Switch places with the reader - Deepstash

Switch places with the reader

As a content producer, the idea is that your text will serve those who read it, not yourself. So before you start writing, look at the topic you are going to write about from the point of view of your target audience. Ask yourself:

  • What experience does this text create in the reader? 
  • What questions can readers have? 
  • Am I making the reader go to great lengths to understand what I mean?  

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MORE IDEAS FROM How to Write Better: 7 Tips from Best Seller Ann Handley

Content Marketing

When we talk about Content Marketing, we think about a lot: planning, optimization, posting frequency, results. Many people forget, however, that the basis of good content is still good writing.

Content is any means by which you communicate with people interested in your products or services. 

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The start of a sentence should make a friendly impression on the speaker, encouraging him to continue reading. The tip is to eliminate unnecessary terms from the beginning of sentences.

Phrases to avoid at the beginning of sentences: 

  • “In my opinion
  • According to… 
  • It is necessary/essential / suggested that… 
  • I believe that… 
  • The purpose of this email/post/article…  

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Assume that your reader doesn’t know anything, but never that he is stupid.

The ideas you write should be clear and easy to understand. This thought is in line with item 1 of this post since clarity of view is often followed by the clarity of writing. Empathizing with the reader also helps to write more understandably.

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If you do Content Marketing, this tip sounds very familiar. Instead of selling to the reader, the idea is to convince them how your product or service solves problems for the target audience.

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If you set out to talk about a topic you don’t know, you must research and think about it a lot. Otherwise, the text is forced and full of information gaps. This phase is called think before ink. Ask these questions before starting to write: 

  • What is my purpose with this text? 
  • What is my point of view on this matter? 
  • Why does this matter to the people I seek to impact?  

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Ann Handley

“Writing matters more now, not more minor. Our words are our emissaries; they tell our customers who we are.”

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Set a daily goal for your writing, especially if you are working on a large project. 

If you need to write 5,000 words, divide the amount by the number of days available to finish the job.

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  •  Avoid jargon, clichés, and buzzwords that say little. 
  • A thesaurus can help you get to the exact word you are looking for. 
  • Jargon is a term that means what you mean, not what you think it means.

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What celebrated writers can teach us

George Orwell thought a good sentence means trimming as many words as possible, Virginia Woolf found power in verbs, and Baldwin desired 'a sentence as clean as a bone.'

We can learn from celebrated writers that a good sentence is plain, undecorated and visible. It gets its power from the tension between the ease of its phrasing and the surprise of its thought. Each added word reduces alternatives and narrows the reader's expectations. But up to the last word, the writer can throw a curveball.

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Write like you speak

First, think about how you might explain a topic to your friend:

  • What words and phrases would you use?
  • How would you position your opinion?
  • What tidbits or examples would you lean on to get your point across?

For example, instead of writing, “Here are six homemade dog treat recipes,” you could say, “Let’s look at six different homemade dog treat recipes because, let’s be honest, our four-legged friends deserve a variety of treats.”

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