In the rapidly-changing internet business landscape, among the few things that remain constant is the primacy of a compelling content for making a sale or a business conversion. Whatever we do, whatever method we employ, in the end, it’s all about connecting with people through our content and making them convinced of what we have to offer there. Even the best of writers falter in a business blog and instead of creating an interesting article, most end up churning out insipid writings one after the other. Why is it that we fail to connect with our audience? Why is it that the bounce rate of readers remains high? Why is it that despite the obvious enthusiasm, people end up sounding desperate in their writings and drive away the potential customers?
Most people are unsure of what they write
More than the writing skill, it is the clarity with which an idea is conveyed, the readers are kept engrossed on the page. And clarity comes from the knowledge of the niche on which the business is based. We cannot expect people to create a good, valuable content if they themselves aren’t sure of what they are saying, can we? Which means, it takes a fair degree of experience to be able to say things that immediately get the message across. This does not mean a beginner who is inexperienced cannot write but it means the person should limit oneself to the things that he or she is familiar with. Treading into unfamiliar terrain can get one stumped with the most basic of questions by people on the comments page. Keep on learning and make your knowledge base solid; that way you cannot falter much when you want people to absorb what you have to say.
Most people do not write the way they speak
Easier said than done but when you write the way you speak, people ‘listen’ to you more intently. An oft-repeated sentence in the blogging primer is “write as if you are talking to a friend”. It is said that good business writing is like having a conversation between the writer and the readers. Have you noticed that most people write better in the comments of other people’s posts than in their own posts? Why does that happen? At the risk of overgeneralising, I must say that it’s because they write as if they are talking. They are more involved yet are not conscious of what they are writing. They are worried about not making a sale but are just making an honest statement.
We forget to chill out
Yes, we are too conscious of our own writing voice and forget to chill. The reason why we are as laboured as we are in our writing is that we are worried about how people would look up to our content, how they would react. Remember, when we are having a conversation with a friend or our spouse, we do not worry about every word that we speak. Not unless we are trying to hide something! We just say what we want to say in the most natural manner and the words flow out easily. So we need to just chill. Relax.
Write like having a chat with a friend
Imagine that you’re explaining your stuff to your dear friend who’s sitting next to you. How will introduce the topic to him? What type of language are you going to employ? What examples are you going to give so that the matter doesn’t confound him? How do you goad him into listening to everything that you’re saying? Have you thought of the questions he might ask? Are you ready for the answers?
We are more relaxed when we are talking to a friend whether in their physical presence or over the telephone. When you approach your writing in this manner, you end up with a copy that’s more readable, more informal and genial. The tone engages your readers better.
Do not force yourself to sound intelligent
Another reason why we fail to make a good sales copy is that we use high-sounding, intelligent words to assert our ‘authority’. We try to sound smart than we actually are and this becomes evident in the tone that we use. It would be costly to discount people’s intelligence. Keep your language simple and use words that you would normally use in your day-to-day life. When you start using extravagant words, everything looks exaggerated and jarring to the senses. Your content should not make a reader look up in the dictionary for the words that are used there. Sometimes (this depends on the niche though) allow yourself to use colloquialisms if need be. You will do fine if you maintain the flow.
Try telling stories
When we talk to a friend, we invariably use stories to spice up the conversation. A story or a real-life incident usually helps pin down the readers and they are primed to relate to the contently more effectively. They become more malleable to the content and are able to use their imagination to turn the words into pictures. Now, that’s wonderful, isn’t it? So whenever you can, come up with an interesting story, and an incident or an anecdote to break the ice.
Forget the rule book and just write
Proper grammar is important and grammatical mistakes surely make a writing look bad. But this does not mean our writing should stick to strict grammar in the classical sense of the word. Depending on the situation and the type of the target audience, we could allow ourselves to bend the rules and play around with the words. Many people are caught up in the correctness of grammar and in the process dole out writings that are stiff and sound too formal.
What we could do is focus on bringing out the main idea in the first draft and just keep on writing without any grammar worries. We can always edit the draft many times over later to prune out the superfluous words and smoothen the rough edges with better alternative words. We can fix the spellings, punctuation, tenses and other grammatical elements in our final draft.
Read aloud what you have written
Before we press the publish button, we can read aloud our ‘final’ draft copy to screen for awkward sounding sentences or words. When we read aloud, we can feel the flow of the words and this helps identify the areas where we might need to improve. As we read aloud our writing, we can find out the areas where they don’t sound right and where we might need some more work. You can even ask one of your friends or your spouse to read the draft for you. You can even record yourself talking about the topic to check how you sound like in a conversation.
We need not impress everybody
Yes, it’s not possible that everybody is impressed with our writing style and so it makes no sense getting worried whether our writing would be liked by one and all. If you are honest, sound sincere offer valuable insights, then your writing is going to impress many people.
Develop your own style and be consistent throughout
Whether we realise or not, we all have our own distinctive writing style. We can also consciously develop one which can well be our ‘voice’. And when you have found this voice, it’s best to make the style consistent in all our writings. That way we are able to inject a personality into what we write and the readers become familiar with the voice. This bodes well for a loyal following.
The take-home message
It’s so easy for people to get hung up on a topic and stall writing midway because they are worried about their own writing. It does not have to be perfect every time. The important thing is to keep our writing engines roaring all the time and keep on creating content. Let not our yearning for perfection impede our progress.