It’s not just your chakras that need to be realigned. Maybe your commitment to writing great texts is too.
You have already drunk your two liters of water. You’ve cleaned up your timeline. You took all the Christmas presents you hate from the charity store (such a good person). What about the resolution to stop making the same old mistakes with your content?
Re-evaluate your writing and apply some self-help guru tips.
Stop being so passive
“You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people panic, ”says Jen Sincero in her book You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.
Anyone would think that people escape life sentences by covering their backs with “can” and “have”. The passive voice is so often used out of fear, helping the author (or brand) to avoid responsibility and blame.
The passive voice makes readers uncomfortable. What is the writer trying to hide? Rewriting a passive copy takes courage and conviction. Of course, this may require more research to substantiate, but it’s for the best as it allows you to cut out anything that “may” and “might” clog your copy.
How do you know if you are writing in a passive voice? Apply Josh Bernoff’s zombie test: if you can add “by zombies” after the verb and it still makes grammatical sense, then it is a passive voice (for example, “attention must be paid by zombies ”).
Commit to scrutinizing the statistics
“Now that you have a new, clear intention, say it out loud throughout the day. When you wake up in the morning, set your intention with conviction. By remaining committed to your positive intentions, you will begin to feel the energy of the universe supporting you, ”explains Gabrielle Bernstein in her book, The Universe Has Your Back: How to Feel Safe and Trust Your Life, whatever happens.
It’s so easy to turn a statistic into an infographic or report when it easily supports the story we’re telling. But do the numbers really add up?
Content marketing loves statistics. Still, it’s important to scrutinize the methodology behind them. What is the source? Is the study sound? What is the sample size? Is it up to date? 50 opinions of workers before Covid do not speak for the UK workforce today.
If we’re going to use data to back up our arguments, that requires integrity.
Clean up your act
“Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess?” You are responsible for your interior space; no one else is, just as you are responsible for the planet, ”writes Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.
What part of your copy could be cut? If what you are saying is important, be brief.
Showcase your writing and grab your reader’s attention. You can fill in the gaps later; don’t be interesting and you won’t get the chance.
Say what you want to say and say it boldly. And think about whether you really need to say it in prose; bullets, tables, or graphs might be the most effective way to land the point.
“Authentic communication is the first step in turning special relationships into holy relationships,” adds Alan Cohen in his book, A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Love.
Any half-decent content writer knows he has to think about his client and try to figure out how he works in order to write persuasively. But what do you want your customer to think of you?
The lasting impression is the residue that sticks. Our writing can change the reader (he knows something he didn’t know before) and that might make him do something (upload a report), but how will our writing serve an ongoing relationship? For example, maybe the lasting impression is one that makes them think we’re believable and trustworthy, so they’ll come back to our content the next time they’re bothered a bit.
By determining up front what kind of relationship we want to have with our reader, we can write in a style that is much more likely to be effective in achieving this.
May 2022 be the year your content marketing shines. Of course love yourself, but also love your writing – for the good of all of us. Namaste.
Colin Gentry, Content Manager at Earnest.