The amount of overwrought, boring, long-winded, clunky and just plain lousy writing in this world is astounding.
Even in professional, corporate environments–especially in professional, corporate environments—the landscape is littered with throwaway, mindless content that doesn’t merit a mention.
To be fair, writing well is a daily mental grind that requires endless amounts of creativity and discipline. Improvement requires years’ worth of practice, edits, mistakes, resilience and rewrites.
There’s no fast-track to success, but it always helps to keep the basics in mind. Let’s start with these four:
1. Write a spicy headline. How often do we save the headline for last? This is a terrible habit that afflicts writers of every ilk.
Start by crafting a headline that compels customers or colleagues to click. Use jarring words that pique curiosity, and tinker with different phrasing and juxtapositions. Test different headlines to see which ones get more clicks.
If you tend to write bland, shrimpy or wimpy headlines, use tools and technology in your favor. Pay attention to relevant trends and research, and don’t neglect the science behind what tends to get clicked.
[FREE GUIDE: 10 ways to improve your writing today]
2. Write a spicy lead. Ragan’s executive editor, Rob Reinalda, is the world’s foremost stickler on leads. He warns of these “deadly” openers that will doom your piece:
Rehashing old news. “Way back in 1988, George Bush was elected.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. “If you work in PR or communications, we don’t have to tell you your