5 Common Writing Problems and How to Fix Them Writing is a skill that you can always improve.

By Steve Lazuka

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on PR Newswire's Small Business PR Toolkit


Writing is a skill that you can always improve. Whether you are a seasoned copywriter or a marketer who dabbles in writing now and again, you need to keep working on your writing technique. The good news is that improving your writing is often not a matter of mastering more complex grammatical rules about misplaced modifiers or sophisticated sentence structures. Instead of working on grammar, you should work on how to connect with your audience more effectively.

Here are five tips that will help you improve your writing:

1. Features and benefits

This is really Copywriting 101, but even veteran writers sometimes have difficulty avoiding this mistake. When writing about a product or a service, it is easy to write about the features. This is what the product offers to consumers. In short, it is about the product and the business that offers the product.

The problem is that people don't want to read about the business, service or product. They want to hear about what the product will do for them. So, they don't care about the amperage of the motor in a vacuum cleaner. They care that the product will last longer than its competitors and do a better job at cleaning. Customers have problems, desires and needs that they are concerned about. Unless the writer can transform the features of the product into benefits for the customer, it will not stir people to make a purchase.

So, when you are writing about a business, product or a service, always ask yourself "so what?" This will help you to uncover the benefit that customers are interested in. Avoid merely listing features; instead enumerate the benefits that the customer will get, the problems that will be solved and the desires that will be fulfilled by using this product or service. This will make your writing more compelling to your audience.

2. Forgetting the audience

The key to good writing is to remember your audience. Without any idea about your audience, you will never be able to make the emotional connection that will drive people to take the action that your writing is urging them to take.

The solution is to do some research about your audience before you start writing. You can look at any market research available to you, but you can also communicate directly with your customers either in person or online to find out what makes them tick. You want to find out what problems, concerns, desires and needs are driving their purchasing decisions so that you can write content that appeals to these issues.

Without this kind of intimate knowledge of your audience, it is easy to fall into writing about features instead of benefits. Since you don't know what your audience wants, you can't address it. This means that you will wind up writing about your business, product or service without reference to any benefit it offers your target market. Be sure to think about your audience before you start writing.

3. Trying to make everyone happy

The temptation for a writer is to try to make the product or service appeal to everyone. If you do this, you will wind up writing content that is so generic and unfocused that it will appeal to no one. Instead, you want to have a laser-focus when writing. Write for a very specific kind of customer or segment of your target market. That way, the customer will feel that you are writing just for them. They will respond to your message when you speak to them so clearly. It is like calling people by name. They know you are talking to them and respond.

4. Lacking credibility

You want to write with as much authority as possible. That is why you should provide as much evidence as possible for the claims you make in your writing. You can do this by interviewing experts, providing research studies and offering testimonials. Be sure to include these to establish authority for your writing.

5. Having a poor writing process

There is a misconception that good writing is inspired. But that is not true; the best writing is the result of a disciplined process that you work through. If you are faithful to a good process, then you will not have a problem writing great copy. The first step of the process is to do some research. It is good to set a time limit on the research so you don't spend forever searching around the Internet for good sources.

After researching, you organize your arguments in a logical order. Writing the rough draft is next. Finally, you edit your work carefully. By simply following a good process in a disciplined way, you can improve your writing and your productivity.

Good writing does not occur by magic or sudden inspiration. It requires hard work and research to get the right message to your audience. You need to identify your audience and know their needs and problems. Then you need to focus your writing so that you appeal directly to those needs rather than writing about what your business offers. Finally, you need to make your writing more focused and specific to appeal clearly to a specific and targeted segment of your audience.

Steve Lazuka is the founder of Interact Media, creators of the Zerys Content Marketplace and Zerys for Agencies content marketing platforms. 

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