New thinking

How to win friends with words

You don’t need big words to impress people.

In fact, the opposite is true when it comes to business communications.

To engage people, you need to:

  • Choose words that work for your target audiences
  • Be concise; the most powerful sentences have less than ten words
  • Write something that your audiences actually need to read

Digital content, printed publications, internal or external communications, the same rules apply to all media.

But it’s not quite as easy as that. There are a few more things you need to think about to get it right.

Here are five tips to make your words go further:

  1. Know your readers

Understand your audiences – your employees, targets, customers, suppliers and investors. What words do they use? What language do they respond to? Are they native-English speakers? Don’t make assumptions. Learn about your readers and show you understand, and empathise with them.

  1. Keep it simple

Even the most dry and complex information can be transformed into highly readable content. Break up long paragraphs into bite-size chunks. Avoid overly-complicated sentences. Use bullets and sub-headings. Strip content of jargon and abbreviations. Tell a story and make it super-easy to follow.

  1. Pay attention to tone of voice

Content loses impact when the tone of voice doesn’t fit your brand or audiences. From an email to a thought leadership article, word selection and punctuation can engage or repel readers in an instant. Take time to perfect your tone and be consistent.

  1. Don’t be a robot

There is a trend in content to write in a neutral tone at all times, devoid of feeling and personality. While this works in some cases, such as presenting government information, it bores the pants off readers who want a little more flavour about what your company is doing. Keep it human.

  1. Get expert help

Writing about yourself is never easy. It’s the same when writing about your business. It’s easy to lose sight of the reader when writing about products, services and company developments, especially when under pressure with deadlines. Working with a specialist writer or editor can provide fresh impetus. An expert will ensure your words are relevant, interesting and engaging.

What you say and how you say it, online and in print, can have a huge effect on your business. Get it right and you’ll create a strong bond with your audiences, gain influence, win business and build brand loyalty. Get it wrong and you will alienate the very people you want to reach, damage your company reputation and lose business.

A specialist writer can give you the words you need to enhance your brand and help you win friends in the right places.