Writing is a part of every business or endeavor. But just because you do something often doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. Here’s a quick list of writing pitfalls to avoid as you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).
1. Too much text
In a world of tweets, sound bytes, and text messages, our collective reading stamina isn’t what it used to be. Be mindful of whether your message requires a longer, more descriptive piece or if you can get the same job done by being more concise. Also keep in mind that long sentences and paragraphs simply don’t work on web and mobile applications.
2. Beating around the bush
Professional writers call this “burying the lead.” The lead contains the most important information in the article, so it should come first. Simply put, you’ll lose your reader’s interest if you take too long to get to the point. Make it easy for readers to find the most important information, whether you’re writing an email, a blog post or a press release.
3. Basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors
Even if you write regularly, it’s easy to make mistakes. Take advantage of spell and grammar checks, brush up on punctuation rules, and — if it’s important — have someone else read everything you write before it is printed or published. Tools like Grammarly can be helpful as well, because simple mistakes can make your business look unprofessional.
4. Complicating your point
When writing for a general audience, most professionals should “dumb it down” a little. Avoid terminology people outside your industry may not understand, and if you must use an unfamiliar term, explain it. The last thing you want is to alienate your readers or make it hard for them to understand your message.
5. Not hiring a professional
There’s something to be said for doing what you do best and letting someone else do what they do best. Why spend your valuable time writing copy when you could pass it off to a professional? Hiring a professional writer gives you one less thing to do, ensures a successful finished product, and often means the job gets finished faster than if you were to do it yourself.
Hilary Whitesides has worked as a freelance writer for the past decade. She has worked for companies such as Vivint and Dentrix, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Utah Business Magazine. Having written everything from blog posts to web content and promotional materials to magazine articles, Hilary is passionate about expression through the written word. When she’s not nursing carpal tunnel from incessant typing, she can be found seeing as much of the world (and eating as much of its food) as possible with her husband and kissing the cute faces of her two children. You can see samples of her work at www.hilarywhitesides.wordpress.com.