Whether you’re writing a blog post, a web page, or an email to a prospect, one of the first things you need to do is get rid of the notion that your high school or college composition teacher is going to critique your work.
They might, but since they probably aren’t your prospects, their opinion doesn’t count.
What does count is that you come across as a person who is friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable. What counts is that your readers see your personality, so come out of hiding!
To do that, you have to write in the same tone and with the same kind of language that you’d use if you were talking to your prospect in person.
Yes, you do have to follow enough rules of grammar to make your writing understandable, but forget the ones that make your writing come out sounding stiff and academic.
Follow these rules to write so prospects can see who you are:
- Simplify. Keep your sentences short. If your sentence is getting on past 2 lines, find a way to break it up. If you have to stop to take another breath when reading it aloud, the sentence is way too long. (You wouldn’t talk that way, would you?)
- Ditch the big, impressive words. Remember that no one is really impressed by your huge vocabulary – and they’ll secretly be offended if they don’t know what a word means. So save the big words for conversations with friends who actually use them in everyday speech. (Do you have any such friends?) Any time you can replace a big word with a small one, do it.
- Use logical punctuation. When you’re speaking, you probably start a few sentences with words like “and, but, and so.” Go ahead and use them in your writing as well.
- Put in a period, a comma, or a semicolon where you would logically pause if you were speaking the words instead of writing them. If you’re not sure, read your work out loud.
- And forget what you learned about never ending a sentence with a preposition. It turns out that rule was a myth, and trying to avoid it can make your sentences as stilted and silly as these words attributed to Winston Churchill: “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”
- Don’t be afraid to state your opinion or inject a little (politically correct) humor.
- Proofread! Check for typos, misspellings, and misused words. It makes you look foolish if you write “their house,” or “on Highline Rode” – or insert an apostrophe to form a plural.