Confused and not sure where to turn? Writing for your business getting you down? It’s daunting and leads to frustration. There are so many articles out there giving you writing tips for your business and blogging efforts, and many of them have conflicting advice.
Learning experiences in unexpected places
I thought I’d share with you the advice I was given at a seminar recently. It was an unlikely venue for a writing seminar — the Destination Show at London’s Earl Court, but it did not disappoint. What really drew me to the seminar was the credibility of the panel.
They were all working journalists, authors and editors, and as such their advice comes directly from writing, editing and having their work published professionally. Let me introduce you to them:
The seminar was hosted by the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Wanderlust Magazine — Lyn Hughes, and her guests were Matthew Teller, an author, journalist and broadcast journalist for some of the major media players; Paul Goldstein, an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, and raconteur; Phoebe Smith, an author and an editor at Wanderlust magazine, she has a wealth of experience of writing for magazines and newspapers all over the world.
Six tips from the panel
Their advice was practical and can be used as a framework to guide you through your writing process. It will help to bring consistency your writing in general — including the content for your business.
Research and write for your audience
Find out who your customers are and write for them. Use terminology and language throughout that resonates and leads your reader through the content. There are significant differences between various target groups and being a writer is as much about writing well as it is writing for specific groups.
Headlines should be brief and captivating
Your readers should get an idea of what your article is about even by just glancing at the title. In this case, the art of brevity goes a long way. Try to figure out the clearest and most concise way of expressing the topic.
Work on your leading paragraph
You have a short lead-in time to capture your audience. Reading an article is like meeting someone for the first time; you have around 7 seconds to impress them.
Make sure that your piece has meaning
Just like a story you need to give your readers with a defined start, middle and end to the content.
Be inventive; find an angle
Building trust and showing authenticity is a must for your content writing. Don’t sit on the fence, make your points forthright and, above all, relevant.
Make sure your copy is tight. Get rid of pronouns, stale statement, clichés and superfluous adjectives. About 10% of your content should be culled in an edit.
Get out there and write
These are all things that they work on every day. I’m working through them myself. Good writing is about putting in the work and then editing it to make it better. There aren’t any short-cuts.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given? Share your experiences and tips in the comments section.image source: Jim Linwood, on Flickr