which are baubles intended purely to please the client.

And if you’re going to ask the account handler to back your creative judgement, it needs to be a battle worth fighting, not just an arbitrary point of principle.

So, how do you approach this issue? Do you go to the stake for what you believe, even if it alienates the client? Or are you happy to concede a few changes here and there if the general strategy remains intact?

Writing to sell (your writing)

Writing a Strong Call to Action in Your Online Ads

Increase your conversion rate by including a compelling Call to Action in your online ads.

The most important thing to remember when thinking about Calls to Action is that online users want to be told what to do. They want to know exactly what you are offering on your website, and they want a direct command to do so. If you ever notice your conversions dropping off, or if you have a high CTR but low conversion rate, the first thing you want to ask yourself is: What is my conversion?

Define your conversion – it should match your call to action

Take a good look at your landing page. Is your conversion point prominently placed on the page?

Your Call to Action is a persuasive statement to compel a user to perform a conversion.

Do you want the user to:

  • Buy a product?
  • Submit contact information?
  • Download a white paper?
  • Sign up for a demo or trial?

Whatever you want the user to do when they land on your page – write it!

Examples Based on the Above Conversion Acts:

  • Buy This Thingamajig Online for Only $19.95.
  • Request More Information Today.
  • Download Our White Paper.
  • Sign Up for a 30-Day Trial Today!

Try: Call To Action: Secret Formulas To Improve Online Results (http://www.calltoactionbook.com/) is the definitive guide for Calls to Action.

Write your ad using the same call to action language on your landing page

Users want consistency and a clean transition from clicking on your ad to meeting your landing page. Build user trust by using the same language.

For example, if your landing page asks users to

Download Your Trial Version Here.

Consider writing your ad copy to include the Call to Action:

Download Your Trial Version Now.

In this case, you do not want to use a variation of the Call to Action. For example, “Get a Free Trial” would not be as effective, because it disrupts the language continuity users crave.

Try: ClickZ, a reputable online resource for marketers, has great articles, news, statistics and case studies. A great resource for PPC optimization techniques and advice.
(http://www.clickz.com/)

Include your unique value proposition In your call to action

What makes your product unique? Why are you different from the competition? In short, why should a user buy from you instead of the other guys on Google?

Maybe you can offer immediate assistance with orders. Or perhaps you have the largest selection of inventory. Find out what makes you special, and include it in your Call to Action.

Examples:

  • Buy This Thingamajig Online Today – We Will Beat Any Competitor.
  • Get Instant Online Quotes.
  • View the Largest Selection of Thingamajigs Now!

Try: Define your Value Proposition. A good article on the subject can be found here: http://www.marketingexperiments.com/improving-website-conversion/value-proposition.html

Remember the “action” in call to action!

Your Call to Action should include a strong and compelling action verb.

Examples of Strong Action Verbs:

  • Buy
  • Shop
  • Watch
  • Compare
  • Download
  • Test drive

Examples of Weak Action Verbs:
Click

  • Get
  • Try
  • See
  • Read

Try: Search Engine Watch has great content on Calls to Action (http://www.searchenginewatch.com)

B2C ads should have different calls to action than B2B ads

Business-to-Consumer advertising is slightly different than Business-to-Business advertising. In B2B advertising, users are more likely to be in the information-gathering part of the sales cycle.

This means that your Call to Action should be appropriate to the product you are offering. For consumer products, strong and effective Calls to Action include:
Buy now!

  • Receive 50% off!
  • Order Yours Today!

The above Calls to Action would not be effective for B2B advertising.

Use these for B2B ads:

  • Test-drive a trial version.
  • Watch online demo.
  • Compare prices.
  • Download white paper.

Try: Consult online articles written about the difference between B2C and B2B advertising and marketing. A good article can be found here: http://www.vista-consulting.com/marketing-articles/b2b-b2c-marketing.htm

Never, ever write “Click Here.” That phrase is an antiquated call to action from the early days of the internet. Nobody will click on your ad, let alone perform a conversion.

  • Other Calls to Action to avoid: Click Now, Read More, Visit This Site, See Products.

Fuente: http://www.business.com/guides/writing-a-strong-call-to-action-in-your-online-ads-2804/