Articles - Craft Your Content
writing in plain english

Keep it Simple: How to Use Plain English to Improve Your Writing

We’ve seen it before. The beginning of a business prospectus that goes something like this:

No person has been authorized to give any information or make any representation herewith other than those contained or incorporated by reference in this joint proxy statement/prospectus. And if given or made, such information…

You’ve stopped reading, haven’t you? 

What if I wrote:

You should only rely on the information contained in this document. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with information that is different.

You’re back…

Plain English in business writing is essential when you have a limited amount of time to engage your audience and convey a message. Plain English uses everyday words, short sentences, active voice, and personal pronouns that speak directly to your audience.

The principles sound simple, but it’s surprising how easily long-form copy can slide into the myrrh of plodding verbosity, forcing readers to cry out for something more palatable. I hear you! 

What we are talking about when we use the term “plain English” is functional writing. Writing that is easy to digest, easy to translate, and free of jargon. Writing in plain English is not always as easy as it sounds, especially in the world of business where new catchcries and the latest trends can give us all a headache while we try and work out what is actually being said.

Continue reading

Hacking Your Subconscious: How Tarot Cards Can Jumpstart Your Content

A neon eye and triangle blaze the word “PSYCHIC” in a strip mall window.  A fortune teller with a crystal ball in a smoky room cracks an egg and tells you a misfortune will befall you if you don’t pay her $300 for a “good luck spell.”  An old woman spits on your shoe and curses you for the rest of your life.

We’ve all seen the tropes surrounding fortune tellers and Tarot cards. Often regarded as a money trap for the desperate or a whimsical activity in the midst of a festival, Tarot cards can actually serve a purpose dear to our content makers’ hearts that is little known to the public.

With their brilliant colors and suggestive imagery, Tarot cards can carve a path straight to your subconscious. Even when you don’t know the story behind each card, the imagery can spark inspiration. When you do know something about the story, you can dig in deeper to the meanings and the collective human experiences that the cards represent. 

Here are three easy steps to use the Tarot to jumpstart your content creation:

  • Step 1: Prime the pump with the cards — shuffle and choose one or two cards.
  • Step 2: Open the inspiration spigot with free association.
  • Step 3: Write your fool head off.
Continue reading
empathy better writer

How To Use Empathy to Become a Better Writer and Communicator

What would you do if your kitchen caught ablaze? Would you fight fire with fire? Or would you instead grab the fire extinguisher and kill the flame? In any type of situation, it is essential to know how to best approach it first, instead of going with your instinct and ending up in hot water. 

Learning how to control the situation will prevent your kitchen from burning down to the ground. This applies in both the literal and metaphorical sense. It is also very relevant in communicating with people. 

Miscommunication is unavoidable in our everyday interactions; it is easy to have your message and its meaning lost in all the noise. Everyone has different interpretations of the same words, and our beliefs, values, and culture further filters everything we hear and read.

But there’s one thing that can help you cut through this. It’s called empathy, the ability to put things into perspective and see the situation from another person’s point of view to fully recognize a situation.

In this post I will show you why empathy is important for a writer, and how you can develop it. The better you can see where your readers are coming from, the more successful you can be in offering them precisely what they need.

Continue reading

The Myth of Originality: Why Your Voice Is More Important Than New Ideas

Ever spent countless hours trying to come up with “a new idea” for your post, blog, article, pitch, novel, whatever?

If so, first, welcome to the club, and, second, I have good news and bad news all wrapped into one: new ideas are not a thing

I know, this might sound clickbaity and edgy—and, indeed, it’s meant to be a little provocative. But I believe it also highlights something we tend to forget in our quest for originality: no idea can be 100% original. 

Nor does it need to be. In fact, I’m here to tell you what the secret sauce is, and new ideas are an optional ingredient. But before we delve into the recipe, let’s establish why no original idea is, after all, truly original. 

Continue reading
1 2 3 122