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How it’s written matters, whether you’re building a business, nonprofit, or personal brand. Bad writing affects your professional image just as much as a misspelled sign, dirty tables in a diner, ignoring customer phone calls, even rudeness. In fact,  you show a lack of respect for your audience/customers/donor base when what goes out from your organization is not written with care. Busy people have no time for bad writing.

Good writing removes barriers to your message and engages hearts and minds.

Educated people tend to think they can write because they are educated. After all, they got through college and got decent grades on all those papers, didn’t they? Big difference between satisfying your sociology prof and writing to attract people who don’t know yet that they should care about what you have to say.

For starters: If it’s loaded with prepositional phrases and passive verbs, it’s not good writing. (If you don’t know what those are, you might want to find out.) If it’s redundant, it’s not good writing. If there are run-on sentences, it’s not good writing. If it’s full of industry jargon because that’s what you think of as professional, you’re wrong. If it makes people stop in midsentence because they aren’t sure what you mean, you’re gonna lose them. Littering your copy with exclamation points won’t get readers excited, either. Your writing needs to do that.

It’s gotta sparkle. It’s gotta pull them along without them thinking about it. I’ve heard actors praised when “you can’t catch them acting.” In other words, Meryl Streep portrays the character so well you forget you’re watching her act. She carries you into that person, into the story. Maybe this is one reason why people don’t realize the value of good writing. It become transparent, carrying you straight to the message.

Just like in graphic design, if you want something professional and you’re not trained, hire a professional. That being said, it irks me that writing is being devalued. So many people in business expect that they can pay $5 or less per blog post to a professional writer. That’s sweat shop pay. Others, trying to economize, let just anything go out of their office as long as there are no blatant typos. Makes me cringe.

Mediocre writing communicates something, but believe me, it’s not something good.

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