Three Biggest Writing Tips for New Writers (and Non-Writers)

Overseeing Content and Copy, I work with a lot of new writers. 

And every time I review their writing, my editing feedback is usually focused on bringing them back to three major skills they need to grasp before learning higher-level writing skills. We write and re-write for these three things over and over until it becomes automatic.

These things are foundational in marketing writing, yet most recent grads with English and Communications degrees from top universities haven’t masted them yet. In fact, I usually cringe if I find out someone’s an English major, because they’re harder to train (or “break,” like a wild mustang who thinks they’re Hemingway). 

It’s important for business leaders to remember these three things when evaluating their own content, but even more important for salespeople and SDRs who are constantly communicating with their ideal customers or clients. 

If you want your writing to help you SELL, then focus on doing these three things first. 

  1. Write How Your Audience Talks (within reason)

This got drilled into me as a young TV news reporter. 

Anchors and reporters purposely use conversational language, because if they used perfect grammar, they wouldn’t sound natural to their audience. The formality would make them come across as “pompous.” 

The same happens to businesses when they use too much lingo, perfect grammar, or fancy words to make themselves “sound smart.” I doubt your audience uses perfect grammar when speaking, and they’re not impressed by fancy words. 

If you’re REALLY focused on the grammar in your external-facing copy, then you’re expending energy on the wrong thing. Focus on talking to your audience like you’d talk to a neighbor or a friend who knows nothing about your business.

  1. Forget about What You Want

It’s about what your audience desires or fears. 

Being a reporter also made me focus my writing on this every day because they always made us “write for the ratings.” And if you want good ratings, you need to know what your audience wants and fears. If you don’t focus your conversation on those things, then your audience will tune you out. 

Sure, you want to engage, you want to get leads, you want to sell stuff. But if you’re focused on that and not on how what you sell intersects with what your audience desires or fears, then you won’t sell anything at all. Which leads me to … (See, it’s not grammatically correct but more conversational for me to start that phrase with “which.”)

  1. Stop Trying Too Hard

Stop trying to “get the lead” or “make the sale” and just focus on being present with your audience and making a genuine connection. 

You can’t get the lead or make the sale without making a connection first; that’s step one. So, why focus on step five or six if you don’t know how to do step one? 

Figure out how to connect and engage with your ideal audience first. When you have that down, you’ll know it, and then you can figure out how to move them from “aware and engaged” to “interested and evaluating.”

Besides, audiences can smell desperation … kinda’ like your kids: when you REALLY want them to do something and they know it, they’ll go the other way. 

Just relax and have fun with your audience. Then, like a moth to a flame, they’ll come to you.