12 Tips To Greatly Improve Your Writing Skills
Here are a few golden nuggets from Ted Nicholas’ phenomenal book, Billion Dollar Marketing Secrets. Ted was a legendary copywriter who sold more than $400 million dollars worth of products, mostly through direct advertising. In Ted’s later years he provided his writing skills once again by adapting them to online marketing. You can find more information about Ted Nicholas and his products here.
1. Outline what you want to say before writing a word.
An outline will greatly help you clarify your thoughts and save you time in the long run.
2. Create powerful headlines and sub-headlines prior to preparing the body.
Most bloggers do not spend nearly enough time on headlines. Readers must be captivated by your headline.
“The sole purpose of a headline is to target the person you want to reach and to sell them on wanting to know more.” ~Peter Sun~
Your headline has to grab the readers’ attention and entice them to read more. Without a powerful headline, no one will get far enough to see your dynamite copy.
- Use the word “free” in your headline.
- Use a large font for your headline.
- The larger the headline the more attention-grabbing the impact.
- Use both upper and lower case letters in your headlines – do not use all caps.
- Never put a period at the end of a headline, do not punctuate headlines except in the case of a question.
After you have what you think are good headlines, put the work away for a day or two. Then go back to it with a fresh eye to “cull the herd” – edit out the weak ones and build on the strong ones
Keep rewriting until you come up with the headline that you think will work.
The key to your ideal headline is to write, write, and keep writing. Eventually, that genius headline will pop out at you.
Save some headlines you don’t use to plug in as sub-headlines. This will save you time in the long run.
3. Write your first draft as quickly as possible without worrying about being perfect.
Write fast and furious, disregard spelling and punctuation on your first draft. Get your thoughts down before they escape you.
4. If you have the time and are not fighting a deadline, leave a week or two for the editing and rewriting process.
Each time you rewrite, your copy/ blog post will get better.
5. The first step is to eliminate each and every unnecessary word.
This includes most adjectives and adverbs.
Make your writing as lean as possible. But here is the ideal, write just long enough so your message is complete.
6. Start Strong. Finish strong.
Rewrite your first sentence and last paragraph. They are crucially important.
The real secrets of great writing Tip:
A good technique for a finish to any piece of work is a brief and exciting summary.
7. Use a single idea in each sentence.
Do not use two, three, or more as to most writers. The exception is in a headline where you can use up to three related ideas.
8. Make promises that cause strong emotions
Then prove them with supporting facts.
9. Use mostly short words
75% should be five letters or fewer.
10. Use short sentences
75% should be less than 17 words.
11. Use short paragraphs
Five sentences or fewer.
Vary the paragraph length. similar length paragraphs and sentences can bore the reader. Sprinkle in a few one-word paragraphs.
12. Let your work breathe between rewrites.
Put your work down for at least a day and let it rest. Your next rewrite will significantly improve. When you start the editing process read your copy out loud or better yet have someone else read it to you. This tests tone, flow, and persuasiveness, You will always be able to improve copy by reading out loud,
As you incorporate these 12 tips in your writing, I know you will be delighted and your readers’ will be too. If you enjoyed these 12 tips and want more, you might be interested in getting your hands on the copywriting handbook entitled “Billion Dollar Marketing Secrets” by Ted Nicholas.