I enjoy writing – and I have spent the better part of the last week working on the content for a new website. Each word is important. Not just because someone will read it and learn something about the company services, but because words make you think. Words ask to you think deeply about yourself and what you might need. Words help you to make decisions. Words bring us together with a shared language.
And yet, words can so easily be misinterpreted.
When I write, I find myself reading and re-reading what I write. Could someone misunderstand what I am trying to say? Does the pattern of the words, or the choice of the words, create space between me and the reader? Will the reader make judgements about me–or my business–based on just the few sentences they read? Will they feel the meaning and my passion behind the words?
When you are writing your own content, you get to choose your words. You get to decide the tone, the reading level, the use of punctuation. But know, each decision you make about these words matter–they speak for you. They speak about you.
Here are 3 tips I follow when writing content:
Outlines still work. Remember 5th grade when your English teach taught you how to write a 5 paragraph essay by first outlining? That process still works! Think about what each paragraph is meant to say and why it is important, and the piece will start to write itself.
Choose the words wisely. Think about each word and how they work together. When in doubt, open the process up to others. Some of the best writing I have done went through several revisions, with feedback from my coworkers.
Give yourself the time the words need. Writing in a rush never works. Take the time to think about what you want to say. Write it, then read it, then think it over. Go back at least once to make sure you put down the best words for the message you want to convey.
Grammar and spelling tell a lot about you. Even the most educated, best writers make a typo once in a while. However, the most educated, best writers also take the time, and double check their work. Limit your spelling and grammar mishaps, an your readers won’t be distracted by a writing error.
Writing can be tedious, or it can be therapeutic. But the best writing comes when you care about the topic, and when you take the time to think about what you want to say, and give the message the time it needs to marinate. The result will be clear content, a great story, and a feeling of accomplishment that comes from a job well done.