With the hustle and bustle of back to school, and getting those last minute projects completed before winter comes, I thought this would be the perfect time to reintroduce some great writing tips. Sharpen your pencils, grab your white out and put on your thinking cap, school is back in session!

Find your voice

Most writers have trouble creating their signature style, or voice, and applying it to different types of marketing materials. Obviously writing a thesis requires different techniques and more formal language, but most of the material used in marketing or advertising is informative, direct, informal, and mostly conversational. Just like most things in life, keep it simple. Write like you talk. Your audience will identify with you more if you keep it conversational rather than approach them essay style.

Know your audience

Once you’ve established your voice, you can talk to anyone! However, it is important to know who you are talking to, it helps both you and the audience understand one another. Not to mention, the more background information you know, the more you’ll sound like an expert and a trustworthy source for knowledge about industry news.

Exercise your body and mind

Have a small notepad on or near you at all times. Even when you think you’ve shut down, your brain is still subconsciously working through problems. Exercising only increases your brain’s thinking power, so whether you take a stroll around the block, do sit-ups in your living room or pump some iron, ideas will be free-flowing—plus, as an added bonus, you’ll get in great shape!

Not only does your body need exercise, but also your mind. Read everything and anything, whether it is quantum physics or the Sunday comics, it all gets absorbed into your “hard drive.” Even if you don’t understand it, your brain will work through it and tuck it away for later use. Reading outside of your comfort zone will only make you a better writer and enhance your critical thinking skills.

Grammar, grammar and grammar

I know this may seem elementary, but knowing grammar and basic spelling is so crucial in today’s electronic world and reputation is everything. Even if you need to create a cheat sheet to know the difference between “there,” their” and “they’re” do it! Proofread, read it out loud and have someone else read your work, (you’d be surprised how quickly your brain auto-corrects itself when reviewing your own work). As long as the end piece is polished and grammatically correct, who cares how you got there.

Be specific, concise and show your work

Breaking up your information in quick, easy to read blurbs is read more by readers and it helps them digest information when broken down in sections. This way, if someone is reviewing or scanning for a particular piece of information, they can easily reference your section heads. Be sure to include specific dates, times, location, and directions for your own events but for external events as well. If you are recommending your audience to an external source, make sure it will be worth their time and easy to navigate.

Again, this may sound redundant, but give credit where credit is due. If you don’t own a piece of work, make sure you can use it (e.g. images from Google) and that you reference the original author or artist. You can’t be an expert on everything, and that’s okay! Referencing other articles enhances your statement, and it shows an independent third party’s opinion without seeming overly pushy.

In general, try not to compare your writing to others, as everyone has a different style of conveying information. Try to be the best writer you can by always looking to improve. Whether it’s taking a workshop, having your work critiqued by a peer in your field or simply having a conversation, everyone has room for improvement. Make a commitment this fall to find your voice and start writing great content!

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