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Golden Rules for Writing

Golden Rules for Writing
By: Sonali Raval, Writer at Work, MBA

Want to add punch to your words?
Want to write copy that gets results?
Here are some golden rules that make for powerful writing....

Oh, before you get all excited - a small note of caution. Not every writer will agree with me. But these are rules I have made for myself after a lot of trial and errors. I follow them no matter what I am writing. Even personal letters and emails. And they work. Always.

Define the "take-away"
First things first. Define to yourself the "take away" - the one single message you want the reader to understand and remember. This will determine what arguments you include and what facts you use to support your position.

The take away could be anything - your opinion on a topic, product benefits, what your company stands for... By the way, in case I haven't made it clear yet - My "take-away" today is to leave you with some tips that will turn your text into "Writing that Works."

Know your audience
Think of your audience as a person, not a customer base. Create a mental picture of ONE individual - her likes, dislikes, preferences, habits etc. Color it with as much detail as you can. Pay particular attention to two things - her understanding of your topic and her language ability. Then, write to HER. Pitch your words at her level, talk to her in a tone and voice she appreciates.

Tell a Story
Stories fascinate us. That's why they sell so much.

If you surf the net, you must have come across tens of sales letters saying the same thing - "I am an average guy, with average skills. Yet I am making tons of money. Buy my book / program / workshop / whatever... and I will show you how to do it." Believe it or not, these letters work! That's why there are so many floating around.

Another big draw is a "case study". Case studies that describe a real life problem and then offer a convincing solution are being used as very effective marketing tools. An informal survey shows that almost every business professional opens and reads email with "case study" as the subject line.

Benefits First
Q: When is it right to not emphasize benefits?
A: Never.
Enough said.

Be Direct - Make Action Calls
Tell your reader what action you expect.
If she doesn't know what you want, she can't give it.

One of my friends did a survey to find out why people in Ahmedabad do not donate blood. The result was amazing. 88% of the respondents said: I do not donate because nobody asked me to donate.

Don't make the same mistake.

Limit yourself
Ah! This is one rule I have a lot of trouble with J
When writing, less is definitely more. Whatever you do, don't try to cram too many things into one piece of writing. It dilutes your message; leaves the reader confused and you almost never achieve your objective.

Instead, make one strong statement. Back it up with 3-4 credible facts. And then, leave it there. Resist the temptation to include everything you know.

Having said this, I must end my article here.

About the Author

Sonali Raval is a corporate communications professional based in India. An Economist and MBA by training, she is a freelance writer by choice. Sonali's writing credits include motivational & soft skills articles, ad copy, speeches, brochures, business proposals, case studies, & web copy. She helps business professionals craft crisp, convincing copy. mailto:sonali@writeratwork.com or visit her at http://www.writeratwork.com


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