You write. A lot.
Whether it is on social media, running a blog, responding to work e-mails…
And chances are, in terms of content, you say everything you want to. It captures and conveys the ideas you have.
But the form is lacking.
Because the truth is, great writing isn’t in the ideas you have. Yeah, they’re crucial, obviously.
But if you write in a way that is boring, unkempt, tedious to read… you can forget about anyone actually engaging.
Here’s a few fundamentals of writing for people.
This is simple.
Your audience is going to appreciate the simplicity.
Because nobody wants to read a 20+ word sentence in a 15+ sentence paragraph.
Leave walls of text to academics.
Use HemingwayApp to speed up the process, and see what obvious things can be improved. Aim at 3-5th grade level.
Lists should go in groups of three.
Notice how “apples, bananas, and grapes” rolls off the tongue.
Then compare to “apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes”.
It’s a subtle difference – and yet testing shows that if you have a group of more than three… you should turn them into bullets.
Another thing to pay attention to is sentence length. Most sentences should be short. But not all. Breaking rhythm is important, so your reader’s brain doesn’t get bored.
People love them. They’re the reason listicles are still popular.
This doesn’t mean “describe”. This means relate.
Make sure your target audience can connect emotionally.
This takes work, time, and research. Learn the words they use. Use them. Simplify so everyone gets what you mean.
The more you can exaggerate the emotions, the higher your engagement will be.
Compare “he was angry, and he stood up” with “he stood up shaking with rage”. Same situation, different meaning.
Make sure they gain something from reading your stuff.
If you don’t gain anything from this post, you’re likely not going to come back to read more.
This is crucial, because unless you already have a following, you won’t achieve success. No matter what you write about.
This is something you should do before you start writing.
Sometimes the benefit is self-evident, like this post. It’s built to help you write better by just keeping a few things in mind.
Sometimes it’s not obvious, so it will need to be pointed out. Ideally in the beginning of the text.
In either case, it’s important that you outline your posts around the benefits you want your readers to get.
Let’s talk about them.
The benefits of the post have to be clear. Yet… you should always try for more.
Because the more benefits you pack into a post, the more people it will bring along.
These benefits can be as simple as amusing people with your story, showing them how to do something cool or explaining something they’d been wondering about.
But all of them require that you write in a way that makes them want to read.
And if you can make reading enjoyable, even better.