Sadly, many small businesses are feeling the brunt of the economic downturn. And in these strange times, it’s helpful to keep active as much as possible. What better opportunity to brush up on your writing skills?
If you run a small business, writing is part of your everyday. From emailing and texting to posting online, your writing reflects your business. In this blog, we explain the benefits of improving your writing. We also offer some easy solutions to common writing problems.
Why write better?
Streamline your processes
Imagine dashing out notes to customers or employers that you know will be understood without questions. Imagine speedily typing out social media messages without wasting time trying to perfect a single sentence.
The better you write in all of your communications, the better you’ll be understood. Reduce confusion, uncertainty and time spent on clarification. You’ll make your processes smoother and more efficient.
Improve brand perceptions
Imagine contacting a small business and receiving a chaotic and confusing reply. Now compare that to a smooth and professional interaction. Which business do you immediately prefer?
All your interactions with people, both inside and outside your business, contribute to how others view your brand. Don’t let customers or employees feel uncertain and uneasy when they reach out to you. Instead, improve perceptions of your brand with clear and concise communication.
Common writing problems and how to fix them
However small your written communications may be, hopefully you now see the benefits of improving them. So without further ado, here are 3 tips to improve your everyday writing.
1) Can’t find that email
Have you ever struggled to find something in your email inbox? Perhaps you’ve wasted precious time clicking email after email, and typing keywords into the search bar to no avail.
The culprit? Bad email writing.
Either you, or someone else, did not use a relevant subject line. Perhaps there were too many different topics covered in a single email and individual items get lost in the clutter.
Improve your emails by writing clear and succinct subject lines. Stick to one item per email—but don’t take this as licence to send a barrage of emails. Group related items together under a sensible subject line.
2) Spending too much time on writing
If you feel insecure about your writing, you’re not alone. Many people believe writing is an innate gift and “You’ve either got it or you don’t”. But I’m here to tell you, that’s a myth. Writing is a learned skill. Even professional writers draw on strategies they can share with others.
One common problem for (people who consider themselves) non-writers is dwelling too long on a single paragraph or small passage. This is because people get caught up in trying to make sentences sound fancy, rather than trying to convey a simple message.
If you find yourself in this jam, stop what you’re doing. First, think about what you’re trying to say. Imagine explaining your idea to a friend, then write that down in plain language. For longer messages, use dot points.
Voila! You’ve just taken the stress and time out of writing.
3) Not sure if you’re making sense
If you’re not sure whether you’re making sense, you’re probably not. Perhaps your sentences are ambiguous or too convoluted. Luckily, there are a few strategies you can use to fix this:
- Use active language not passive
This simple technique instantly improves clarity. If you’re talking about an action, start your sentence with the person or thing doing that action.
Do: The cat sat on the mat.
Don’t: The mat was sat on (by the cat).
Do: The business is offering 20% discounts.
Don’t: 20% discounts are being offered (by the business).
2. Use short sentences
Keep your sentences short. Trust me, there’s always a way to shorten them. Break them up into tiny pieces. Not sure if they’re small enough? Use the Hemmingway App to check your readability score’s in the “good” zone.
3. Avoid fancy words
Some people try to use “big” words, thinking that it makes them sound professional. The harsh truth is that you can use big words all you want, but if what you’ve written doesn’t make sense, that professionalism goes out the window.
Keep it simple. Your professionalism will shine through your clear, easy-to-understand communications.
Final notes on improving your writing
With this slowdown in pace, take a moment to reflect on how you use writing in your business. Even if your written communications are short and informal, you can improve them for noticeable benefits. Through clear messages and instructions, you’ll keep your customers and employees happy. You’ll also boost efficiency and professionalism for your brand.