I am not saying you are about to pen the next literary classic, but whatever you plan on writing, knowing how to express yourself through the written word is important for your business. Whether you're writing business emails, producing marketing copy or blogging for your website, writing skills are essential to communicate your business' value proposition.
Not everyone will be a brilliant wordsmith, but anyone can become a competent writer with a bit of work. We could go into detail on using proper grammar and punctuation, but for the sake of brevity we'll look at some of the more common missteps in style and tone. No matter what you're writing for your business, if you avoid these common mistakes, you'll immediately become a better writer.
Being overly formal
A lot of novice writers lean on formality as a way to sound articulate. Instead, it ends up making their prose cumbersome and difficult to follow. In most cases, the best rule of thumb is to write the way people speak. This doesn’t necessarily mean writing the way you speak. You may not be a particularly confident verbal communicator, or you may pepper your speech with a lot of colloquialisms. Writing the way people speak isn’t about simply transcribing your speech onto paper. It’s about communicating in a way that sounds natural and unforced.
Being too verbose
This goes hand-in-hand with an overly formal writing style. Good writing uses as few words as possible to get its point across.
Good writing respects its reader, and it respects the time its reader is investing. It gets from the beginning to the end of its thesis in as few words as possible while still remaining effective.
Using passive voice
This is one of the most commonly committed and least identified sins writers commit. Passive voice is putting the action before the subject rather than the subject before the action.
Using superlatives you can’t back up
So a superlative is an adjective describing something that at the upper or lower limit of a certain quality. For example, “the best streaming service,” or “the worst movie ever made.”
There’s no problem using superlatives. They give your writing some color and make it more engaging for the reader. The issue comes when you use a superlative that can be easily disproved.
Meandering around your point
If you're trying to write persuasively, you need to actually have a point. This sounds like common sense, but many writers try to throw every idea in their head at their readers in the hopes that something will be absorbed.
A good way to think about your writing is by breaking it into an outline. What is the main point you're trying to get across? Write it down in a single declarative sentence. Now, what are three or four arguments or ideas you'd use to support this point? Write those down as well.