6 Killer Writing Tips

December 18, 2008

If you write for a living, or you need to write as part of your job, you probably know what it’s like to feel isolated as you work. But there are some great writing communities online and hundreds of generous writers are happy to share their writing tips.

Whether you’re a freelance writer, a novelist, or you write to promote your business, you’re sure to pick up something useful among these 6 killer writing tips.

Kill Adjectives - The Right Way

Knowing when to kill adjectives from my writing has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Editing what you’ve written and wiping the little suckers out is easy enough. But when are you supposed to leave them in?

I asked Joanna Young the question and she gave me a great explanation on when to slay and when to spare adjectives. No matter what type of writing you do, if the adjectives thing confuses you too, you need to check out what Joanna has to say in: When Adjectives Are Necessary.

Create A Killer Character

Writing about the villain in a story can be tough. I struggled with it earlier this year. My villain was just too bad to be believable. In the real world, he’d never have got away with killing one person, never mind several. He was so mean that he’d be the number one suspect right away.

If you’re struggling with this type of writing too, Melissa Donovan shares some great tips in: How To Write A Complex Villain

Tell A Killer Business Story

Telling a story is a powerful way for your business to get your message across. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out Brad Shorr’s 5 Simple Storytelling Techniques and create a killer story for your business.

Become A Killer Freelance Writer

Want to get started in freelance writing but not sure where to start? Amy Derby shares some killer advice for freelance writers, in: Write What You Know And Sell It.

Killer Sales Tips For Freelance Writers

If you want to become a killer freelance writer, you’ve got to learn how to close the sale. John Hewitt shows you how to do this, in a few easy steps in: Successful Freelance Writers Know How To Close The Sale.

And if you’re looking for killer freelance writing jobs, you need to bookmark John’s Writing Jobs and Links page, which is updated regularly.

A Killer Way To Promote Your Book

Some writers do book tours to promote new books. But this can be costly and time consuming. Lillie Amman shares a killer way to promote your book - a blog book tour. She recently did a blog book tour to promote her new novel, Dream or Destiny and she shares how she did it, in a series, beginning with: Blog Book Tour Part 1 - What Is It?

Did you find these writing tips useful? Do you have any killer writing tips of your own to share?

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Image Credit: Randen Peterson

5 Business Writing Tips You Can Profit From

February 28, 2008

Business writing can be a fantastic way to make more sales. Whether you’re writing for your own business or copywriting for someone else, it’s one of most profitable ways to make money from words.

I expected business writing to be boring. In fact, I thought my last business had brought an end to my love affair with writing. No more writing fiction for pleasure at 4am in the morning – my whole day was dedicated to my business. But I soon discovered that business writing can be creative and it can also bring in amazing profits.

Five Things You Need To Know About Business Writing To Make Money

The Top Copywriters Earn Megabucks For a Reason: Not only do they need to be creative – copywriters also need to become a salesperson with a pen. And whilst you don’t need to be the best copywriter in the world to profit from your own business letters, you’ll save yourself heaps of time and money if you invest in a good copywriting book.

Put It In Your Own Words: You may be tempted to buy pre-written letters and adapt them for your business. But you’ll write a better letter if you use your own words. After all, you know your products and your customers better than anyone.

When I was a Rainbow International franchisee, they had their own prewritten letters. And the first one I read began something like: “A carpet is a thing of beauty”. Well, I couldn’t imagine saying such a thing – and I couldn’t see such a ridiculous statement appealing to my customers emotions. So the pre-written letter wound up in the bin.

Life Can Be Unpredictable – But You Can Overcome That:
It’s useful if your business letters, postcards and promotions reach your potential customer at a time when they actually need your services. But, unless your business is seasonal, you’re not always going to know when that will be.

My biggest money earner in my last business was flood restoration. And much of our work was dependent on weather – which is always unpredictable. So, I made sure we were in the right place at the right time by sending several different mailings to potential customers, one after the other. And when the rain came so did the customers.

My persistence resulted in dozens of jobs from businesses we’d never worked with before. This approach can work for you too – just be persistent.

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You That Direct Mailing Doesn’t Work:
“People in the know” used to tell me that writing to prospective customers alone doesn’t work. And what you need to do is call these people and also go out to see them regularly.

I can only assume those “people in the know” write letters that suck. I hate calling strangers as much as I hate receiving calls from businesses I’ve never dealt with. And although I do enjoy meeting people – my potential customers were spread all over the country. So visiting them all frequently would have been a never ending task.

Had I taken that route – I would have received a handful of jobs in the time it took me to get dozens.

Long Sales Letters Don’t Work For Everything:
Long sales letters are wonderful but they don’t work for every single product or service.

When deciding between a long letter and a short one, consider the amount of time the customer might be willing to invest in making a buying decision. For example, if they’re in the market for a financial product that costs a few thousand dollars, an 18 page sales letter may be your best bet. But, most people won’t spend a lot of time choosing a low cost product, so sometimes a postcard will be enough.

Do you profit from writing in your business? Do you have any tips to share? Or have you ran a mailing campaign that flopped? What went wrong?

Useful Resources

21 Amazing Business Writing Resources

20 Ways To Cut Your Words and Help To Save The Planet
Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques

Are Your Customers Reading Your Message?

February 15, 2008

From business letters, to web pages, blog posts and thank you notes; most businesses spend a heap of time writing. And unless you have a big budget, you’ll do most of the writing yourself. But, don’t get it wrong or your customer will switch off.

Some Basic Tips To Make Your Business Writing Readable

Brevity: Don’t write 2000 words when you can get your message across in a paragraph.

Jump Right In:
Your customers don’t have time to read a long introduction.

Ditch the Adverbs: Check out these sentences. Can you see why the “ly” words add no value to your writing?

Seemingly most people dislike reading long paragraphs.
This phone charger is absolutely useless.
It’s incredibly difficult to get people to subscribe to your blog.

Spelling And Grammar:
These common errors cause confusion.

Mixing up their, there and they’re.
Use them as follows:

They washed their car.
Wash your car over there.
They’re washing the car.

It’s and Its

It’s my dog. (it is)
The dog ate its dinner.

Keep Your Writing Simple: Don’t use fancy words for the sake of it. The following sentences mean the same but the second one is easier to read:

The bodacious woman wore an ostentatious dress, which was felicitious for the occasion.

The bold woman wore a fancy dress, which was apt for the occasion.

If you’d like to read the second part in the series of business writing tips, click here to subscribe in a reader.

And if you’d like extra help with your business writing, why not get a critique from Joanna Young at Confident Writing. Click here to see her special offer.

Do you struggle with your business writing? What mistakes do you notice in the writing of others? And do you have more tips to help others improve their business writing? Please share in the comments section.

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