Despite what you were taught at school, good writing isn’t about fussy rules and overblown language. It’s about making an impact, quickly. The simpler your writing, the smarter you sound.
Here’s how to make your writing both easy to read, and memorable.
Write the Way You’d Talk to Your Reader
Remember you’re writing to a person, not a business.
David Ogilvy, the famous copywriter, advised, “Write the way you talk. Naturally.” He wasn’t suggesting that you fill your writing with ums, ahs, and disjointed sentences.
He meant using the kind of words you’d say in a natural conversation with your reader.
This helps you strike the right tone and makes your writing more personable.
Normal Words > Formal Words
Standing out in the business world is surprisingly simple: Use normal language in place of tired metaphors, clichés, jargon, and “business speak.”
The easiest way to do this is to swap formal words for normal ones:
- Utilize – Use
- Enable – Let
- Require – Need
- Attain – Get, hit
- Objectives – Goals
Using this approach, a stuffy phrase such as “Commence initiatives to attain revenue objectives” becomes the more accessible, understandable, and actionable “Start programs to hit your targets.”
What’s In It for Them?
Have you ever been cornered at a party by someone who constantly talks about themselves? Don’t be that person in your emails. Focus on your reader. Always ask yourself, What’s in it for them?
There’s an easy way to make sure your writing isn’t too self-absorbed. Always use more you, your, or you’re and a lot less I, we, or me.
Get to the Point
Your prospect doesn’t have time to wade through masses of text. Keep your writing succinct. Some tips:
- A short word will do the job just as well, if not better, than a long one.
- If a word or phrase doesn’t add anything to your text, cut it.
- Generally, use short sentences and short paragraphs.
6sense users can leverage our keyword and account insights to briskly research and understand a buyer’s unique needs. This makes it practically effortless to succinctly address their needs in emails.
Structure for Skimmers
B2B professionals don’t read their emails anymore. Not with any depth, anyway. These days, people skim words they consume on a screen.
Keep your paragraphs tight. Like, super-tight. Here are a few examples to improve the readability of your text:
- Embolden or italicize, but don’t overdo it.
- Break up text with headings and subheadings.
- Don’t be afraid of white space.
- Use numbered lists, bullet points, and indentations where appropriate.
- Use images, tables, and examples.
Rules Worth Forgetting
Breaking rigid grammatical and writely rules is fine if it makes your writing better, or easier to understand. Here are a couple of rules worth forgetting:
Never use a conjunction at the start of a sentence: Using conjunctions like And, But, So, If and Because at the start of sentences makes it easier to split long sentences. This creates more succinct, conversational writing.
Do not use contractions: Contractions aren’t all bad. In fact they’re not bad at all. They mimic everyday speech, create a friendly flow to your copy, and make your writing easier to read.