Writing is a skill that takes practice, but it’s also a skill that can be instantly upgraded by learning a few simple tips. Here's a list of actionable items that will help any writer up their game.
1. Avoid Jargon
Jargon is a form of technical language that many writers use to try and make their writing sound more sophisticated. The problem is, when you're trying to explain something, jargon can get in the way of your audience's ability to understand what it is you're trying to say.
Don't make your readers work harder than they need to by thinking up an alternative way of saying something that doesn't involve using jargon. You should also avoid using overly complex words and phrases if there are simpler ones available; for example, instead of writing "significantly improve," write "improve."
2. Use Short Sentences
If you want to keep the reader engaged, it's best to stick with shorter sentences with fewer than 30 words that focus on just one idea.
When writing in this way, it can be helpful to strip away qualifiers like "I think," "I feel," and "should we consider." Instead of writing:
"This paper is about how I believe we should approach the topic at hand."
"This paper will argue that..."
3. Replace Adjectives with Data
The next time you're writing, ask yourself: "Is there a way I can replace this word with data?" If so, do it. It will make your writing more clear and concise.
In many cases, adjectives are empty boasts that add nothing to your message—they're just there to sound impressive. For example, instead of saying "This market is incredibly dynamic," say something like "The average number of daily transactions has increased by 20%." The former makes me feel like I'm being talked down to in a condescending manner; whereas the latter helps me understand what's happening in the market without feeling intimidated by jargon or buzzwords (which can detract from authority).
4. Use a Simple Sentence Structure
In order to keep things simple, use subject-verb-object sentences rather than an independent clause with only a subject and a verb. The subject is “who” or “what” you are writing about. The verb tells the reader what the subject did or will do. The object describes who or what was acted upon by the action of the sentence (also called direct objects).
Example: Instead of starting a sentence with a prepositional phrase, such as “After I finished my homework,” try writing something like “I finished my homework.”
5. Tell Your Readers What You Want Them To Do
When prompting readers for a response, be specific about what you want them to do. The more precise and direct your call-to-action is, the more likely it is that readers will respond in a way that benefits both of you—and helps you make money (or get more traffic or whatever else matters to you).
- Do you want them to purchase now?
- What do you want them to purchase?
- When will it be delivered?