Writing-101-How-to-Write-Effectively Can I let you in on a little secret? In order to be involved in social media, you have to write.  A lot.

I just blew your mind, didn’t I? You had never really stopped to think about it.

You knew you had to be on Twitter (writing tweets), Facebook (writing posts), Blogging (writing blogs), E-mail blasts (writing newsletters), but you never took a step back to realize how much writing was involved.

If you are writing your own social media content, your writing needs to be easy for readers to understand and act on.

How do you make sure to deliver such a lofty goal? By following these five tips for writing effective content:

1. Write for your ideal customer

Sit down for five minutes and envision the person you’d most like to work with. Think about their age, marital status, location, buying habits, personality, and lifestyle. If you’re really having a good time, decide on their hair color and shoe choice.

Because the honest truth is….if you are trying to write to everybody, your message is going to lose its meaning and its marketing value.

No matter how hard you try, you’re never going to get vegetarians to eat meat, or convince a devoted Cubs fan that the Sox rule. It’s just not going to happen. So trying to market niche products to everyone is a waste of time and energy.

Knowing your target audience, your ideal customer, the crouton to your ceasar salad means you can put your time and energy writing and marketing to them.

Figure out who you should be talking to, and hold them in your mind while writing. And remember one of my favorite quotes:

“If you try to write for everyone you write for no one.” — Brain Clark

2. Write in a proficient but human voice

Think of it this way, do you prefer talking to an automated customer service rep or a human one?  I am going to guess your answer and move on.

You want to be human when you write your content. A warm, welcoming voice is going to entice a lot more people than a cold, professional one.

3. Edit, edit, and edit once more

Do not let your message get overshadowed by a silly mistake. You are human, but you are a professional, so check your work.

There are several ways to edit effectively.

Sit on your work for 24 hours, then go re-read it and correct any errors in grammar, spelling, flow, and content.

Read it out loud to yourself. It really is an effective way to catch mistakes, especially after you’ve been reading it over and over to yourself.

Ask a colleague to read your writing out loud to you. This way you can hear how it will sound and see if you are satisfied.

Use spell check, use common sense, don’t rush and your content will thank you.

4. Don’t Assume

You are an expert on what you are writing, but that doesn’t mean your readers are. Write your message in a way that draws customers in, rather than scaring them with industry jargon.

Even if you’re an enginerd (an affectionate term for an engineer), if your audience doesn’t know about your crazy tech terms, you’re going to have to find a way to work around that.

(p.s. Assuming makes an ass of u and me.  Sorry, I had t0).

5. Be concise

Use the minimum word count for quick reading — Jakob Nielson

Nielson is an established authority on how people read the web. His advice? Use bulleted lists and lots of white space.

Because readers tend to read short sentences.

And skip the long ones.

Keep this in mind while writing your content.

You could attempt changing the font color.

Or making certain words bold to draw attention.

I really hope these tips are helpful to you. Especially since I am planning an entire series of blog posts on how to write effectively. Over the next two weeks and six posts, I am going to cover everything from the writing process to writing etiquette to writing revisions. I hope you’ll stop by and soak up all the advice I’m about to shoot your way.

Do you have any writing advice you’d like covered? Do you think you’re writing more than you used to?

If you found this helpful, I’d really appreciate if you would retweet this post or leave a comment.  Just trying to spread the word!


Comments ( 7 )

  1. megpies
    thanks so much! That helps!
  2. WP Plugins Blog
    I agree, but also optimize your article for search engines. So that to get traffic and increase revenue.
    • AuthorRebecca
      So true. In fact, stay tuned for a post in the next few weeks on how to write for SEO. I would call it a mix between an art and a science.
  3. Steven
    Reading out loud is key. I have just recently started included audio files to my post. It helps me become much more aware of the little mistakes. Still working on developing a better voice/style/personality though! Thanks for the tips!
    • AuthorRebecca
      Hi Steven, Reading out loud really does work. I can't begin to count how many times I've given that advice, but I doubt very many people actually take it. I'm glad you're one of them! Audio files in posts is a great idea. I'll have to start trying that as well. Thanks! Rebecca
  4. megpies
    hey Rebecca, I love your posts and I think they are so helpful! As someone with a new business and new blog, I need the advice! I was wondering, would you mind helping me define my "ideal customer"? I can't pinpoint it and I'm finding it difficult to come up with posts that are relevent because I'm not sure who I'm writing to! :) I bake pies, and I hold free pie tastings to thank old customers for their support and to bring new customers in. I create gourmet pies (i.e. instead of apple pie, I have cranberry apple and instead of pecan pie its Bourbon-Orange Pecan pie, etc.) and I love the customer aspect of my business. I don't want to get too large, because I love having one on one time with my customers and connecting with the blog. Any ideas? Thanks!
    • AuthorRebecca
      Hi Meg, I'm glad you enjoy the posts! The key to identifying your ideal customer is to ask yourself a lot of questions about them. So for example: - Who will be your best customer? - Are they individuals or businesses? - What's most important to your ideal customer? - What are their needs? So if you mostly sell to young professionals who stop in on their way home from work, and their ideal need is speed, you can write to that. If you mostly sell to families who buy your pies for birthday parties and gatherings, and their need is a lot of hand holding while planning their event, you can write to that. I think you are probably writing more to your ideal customer than you think. I hope that helps, if you want more clarification or help, feel free to email me directly at rebecca@rebeccaosberg.com. Thanks!