Why Good Writing Shouldn’t Be Limited To Just Writers

Anyone can be a good writer. And it’s not as difficult as one might think.

Yet so many people, including those in high positions of influence, seem to fail at grasping the basics of clear, simple writing. Becoming a good writer doesn’t mean you have to write eloquent prose like Hemingway. It also doesn’t mean your words must be so big, it sends your readers off to dig up their dictionary.

No, quite the opposite in fact. A good writer simply means that people can understand what you’re saying, at a level that someone with a basic education can comprehend.

One of my favorite online tools is a site called http://www.hemingwayapp.com/. Simply paste your copy into the text body, and the tool will tell you the reading level of your written content. The idea is that the lower the grade level, the more likely it is that your writing is clear to the average reader.

Why? Because simple words are typically better, especially if you are trying to convey a relatively simple point.

A recent Harvard Business Review study showed how poor writing in the workplace can actually severely hinder a company, costing inordinate amounts of cost, due to the lack of clarity and confusion in their communications.

The study articulately conveys how clear writing doesn’t just get a point across, it exemplifies intelligence and leadership in a way that otherwise would have been lost. Texts with your closest buddies are one thing, but in a professional environment, vague writing can set you back.

Personally, my advice is to not overthink it. Don’t try to get cute, clever, or use big words that even you don’t fully understand, in order to make yourself seem smart. Use words that everyone with a basic education can understand, and you just might find yourself communicating to people in a way that people will truly appreciate. You owe it to yourself, and to those of us that have to decipher your content.

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The Worst Reasons to Become a Copywriter

The title of copywriter can be attractive to anyone with a passion for writing. Getting paid to do what you love, no matter what it is that you’re actually writing, can be incredibly rewarding. However, make sure you are getting into copywriting for the right reason. That is to say, understand your strengths and weaknesses before devoting your career to a field that you may not actually be great at.

If your friends and family are daily readers of your work, take their feedback with a grain of salt. They are, in fact, friends and family members. Positive feedback from them, while sometimes genuine, is often masked by their want to avoid hurting or offending you. Going into the world of copywriting with nothing more than a few insincere comments of praise under your belt will set you up for failure. Be realistic about what you can do, and where you can improve.

Even worse, giving into these compliments can weaken your ability to accept criticism. Once you are officially in the real world, having someone with writing experience pick apart your work can seem offensive and damaging when used to the lighthearted comments you typically receive from friends and family.

If you consider yourself massively creative, copywriting may seem like an easy job for you. But, when you aren’t working on your own terms, this can actually have adverse effects. Creativity certainly is a requirement when writing, but toomuch of it can lead to those with less experience shooting themselves in the foot. You must compromise your creativity for the job needing to be completed.

Surprisingly, many copywriters choose this profession simply for the ability to say they are writers. Looking back at legends like Hemingway, Mark Twain, Tolstoy, and Jane Austen, their works can inspire anyone to want the title of ‘writer,’ rather than wanting to pick up a pen or pencil and pour their heart and soul out onto a piece of paper.
Copywriting should never be considered an outlet to market a poorly written novel. Successful copywriters understand the sacrifices they must make in order to remain successful, not letting their egos get in the way, and following instruction in order to maintain their careers. Those who wish to become writers simply because their friend and family praise their writing abilities and creativity should consider the business aspects of the field beforehand. It might be a rude wake-up call for some.

Expanding Your Social Media Reach (Part 1)

Social media can be a gift and a curse. From a branding perspective, certain things such as effective advertising, can be enhanced through social media.  Social media marketing, on the other hand, may be more difficult , as your targeted audience is not guaranteed to be reached. For those in charge of marketing, it’s easy to miss opportunities that may increase the number of people who see your product or service. Effective tactics can be frequently overlooked, and in turn, disregarded, while you could end up spending a great deal of time on something that has virtually no impact on your social media reach, and thus harm business.

In the United States alone, 1.96 billion people use social media to some extent, and that number is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018. Tapping into this market is crucial for a successful business, with the largest platforms to do so being Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, just to name a few. On these sites, you can build a proficient social media following through many different ways.

Facebook

Having your business’s page, or even individual posts shared is an extremely effective way to increase your following. In order to get shares, you must motivate and engage people. Running a contest is a powerful way to brand your product or service. Rather than simply saying “Share our page,” offer a giveaway for anyone who does share a specific post. Seeing “share to win” on one’s news feed will immediately grab the attention of the person seeing the post. Not only does this engage and reward those who have already been following you, but it increases the potential for others to see your page who may not have before.

Call to actions in general are great tools in reaching your targeted audience through Facebook. “Like our page for more!” or “Comment below if you agree!” are tactics that can engage those who truly wish to learn more and share their opinions. But, this is something that should not be overdone. A page that posts nothing but pleas for attention will be continuously ignored.

Use images as well. Photos make up 75% of the content shared on Facebook since 2014, and have an 87% interaction rate among users. It’s pretty simple. Visuals are much easier to process than text.

Twitter

As the third largest social media site in the world behind Facebook and YouTube, Twitter can be an extremely powerful tool for businesses if used correctly. First, you’ll need followers. Otherwise, who is going to see what you post? One thing you can do is run a Twitter campaign. Here, you can send out promoted tweets that will reach a specified audience based on geographical location, interests, and language. While this is a great way to grow your followers, it can be expensive.

Short on cash? Don’t worry, there are some free strategies to increase your followers including following others yourself, using hashtags relevant to your target audience, and scheduling tweets to be posted at times when most people are using the site. Adding links to tweets is a proven way to engage more people as well. Posts that provide the convenience of information without asking readers to look it up themselves are much more appreciated.

And don’t forget to establish your brand through Twitter. Update your bio with relevant information about you or your business, and make sure people know what they can expect by following you.