One easy tip for producing non-crap digital copy

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Crappy digital copy? This’ll fix that.

A lot of the digital copy out there is badly written. Okay – a lot of it is crap. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that well-planned, well-structured, reader-friendly and carefully proofed text pretty much guarantees higher conversion. Plus, it nicely distinguishes one online voice from another.

What does this mean for us, the writers, comms people or content creators?

It means we can’t forget that we are salespeople and try to be performers. We can’t abandon sales to seek applause. We can’t angle for laughs, choose form over...

Why does writing even matter if you’re a business-person?

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Writing matters because every manifestation of your professional brand, except for what comes out of your mouth, requires writing.

There’s writing everywhere

Think about it: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Your blog. Your website. And, if you’re a small business owner, your marketing material. All of these require words from you – otherwise there’s nothing to put in them. Nothing to populate them with. And the content of all of these different profiles need to be written well: cleanly, powerfully and compellingly. Otherwise, what’s the point?

So, writing’s a big deal. Whether your business is services- or product-based. Whether you’re...

Crafting strategic messages

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This is your message.

Everyone who writes wants to write strategically, right? To craft a message that achieves its desired outcomes and that the recipient finds easily readable.

The problem is that we talk too much about strategy and not enough about messaging. What I mean is, if the message is the needle, the writing is the haystack, which hides the needle. You have to dig, delve, dive in…

And even then, no needle.

I’d like us, as people who write stuff, to become more focused on messaging and to worry about strategy afterwards. A 1960s copywriter, Shirley Polykoff, said...

The Writer’s Catwalk: 8 tips for improving your style and tone

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Good style and tone can have a dramatic effect on your copy.

Voice, style and tone are to writers as fabric, stitches and scissors are to clothing designers. And, like them, we’re also slaves to fashion – the fashion of language.

Defining the materials

Tone: The feeling or sound of your writing e.g. polite, irreverent or friendly

Style: The way in which a piece is written – based on word choices, grammar and language

Working the catwalk

It’s important to be aware of the style and tone you’re using in your writing so that you can adjust it to fit different...

FAQ: Apostrophes to pluralise acronyms

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Q: Is this right? The apostrophe on the acronym looks funny. But I don’t know how else to punctuate it… ‘Our company helps SMME’s to develop into fully independent companies.’

A: No, it isn’t. We don’t use apostrophes to make acronyms into plurals. It’s SMMEs. BUT another problem is that the ‘s’ should be small, and your text is all in caps. So now what?