We could all stand to increase the power of our writing, right? You learned in early writing classes to avoid the passive voice, for instance. But while we’re at it, why not increase the interest of your writing? Whether you’re drafting a blog post or a magazine piece, here are some ideas to keep in mind, inspired by a look through Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing:
1) Make the information useful. No one has much time for casual reading these days, so write pieces on subjects that people need to know more about. The rise of “news you can use” as a best-loved format of web and popular magazines is because we’re all looking for applicable information.
2) Make it usable. Anytime you cut something out to put on the refrigerator for quick reference, you know how handy that little box of tips, dates or contact detail embedded in an article is. Boxes get attention! The kind of content that would go into a box makes great tweets or fan page status updates.
3) Go short. Yes, I’ve already said it―not much reading time out there. So take your pearls of wisdom and cut them by a third before you even send to your editor. It’s painful, but satisfying too.
4) Connect with readers. Ask them questions to get responses and make sure they have your contact information.
5) Is it news? Even history is news. Say you’re writing a travel piece. Odds are good that your readers aren’t going to know about the long ago festival, battle or celebrity sighting that happened in a particular location. Maybe there’s even a contemporary link. In every story, there is a kernel of “I didn’t know that!” Find it. If you’re intrigued, your readers will be too.
6) Is it new? We all want to discover a way of doing things we didn’t know about before. Find a unique angle to your useful subject.
7) Subheads. No one has enough―Nevermind. Make your writing quick and easy to read by guiding your reader through it. She will not only know better what to skip, but those who read all the way through will be comforted by knowing what comes next.
What’s the secret weapon that makes your writing zing?