Six Simple Tricks That Will Improve Your Writing Straight Away
To be a successful blogger, you must be a good writer.
That doesn’t mean you need a PhD in English Literature, or a bunch of books to your name. Over time, as you read other blogs and write more posts, your writing style will naturally improve.
But you don’t have to wait months or years for that to happen. There are plenty of ways you can improve almost instantly.
These tricks work for all sorts of writing – not just for blog posts. If you’re working on an email marketing campaign, or if you’re creating your first ebook, you can use them too.
Trick #1: Plan Ahead Before You Start Writing
Planning ahead makes a huge difference to the quality of your writing. It results in a better writing experience for you, and a better reading experience for your audience.
Taking just five minutes to plan ahead means:
- You’ll spot any major problems up-front (e.g. your topic is too big for a single post).
- You’ll be able to see the structure of your post – and amend it if necessary.
- You’ll have a roadmap to keep you on track as you write.
There are plenty of different ways to plan, but one of my favourites is to create a mindmap.
Trick #2: Imagine You’re Writing to a Single Person
Do you ever get stuck because you’re not sure how to express something? The easiest way to get past this is to imagine you’re writing to just one person.
You may even want to have a specific reader in mind for this: perhaps someone who’s always supportive in their comments and emails. Some bloggers even turn their emails to readers into blog posts, if the reader has a question that others are likely to want to know the answer to.
Trick #3: Write Shorter Sentences and Paragraphs
Although this trick won’t always work, it’s usually a great way to strengthen your writing. If you look at blogs like Copyblogger, you’ll see they generally use short sentences and paragraphs (sometimes really short).
By writing short, punchy sentences and paragraphs, you not only hold the reader’s attention, you also make your life easier. It’s often much simpler to have two short sentences than a single long, convoluted one.
Trick #4: Talk to the Reader Using “You” and “Your”
Instead of writing in general terms, talk directly to your reader. (Just glance back through this post and you’ll see I’ve done that a lot!) This helps make your post, ebook or email feel like part of a conversation.
Generally, it’s best to write as though you’re talking to just one reader (see Trick #2). So rather than writing “some of you may know…” write “you may know…”
Trick #5: Cut Out 10% of the Words
Most people over-write – they use more words than they need. When you edit your work, see if you can cut out 10% of the words. (So if you wrote an 800 word blog post, cut it to 720.)
You might be surprised how much you can trim your post and still keep all the meaning. Unnecessary words waste the reader’s time and can break their concentration.
Trick #6: Read Your Post Aloud, or Print it Out
It’s really difficult to spot your own typos and spelling mistakes, since you know what you think you wrote! Reading aloud forces you to slow down and can bring those mistakes to light.
Alternatively, you can print out your post or ebook and read on paper. This helps you get some distance from it, and can make it easier to read in a focused way – without the glare of the screen and the distractions of social media.
If you want to learn some new post structures, get to grips with the three stages of editing, and find out exactly how to write amazing content for huge blogs, check out our Get Readers course (closing tonight!) It teaches you all this and much more.