In the first post, we talked about why you should be professional with your copy and online communications. Here, we’ll look at some ways to achieve that.
Your blog should be like anything else in your business – something you take pride in and shows your audience that you’re an expert. Being half-hearted in your approach will come through, and will make your readers feel undervalued.
If your website is your ‘shop window’, then it’s important to give care and attention to what’s on display inside – your content.
A piece of advice I see a lot is to block time in your diary for creating copy, just like client meetings and completing admin tasks. Allocate more time than you think you need, so you can gather your thoughts and aren’t rushing to get it finished before you do the next task.
Tips for Writing Good Copy
Try to give yourself a quiet space to write – put your phone onto silent and ignore notifications or emails. Like everything else, focusing just on your blog gives you the best chance of producing something professional, useful and easy to read.
I also recommend having all the information you need at hand before you start, including statistics, industry updates or quotes from staff or customers, if you’re using them. Try to write a blog post all in one go, as leaving it to come back to later can mean that you lose the thread.
It might be helpful to book time in on another day to review your copy, add it to your website, format it and add appropriate images. There’s no reason for you to do everything all in one go, especially if you find the process slow going (or you really don’t enjoy it).
Remember, people read differently online, as their attention span is shorter. You only have a few seconds to interest them before they click away. They skim through articles and blogs, so make sure you’re giving them the most important information (and leading them to your call to action – what you want them to do next) as soon as you can.
Making Your Copy Professional
There are other ways to make your writing clearer and more professional, such as cutting out unnecessary words. “That” is often overused, as are “and” and “the.” Try not to use adverbs – quickly, excitedly – or intensifiers – really, extremely – as these don’t add anything to your writing.
Try not to use clichés, as they’re too long and look like you haven’t thought much about what you’re saying. And say things like “regularly” rather than “on a regular basis” to make yourself more human and less business robot. You’ll still sound professional.
Always have your reader in mind when you write: be clear, and write in the active tense whenever you can. Be consistent, and don’t change style, tone or even topic. Be coherent, so your blog moves logically from one point to another. State in your introduction what your post is about, and add a couple of introductory words at the start of each new section.
Don’t worry too much about writing rules: there is a much more casual approach to writing copy now, and it’s perfectly acceptable to start sentences with “but” or end on a preposition. But be careful your sentence still makes sense!
NEVER rely on the spell-checker in your word processing programme or an online tool, because they’re not 100% accurate. Microsoft Word’s recent updates wrongly highlights words that are actually correct. More importantly, it doesn’t do context.
Also, be careful of the programme auto-correcting words and that you’re using British English throughout. If you write your blog in Word or Pages first and then paste it into your blog, run the website spell-checker and then read it again yourself to make absolutely sure.
Your aim with a blog or case study is to give people enough information to realise that they need help, a product or a specialist service, and you want to make sure they choose you! Taking a professional approach to your writing is just as important as the actual advice you’re giving people, and helps them trust you more.