Why Entrepreneurs Need Writing Skills (and How to Improve Yours)
Entrepreneurs need to be a number of things: persistent, resourceful, creative and tolerant to risk. But, do they need to be good writers? Many would say no, defining “a good writer” as someone who can spell and knows the difference between your and you’re. Others would simply say that someone else can write content for their business if needed.
However, being a good writer yourself can put you at an advantage — and this means not just becoming good at basic grammar and spelling, but being able to express yourself in an interesting, engaging and unique way.
So, why do you need writing skills?
You sound more credible and more persuasive
Grammarly did a study of 100 LinkedIn profiles back in 2013, where they found that good grammar led to better positions and more promotions. In an age where autocorrect and spelling tools are so easily accessible, it appears even lazier than ever if your writing isn’t clean. Correct spelling and clean writing will make you seem professional and give you more authority with your audience.
Beyond baseline credibility, good writing is also a very powerful tool. If you learn not just to write correctly, but to write well, you can employ rhetorical skills that will make you more convincing in emails, general copy and more. Learning simple tenets like using active voice, writing with brevity and clarity and organizing your ideas can increase the effectiveness of anything you write.
You can put yourself out there and expand your influence
If you’re a good writer, you can start putting your ideas out there and establish yourself as a thought leader. You can write blogs and articles, create videos and even write a book. Content is everything these days, and with these skills, you can tell your story and share your knowledge.
The best part is, you can do it yourself. You don’t have to hire an editor, ghostwriter or content creation team. Often with a team or collaborator, they have to get to know you, your story and your style, which takes a long time — or your content simply sounds inauthentic. You know yourself and your area of expertise best. If you can write about it well, you’re set.
Good writing applies to everything
As an entrepreneur, business owner and human, you are always writing and communicating. Whether it’s crafting an important email, creating a pitch, giving feedback to your team or expressing your ideas in a publication, how you say things matters. In fact, it can mean the difference between success and failure, whether on a large scale or small.
You will apply good writing skills every day at every turn, and you’ll notice a difference when you make an effort. So how can you get better at writing?
Care about improving
If you don’t actually want to get better at writing, you won’t. Putting in effort and intention will take you far; even more, caring about everything you create will make a difference. If you take even small steps like proofreading, installing Grammarly or fiddling with a piece of content after the first draft, you’ll find your writing starts to improve. Wanting to get better at writing will make you a better writer, because if you don’t put any care into what you write, it’ll never be the best it can be.
Read a lot
Studies continue to find that CEOs read approximately four or five books each month, and it’s clear that consuming content (even if it’s podcasts, audiobooks or visual media) is a trait of successful people. Beyond success, reading constantly will show you what good writing looks like and make it easier to emulate.
Don’t just read self-development books, biographies and business books. More literary fiction and even poetry will teach you how word choice and language can affect your emotions as a reader; lighter fiction can show you how to tell an engaging story; and films and TV have incredible examples of structure and visual communication. Consume all types of content!
Find your own voice
Good writing is not all the same, and if a certain common or “acceptable” tone doesn’t speak to you, don’t try to force it. Find the voice and style that you best resonate with and that sounds more like you. This voice usually comes with practice; you can also record yourself to see how you sound when speaking and try to copy that in writing.
Eventually, your writing will sound more like you, whether it's funny, quirky, casual or snarky. Sounding like yourself is more powerful than sounding "good."
Create all kinds of content
Lastly, the best way to get better at writing is by actually doing it. Set a goal to create one piece of content every week or every other week, whether it’s a blog, an Instagram post or a video. Then, keep up this content creation on a consistent basis. The more you create, especially in one format, the better you’ll get. With intention, care and practice, you can increase and improve your writing skills tenfold.