By Brenna Lofquist, Senior Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

Writing is a skill you can always use and one you can continue to improve on. I know I am not the strongest writer when it comes to business and marketing related pieces so, I’ve been on a mission to improve my skills! You might remember a previous post I wrote on email writing tips but I have set out to learn even more.

There’s much more to think about when writing for marketing purposes compared to writing for yourself. Who is your target audience? What do you want them to do? What’s the tone of the message? And then when you add that you are writing for a client, that amplifies the difficulty. However, we aren’t going to get into that today.

In my attempt to improve my business and marketing writing, I have enrolled in Marketing Profs’ Marketing Writing Bootcamp and wanted to share four simple tips and tricks I thought were helpful and applicable to the writing I do as a marketer. I found most, if not all, of these writing tips relevant to the pieces I am writing which include mostly emails, blog posts, and social/ad copy. They are also applicable for longer pieces too however; those are the most common pieces for me.

Here are four tips I thought most helpful:

  1. Just write it down

This tip was not specifically from the Marketing Profs writing bootcamp however, I found it to be helpful. Often people get caught up in trying to write a catchy intro or thinking they can craft the perfect first draft but, your first draft is not going to be your final. I found it helpful to start writing and then go back and edit/refine as needed and to write the introduction last.

  1. Replace/avoid weak content

I am guilty of adding words/phrases into my writing I believe add emphasis but, it’s just fluff and does nothing for my writing. Keeping these next few tips in mind will help you to identify weak content.

Try to avoid using vague, useless modifiers such as “really,” “very,” and “literally.”

Avoid using “I believe,” or “I think.” It implies an opinion and can make the reader think what they are reading is invalid. Unless the piece you are writing is based purely on your opinion, try to use statistics, or quotes instead. I don’t run into this very often and it might be common sense, but you’d be surprised how often you see it in writing where it doesn’t belong.

Avoid using “that,” your writing flow can be much tighter when you cut it out. A rule of thumb mentioned in one of the sessions by Julia McCoy, founder and author of Express Writers, was to search for “that” in a document – if a sentence makes sense without it, cut it out.

  1. Create a strong flow

This tip coincides with the previous because we often add unnecessary words or phrases to try and beef up our writing but instead, it’s better to be direct and clear. You have a limited time to catch the reader’s attention, use it wisely.

Cut the filler. If you review a sentence and you can remove words and the sentence makes sense, then cut them out. For example, use this very sentence as an prime example of how and what to cut from your writing. The sentence has the same meaning but it’s clear and concise.

Use powerful words like action verbs and avoid weak adjectives. It doesn’t have to be a big word and you don’t need to spend time using a Thesaurus (although a great resource!). For example, she is blogging à she blogs.

This tip can be summed up into one – avoid verbosity. As I mentioned, your reader has limited time, don’t waste it with filler words, weak adjectives, and verbosity.

  1. Utilize grammar settings in Word

I was not aware of the vast settings available in Word until I listened to one of the Marketing Profs writing bootcamp sessions by Rochelle Broder-Singer, Editor and Writer for RB Editing & Writing.

One thing Rochelle talked about was maintain consistency in your writing such as using an Oxford comma or dashes. There are multiple correct ways to use punctuation and grammar but staying consistent and using one is key. Word can help you do this by adjusting the grammar settings to your preferences. I often work in Google docs however; I have started to draft documents in Word first to take advantage of these settings and then transfer the document into Google. Other examples to ensure consistency include company names, dates, and abbreviations.

In my version of Word, I clicked on the main File tab / Options / Proofing. There you will see all sorts of different settings.

While I still have more sessions to complete in the Marketing Writing Bootcamp, these were 4 quick and simple tips I have already started to incorporate into my writing. A few of these tips come a little easier and a few of them I must actively think about while writing but, with practice it will come easier.

People might think these tips are common sense but as someone who knows my writing skills can be improved upon, these were helpful to me and I know will be helpful for others! If you have writing tips or tricks that have helped you, I’d love to hear about them! As I continue to work through the writing bootcamp, I’ll keep you posted on anything else I find valuable.