Happy 2017. Are you ready to become a better writer?
In order to build and grow your personal brand you must create content online that people can discover. It is this content that will tell the reader more about you, your products and your services. We write articles, proposals, blog posts, emails, Facebook updates, tweets and more every day. We are all writers.
One of my resolutions is to become a better writer this year. I decided to re-read Ann Handley's wonderful book, "Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content." Whether you are a scribbler or a scribe, a poet or an editor, there is something in Handley's book for all.
The following are quotes from the book that will leave you inspired and ready to improve your own writing this year.
20 ways to become a better writer
- Write with economy and style and honest empathy for your reader.
- If you stripped your branding from all your properties and lined up your words alongside a competitor's, would you recognize yourself? Would you stand out?
- Whenever possible, specify geranium instead of flower.
- Utility x Inspiration x Empathy = Quality Content.
- Writing is a habit, not an art. Set aside time each day when you're freshest.
- Put the needs of your audience first.
- Every bit of content you create should be to please the customer or prospect — not your boss or client.
- Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analytics. Optimize with love.
- The first words of every sentence should make a friendly first impression to encourage the reader to keep going.
- The primary idea — the important words — should be placed at the beginning.
- Anything you write should always be aligned with a larger (business or marketing) goal — even an individual blog post.
- Reframe the idea to relate it to your readers.
- The more personal you are, the more universal you become.
- Write to one person.
- If you get stuck, think about what's sticking. Do you need more research? More examples? Another point?
- Good writing serves the reader, not the writer. It isn't self-indulgent. Good writing anticipates the questions that readers might have as they're reading a piece, and it answers them.
- Empathy for the customer experience should be at the root of all of your content.
- Start by getting to know your customers.
- No one will ever complain that you've made things too simple to understand.
- Don't tell me who you are — tell me why you matter to me.
Writing is a wonderful way to share what you know with important people around you. Become a better writer this year by reading Ann Handley's "Everybody Writes." I have already picked up a few new tips to use for my writing; I know you will, too.
And now I am off to the store to pick up some geraniums for my wife.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.