One thing all entrepreneurs have in common is that we seek to influence others through our writing. We’re constantly asking ourselves:
- How can I speak to the needs, drives, and longings of my potential clients?
- How can I convince people that my products and services will greatly benefit them?
- How can I convince my clients that they need the services I provide?
- What strategies will win people to a new point of view?
- What can I do so that people thirst for something better?
- What is the most persuasive way to communicate my message?
Writing for impact is both a skill and an art. If we want to influence others, we can’t just “wing it.” Our writing can’t be something we just throw together with the lame hope that something good will come of it. At White Hat Matt we consider these 5 elements essential for writing with impact:
To contemplate means to consider, mull over, reflect on, and think about. We often rush this step when writing. We get an idea and pluck it off the tree like unripe fruit. Instead of letting it mature in our minds, we blurt out a partly thought-out idea. It’s only “half-baked.”
Take time to let your idea incubate. Mind map or brainstorm your idea. Look at it from every angle. Devote enough time to let a good idea develop into a great one. You’ll know when your idea is ripe enough to pluck. Remember that you want your idea to have an impact on anyone who gets the chance to hear it.
2. Be Concise
Keep your writing tight. Use words sparingly. Technology has groomed us to expect speed and brevity. When someone drones on, we get bored and antsy. We lose interest.
“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” (William Strunk, Jr., co-author of The Elements of Style.)
3. Be Clear
Without clarity, people will not understand what you’re saying. How tragic to send a piece of copy or post a blog that leaves readers wondering what was said! Avoid fancy, obscure, or ambiguous words. We’re not trying to impress others with our vocabulary. We want to communicate clearly.
When writing, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Read and reread what you’ve written. Read the piece aloud. How clear is it? A bit foggy? Or crystal clear? Ask your spouse or someone else to read what you’ve written. Request them to give you honest feedback.
4. Be Creative
Let your creativity flow, but let conciseness and clarity tame your creativity. We want to be clever, but not so clever as to be confusing. Our writing should never be dry, dull, or boring! When we write, we don’t want to lead our readers up a colorless stairwell, but to the glorious heights of a mountain meadow.
With creativity, we make our reading fun and give the reader a glimpse into who we are. Creativity in our writing reveals our passions and our humanness. This attracts others to us. Creativity endears us to others because through it we become vulnerable. And vulnerability gives others a reason to trust us.
5. Be Compelling
Our writing may display all the other qualities and still lack the element that evokes action. What we write must be compelling. Nearly any writing seeks to persuade.
Is there an action your reader should take? How clear is the action? Are they compelled to take that action?
Think about this: we can write something we’re proud of. We’ve put a lot of thought into it and it’s clear, concise, and creative. But unless it’s compelling, it’s just fluff. It may be “tasty,” but lacking in any “nourishment.”
How can this piece of writing challenge or change your reader’s life? In what way will their situation improve by what you’ve told them? Our writing must compel our readers to action.
Writing is a primary tool of the entrepreneur. We write to inform, convince, entertain, persuade, and prompt others to action. We all want our writing to impact others positively (though we should avoid being sleazy). And when these 5 elements permeate everything we write, we know we’re writing for impact!