27 Writing, Editing Tips for Better Content

I picked this up over the weekend, and it contains so many good tips I have to give it the Monday reblog. If you’re looking to improve your blog or website content, this is a must-read.

StoryCroft

We talk a lot about storytelling and content in business communications, marketing, websites and social media. The conversation is often about the Big Picture, and that’s important, of course. But strategies and UX studies won’t help us if our content isn’t as good as it can be.

Even the little things can turn people off.

If you want your content consumed, understood and shared, here are 27 things you must never do.

 

 

1. Never start a communications project without knowing what you’re trying to say, to whom and why. Talk it out.

2. Never oversell. In headlines and links, don’t promise too much excitement or information. (Nobody likes click bait.) In text, avoid overused adjectives like “amazing,” exclamation points and all-caps.

3. Never assume people already know what you’re sharing about. Or where your photo was shot. Or why they should keep watching your video.

4. Never be…

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April A to Z Day 4: Diction

Diction is a fancy term for word choice and phraseology.

It’s an important element of writing, because your diction affects the tone and flow of your writing. If you want to see what I mean, take a chapter from The Lord of the Rings and compare it to a chapter from Game of Thrones.

Your diction should be a matter of conscious choice, because it affects how your audience judges your work (I’m thinking of adjectives like pretentious, arrogant, genuine, melodramatic, honest, etc.)

Click for A-Z blog list

Click for A-Z blog list

Unless I have some specific purpose that requires a different mode of diction, I try and stick to everyday language, avoid clichés, and be careful with phrases that offend for no good reason (for example, I never say “you throw like a girl” unless I put it into the mouth of an adolescent boy or a sexist adult).

That’s because every piece of writing I produce is an appeal to someone. For the most part, I want my writing to come across as an attempt at conversation. I want it to give the (honest) impression that I’m real; that I don’t stand on formality; and that I respect everyone, both as human beings and as individuals with their own perspectives.

I try not to talk like a theorist unless I’m talking to theorists, and I try not to use formal diction unless I’m writing a formal paper. Here’s an early attempt of mine to blog about theoretical social media stuff without sounding like a theorist. I don’t think I succeeded. This one, which I wrote to share how I learned to use Twitter with people who are starting from scratch like I did, is much more readable.

image from Mindstirmedia.com, pinned by Part Time Monster

 

You might want to see this.

I have a confession to make. I have no idea just how much my community here overlaps with Sourcerer’s audience. I’m posting a link to Sourcerer here tonight because I had an experience today that I find very interesting, and I want to be sure all my lovely peeps see it. This is a response to another blogger who completely mischaracterized one of my posts from earlier in the week because they disagree with my political position.

I’m proud of it for several reasons. First of all, I could have been all angry about it and over-the-top, but instead, I decided to be kind, and I do feel that I am genuinely kind here. Also, I wrote it in about an hour, which is record time for me on a post like this. And the rhetoric is good. Very, very good.

There is a political issue at play here, but the post is not about pressing the political point. It’s about insisting that evidence-based arguments be backed up with actual evidence, and about being honest with your criticism. I should warn you, the person I am responding to is a troll; but I am pretty sure that the trolling is unintentional, that they are sincere in their beliefs, and they just don’t understand how grown-up, civilized discourse works. That is why I was so nice about the whole thing.

http://sourcererblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/i-do-not-think-that-means-what-you-think-it-means/

Edit – I’m thinking I can take this incident and tell it as a story in a post with embedded tweets and other goodness. Make it interesting and dramatic. Maybe include a funny image or a video. Have it ready to go in time to send to @MondayBlogs. What about that?

Update, MAR 7 – DefyTheNarrative responded to me this morning and removed the link to Sourcerer from his post. I’ve decided not to do a post about this for Monday, and I also decided against retweeting the link to this post from Sourcerer’s account. I’ll have one more remark or two about all this at Sourcerer later this afternoon, and after that, I’ll be ready to move on, assuming everyone else does the same.