Writing Effective Copy

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How can you or your company create a blog that outshines and outlasts every other blog? And how do you hypnotize readers to keep coming back? This article provides tips to write effective, attention-arresting blog copy and shows how you can develop reader and customer loyalty. As a teacher, I want to point out that many of these points can be used when writing speeches as well.

1. WRITE CONVERSATIONALLY.

The most engaging blogs speak to their audience in a casual and conversational tone. A big benefit of a blog is its ability to speak to readers in a way that is personal, candid and straightforward. Write your blog the same way you’d speak to your audience, face to face. The personal element is almost always what attracts people and keeps them coming back to your blog.

2. TELL STORIES.

Readers want to know things they already don’t know about your company. They want to know what the products, services, people, challenges, and innovations in your organization are really like. If you give them a glimpse of the inner workings, express your opinions boldly, and tell engaging stories, you will foster reader interest and loyalty. In a biography, both interviews and quotations usually are the most intriguing parts. Think of your company blog as a business biography. Personalize it with your unique thoughts and perspective.

3. MAKE IT PERSONAL.

Write about what you know. Draw from your expertise to tell the public about the finer points of your business. Detailing development ideas, setbacks, successes, and reactions reveals the human element and engages the reader. It’s fine to talk about new products and innovations, but blogs devoted mostly to marketing and promotion are the most boring and least popular of company blogs.

Make these topics more appealing to readers by framing such announcements with personal impressions and insights. Customers want to feel a kinship with the brand. Letting them in on the details of your business will make them feel part of your company culture and increase the chances of their lifetime loyalty.

4. UPDATE FREQUENTLY.

Once you have established a good reader base, offer new insights regularly to reward surfers for coming back. Not only does this offer more information and exposure, but it also reflects that your company is active and on top of things. Link to current articles from other sources to keep readers abreast of developments in your sector. A rarely updated blog feels stale and tired. This is not the reputation you want your company to have!

5. ADHERE TO COMPANY RULES.

You are personally responsible for whatever material you publish on your company blog. Respect the confidentiality of your organization and employees. Though you may express disagreements or concerns, do not make personal attacks or use the blog to air petty complaints. Do not reveal proprietary information; and avoid discussing revenue, share price, or other financial statistics.

Observe copyright law, and quote sources as you would in any other document. Make sure what you write in the company blog reflects the company’s goals. Keep in mind the goal of most company blogs is to increase visibility and promote the exchange of information. While most companies allow and encourage blogging on company time, you should avoid letting your writing time interfere with your regular workload.

6. WRITE GRAMMATICALLY.

Finally, make sure that what you write is grammatical. Your blog entries reflect your company’s image, and you want to give the best possible impression of the organization and its people. The Internet is rife with bad English. Though blogs tend to be relaxed in tone, it is also important to use standard English. Use a program like StyleWriter ( http://www.StyleWriter-USA.com ) or White Smoke ( http://www.WhiteSmokeSoftware.com ) to find and fix embarrassing grammar mistakes and help you write like a pro. As I have said in previous blog posts, there are also many free grammar, style, and spell-checkers available online (http://wp.me/p4wpJe-3I).

A blog is an excellent tool for promotion, communication, and information. The tips outlined here will help elevate your blog and generate traffic and interest. Good luck, and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging.

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7 Tips for Writing Well

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As an instructor of English and Business Communications, I am always telling my students that there are certain things they need to do each and every time they write ANYTHING. Not that any of them listen, but I try. Repetition is the key when teaching new concepts to students of any age. Here is what I recommend:

  1. Use Spell Checker: It doesn’t matter what you are writing, use a spell checker. Word has one built right into it. Those funny-colored squiggly underlines are there for a reason, either a word is spelled incorrectly, or used incorrectly. You can also copy and paste text into a free on-line spell checker, just Google “free spell checker”.
  2. Use Grammar Checker: Word also has a grammar checker built into the spell-checker. Use it! It will tell you if it thinks a word is used incorrectly, if something is written in wrong tense, style, or voice, and many other things. All you do is set it up the way you want it under File > Options > Proofing. Or, you can copy and past your text into a free on-line grammar checker, just Google “free grammar checker”. Some internet programs will both spell and grammar check your work at the same time.
  3. Read Your Written Work Out Loud. If your words sound wrong when you read your writing out loud, then there is usually something wrong with the way it is written. This is also a great habit to get into if you are writing speeches.
  4. Dictionary.com: If you don’t know what a word means, look it up. If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, use dictionary.com’s pronunciation feature which actually uses audio to let know how to correctly say any word. We all have smartphones and internet access, use them to your advantage.
  5. Don’t Be Lazy: Don’t turn in or publish a first draft of your work. Take your time, organize your thoughts, spell check and grammar check your work, and write a second draft.
  6. Don’t use texting shortcuts in written documents. Just don’t do it. Please. Texting shortcuts are for texting only.
  7. Capitalization and Punctuation. Use proper capitalization for names and proper nouns, ALWAYS capitalize “I”, and always check your punctuation.