As you work on blog posts for your business, you might throw away tons of useful content because you feel like it's not good enough. This article shows you two simple ways to improve the quality of your writing and boost your creative confidence.
Why not just skip blogging and use other marketing techniques? Because most people begin shopping with online research. If you're not creating relevant content for your customers, then you’re not going to rank high in the search rankings. You don’t want to get forgotten, so that means you can’t just skip the blog.
Alright, it’s time for those techniques I promised.
Don't serve readers writing that hasn't been tested
I know this seems simple, but would you argue with someone who told you to taste your food as you cook? No, but it’s something most new cooks forget. A writer who doesn't listen to their writing is like a cook that doesn't taste their food. So before dishing out your articles, listen to them. Let's look at how listening helps.
There is a linguistic term call prosody. Prosody has been referred to as the musicality of words or put simply it’s how the written word sounds when spoken. When you hear your article out loud it’s easier to hear issues with flow, and fix choppy speech.
When you write an article, you know the information well and it’s hard to put yourself in a newcomer’s shoes. Listening helps to remove yourself from the writer’s position and view your writing from the reader’s perspective.
You could read your writing out loud, but I prefer converting the article to PDF and have a PDF reader read it to me, preferably in a British accent. I’ve been using ezPDF reader pro for years and love it but most PDF readers have a built-in text reader. That way it’s like someone else is reading to you. Which makes it easier to spot bad writing than when I read it to myself.
Most of the time this is enough to improve your writing, but if you have more time and someone who's willing to help try the next technique.
Get a second opinion
Getting feedback from someone can take your article to the next level.
In the book Made to Stick, they share a psychological test that shows why this helps. In this test, they give a participant one song and have them tap it to the second participant who doesn’t know the song. They ask the person tapping how likely it is that the other person will guess correctly. The tapper thinking their tapping is pretty good guesses it will be about 50%, but in reality, it’s about 10%. Why does this happen? It’s because the person who knows the song can’t easily put themselves in the others shoes and remember what it’s like not to know the song.
As the writer, it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know the information. You know the impact your advice can have on others, so it's hard for you to believe someone else might not understand. When you have someone else give you feedback it helps you write in a clear and motivating way.
Here are some example questions you could use when asking for feedback:
- Can you easily describe what this article’s about?
- Could you write its purpose in 1 sentence? If not, how many would it take you?
- Do you want to use what you just read?
The answers will help you simplify your writing. Don’t worry you're not dumbing down your ideas. Why? Because you're teaching the same lesson, but when you run into uncommon ideas you explain them. Through the use of examples and metaphors, the new concepts become easier to digest. Writing like this will make your content more practical for readers.
If possible try to find to get feedback from a reader that fits your target audience. Just like an auto mechanic probably won’t be interested in Software Magazine a reader who doesn’t fit your audience won’t give you the feedback you need.
Using feedback from others gives you the ability to create useful content. It’s like going to a concert to listen to a band you like. You’ve given them the chance to shape your writing into something they’d appreciate.
Create content that keeps people coming back for more
Like many business owners, you have unique knowledge to share with the world. When you give it to people in a way that's easy to understand, relatable, and entertaining you’ll keep people coming back for more. In turn, you’ll get more readers, more leads and more success.