5 Summer Tips to Make Your Business Materials Excel
It’s summer! Time to work on our tans, find a new sport, take a trip, fall back in love with grilled food, grab a good book, kick back, and learn new ways to improve our business writing. So in honor of that immortal tradition, here’s five quick tips to make your summer a success for your business materials.
1. Get active. Use the active voice in your writing. The passive voice sounds like this: “Our customers are provided with the best restyling services in the business.” Actions happen to the subject (“our customers”). The passive voice sounds formal and professional, but it’s also unnatural and boring, and your customers will be unimpressed. Try this instead: “We provide our customers with the best restyling services in the business.” Now the subject (“we”) is doing the action. It’s more natural and interesting—and still sounds professional. See? Quick and easy. How fun is this, right?
2. Improve your image(s). Take a close look at your images. Are they neatly cropped? Is it clear? How are the brightness and contrast levels? Anything in the image that’s distracting? Make sure your images are all neatly aligned on the page. Even little changes can make a big difference!
3. Shed the fat. Brevity is gold. Eliminate every word that doesn’t add meaning. Your writing will become crisper, cleaner, and easier to read.
4. Get (re)organized. Poorly organized content is incredibly frustrating for customers because you’re making them do all the work of figuring out your product or service. And it makes your company seem disorganized and bumbling. Restructuring your content can wipe out a lot of customer frustration and make your company appear smart, professional, and well-run. What’s the first thing your customer will want to know? What’s most important? Do the headings and sub-heading groupings make sense? Usually your content should flow from general to specific.
5. Take a break. Think you’re done? Wait a day. Come back tomorrow and read through your material again. Bet you’ll find lots to fix.Need help improving your materials? Bill Kerschbaum has over a decade of experience working with publishers, small businesses, and researchers. Email him for details.
Photo credit: Reg Mckenna
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