Check out any online newspaper these days and you’re almost guaranteed to find another celebrity has felt compelled to post a photo which shows them doing something really interesting. Like breathing. Cries of ‘Photoshop!’ follow quicker than you can say Kardashian. But, so what if they’ve indulged in a little image trickery? Editing is nothing new, but the trick is to make it look natural.
Business owners sometimes feel compelled to share most in-depth details of their impressive selection of widgets with their customers. All fine and good, but how do you make it sound exciting and, above all, professional? The answer is simple. Edit! Edit! Edit!
Are you talking to me?
Know your audience so you can set the right tone. ‘Our guys will make your garden look blooming fantastic’ is good website copy, but not ideal if you’re pitching for a gardening contract. ‘Our team of groundsmen will ensure your lawns are professionally maintained’ is much more suitable.
Cut to the chase
Trim unnecessary words where possible so your message is immediately apparent. ‘The official launch of this latest version of our product will begin with it being available for sale in-store from Wednesday, 1st October’ will exhaust your reader. ‘Available in-store from 1st October’ sounds better, looks better.
It’s all about ‘You’
Write as though you’re talking to your customer, using ‘you’ to involve them in the conversation. Look at the topic from their point of view, writing about what’s important to them. ‘I have organised for a replacement to be sent out this week’ doesn’t connect with the customer half as much as ‘You will receive your replacement next week’ .
Actions speak louder than words
Use words that imply action and use the active voice. ‘Your application for the job was put before a panel and was subsequently submitted to management’ has new life breathed into it when written as ‘We reviewed your application and immediately submitted it management’.
Spot the typo
Good writing is free of mistakes. Spellcheck alone won’t save you from a glaring error, so proofread carefully. Check formatting for consistency, using spacing and headings to make your writing easy on the eye.
Step away from the vehicle
When you’ve written your first draft, leave it. Take a break and do something else. Then come back and read it as though you’re the customer. Does it make sense? Did you find out all you needed to know about what, why, where and how?
Editing is a real skill and, like anything else, it takes practice. Try today’s tips and see for yourself how they can more effectively help you communicate with your customers.