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Strategic Writing: Cut the BS

Strategic Writing: Cut the BS

Did you know that there are different types of writing? You may have heard of a few like creative writing, professional writing, or academic writing, but what about strategic writing? While it might be a new type of writing for you, it's actually one that you are probably already using to an extent. Let's take a closer look:

What is strategic writing?

Basically, it’s goal-oriented writing. I know you may be saying, “Isn’t that what all writing is?” and in some ways, you would be right, but it’s different when you acknowledge and establish the goal you are trying to achieve.

With strategic writing, everything you create has a goal. Blogs, emails, social posts, signs, flyers—all of these have a goal that they are trying to achieve. Some might have the same, larger goal, like promoting your products or services, while others have a different, smaller goal, like teaching your customers how to keep their flowers looking fresh.

Okay, so everything has a goal, but how do I figure out the goal?

This is a great question and one that is actually the first step when writing strategically. When you utilize goal-oriented writing, you have to figure out the goal. This is actually fairly simple and you can figure it out with just one question. “What do I want my audience to do, think, or feel after reading this?” By putting yourself in the shoes of your audience, you can gain perspective on what you want to accomplish with that particular piece of writing.

So, how do I do this?

We’re glad you asked! Here are 7 tips to help you start writing strategically:

Challenge ‘to be’ verbs

It’s time to square up against all the ‘to be’ verbs like am, is, was, were, be, being, been, etc. While these have their place in writing, they can add unnecessary fluff to your materials, making them sound long-winded and boring.

Original: If you have been using Instagram in the past year, you will have noticed that they have added a feature to their platform known as Instagram Stories or Instastories.

Edit: Instagram's newest and coolest feature is Stories!

Use active voice

This is a big one to remember. When you use passive voice, it can make you sound disinterested, timid, and detached. But with active voice, you sound strong, confident, and to the point. It sounds like you are involved in the conversation and want to be there, which translates to your customers that you care.

Challenge modifiers

Don’t prop up your words. Modifiers can be useful in some places, but they can also act as a crutch to your words and can be an unnecessary distraction from your main point. Be clear and concise and get rid of modifiers when needed.

Example: We are very happy to announce that we’re introducing FOUR brand new wedding pages for your website!

As seen in the example, the sentence is grammatically correct, but the modifiers give it unnecessary fluff. By taking out or switching a few words, the message becomes much clearer.

Example: We are excited to announce that we’re introducing FOUR new wedding pages for your website!

Challenge long words

Please no supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Using long words is sometimes necessary, but they can create confusion and make it difficult to understand the point you are trying to make. If you can use a shorter word in its place, replace the long word. It will go a long way in helping your readers understand the message you are trying to convey to them.

Avoid cliches

Not only are they overused and tired, but cliches can also make you seem insincere. Make sure you are being as sincere and original as possible.

Focus on the reader

While this may seem like a given, it’s easy to get caught up and not focus on the reader. When writing, make sure that it’s meaningful to the reader and is relevant to their needs. This will go a long way in ensuring that they continue to read and potentially take the action you want them to.

Read aloud when done

We cannot stress this enough: please proof everything. Read it aloud, whisper it, have someone else read it, whatever you need to do to ensure that it is mistake-free. Having grammatical errors makes it seem like you don’t care enough to check. So be sure to proofread everything you create.

Writing strategically is something that you can start doing now! Try the tips above and see how they help improve your writing!

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