I’ve met plenty of people in business who AVOID WRITING even though they know it could help GROW THEIR BUSINESS.

They’re the Fighters who’ve told themselves they are not good at it and resist it for as long as possible.

They see others throwing themselves enthusiastically into writing, keyboard clattering and adjectives flying until they’ve produced something they’re happy with. They’re the Lovers and they feel good about their writing.

The irony is that Lovers and Fighters are both capable of great work. The difference is that Lovers don’t torture themselves.

Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. James Joyce

There are plenty of Fighters among literature’s greatest names including Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Parker. They fought it but they got it done anyway.

And that’s what WE have to do – get writing done. Because despite predictions about its demise, writing has become more important, not less, in business. It is a reliable and relatively inexpensive way to attract interest, influence buyers and please existing customers.

Fighters have a fear of not ‘doing writing’ well. They have high standards and are tormented by their inner critic, which starts judging even before they start to write.

I can’t write like (insert competitor’s name)

I don’t know how to explain it properly

I’m not good at writing

So, if you’re a Fighter who finds writing a struggle, how can you overcome your resistance and do justice to your business?

Forget about YOU

Readers are not interested in how WELL you write – only in whether or not it makes sense and addresses what they are looking for, answering potential questions and offering solutions to their problem.

In other words, they want your writing to be all about THEM – not all about YOU.

How to make it about your customers

Ask yourself,

  1. Why do people come looking for what you sell? What needs and wants do they have?
  2. How could you help them to weigh up their options and make a decision about what to buy?
  3. What information could you give them that would help them to feel good about deciding to buy from you?
  4. How could you help them to get more value from what they’ve bought from you?
  5. Can you keep them informed about news and events related to your field?

These questions help you identify ways to help potential buyers get to know you and your business a little better. Before they buy, people want to know: Who are you? Can I trust you? Do I like you? You’ll be helping them and yourself if you focus on the five questions above instead of your writing hang-ups.

Tell people, as if you were there with them

If you can talk about your business, you can write about it. Writing for the digital age is more about SPEAKING to people than actually ‘doing writing’ for them.

What they want is to FEEL that you’re there with them, having a conversation over a cup of coffee.

They’ll remember your business if you are approachable and genuine. If you explain clearly and with generosity what they can expect.

I’m not suggesting you should write exactly as you would talk in day to day conversation. That’s just too casual, with not enough thought and far too many umms.

I’m saying, explain your business they way you do when you’re in front of people. When you’re networking, or when people ring to find out what you can do for them. That’s when you give the best version of your business, the ‘All dressed up and ready to hit the town’ version. Not too formal, not too casual but in a way that helps people understand what you do and lets them feel they can trust you.

Try these five practical tips

Having a conversational writing tone is easier if you remember to:

  • Get to the point – if you’re using examples and personal stories, dive straight in to the most important part and don’t waste time giving the background
  • Use full stops – it is important to vary your sentence length but generally keep them short – there are lots of places where a comma can be replaced by a full stop for easy reading
  • Keep it simple – it’s ok to have a couple of different font styles and sizes but any more is distracting and detracts from your message
  • Monitor your language – the words and phrases you use in your writing should be the ones your customers use themselves
  • Make it easy to scan – break your writing into segments of information, following a logical sequence, so people can scan to find what they need to know
It’s ok to be a Fighter as long as you pick your battles

And the best time to bring out your fighting spirit is every time that critical voice pipes up:

I can’t write like (insert competitor’s name)

 I don’t have to. I’m not them, I’m me and I know what a great product/service I’ve got so I just have to explain it in the way I would if they were standing in front of me.

I don’t know how to explain it properly

Yes I do. I’ve explained it lots of times when people have asked about my products/services, and people buy from me because I have what they want – I just have to explain it in terms of what they want to know, as well as what I want to tell them.

I’m not good at writing

That may be the way it feels now but I’m willing to take a risk and by practising, I WILL get better and then I will feel better about it. Nobody is polished and perfect when they first start something – the only way they improve is to keep doing it and I will KEEP DOING IT.