Build your personal brand by improving your ability to write concise, compelling, and informative content.
Conciseness is the biggest challenge many face when writing to build their personal brand. There’s more written about choosing topics, organizing information, and online delivery systems than there is about writing as concisely as possible.
What has been written about conciseness tends to approach the topic from a grammar point of view, rather than a strategic tool.
Yet, conciseness should be near the top of your “brand-building-communicating- skills-to-master” list for the simple reason that your prospects, clients, and co-workers are in a hurry these days.
They want you to get to the point as quickly as possible in all types of business communications.
Forcing yourself to be concise
It takes more than good intentions to force yourself to be concise. You need better tools than simply checking and re-checking your word processor’s word count feature.
Likewise, it also takes more than self-editing your document after you’ve finished it, looking for long words that you can replace with short words. Often, deadlines are so tight that there’s simply not enough time to self-edit your blog posts and emails.
Self-editing is also difficult when you don’t have a frame of reference to guide you as you write, letting you know when your writing is getting bloated.
So, what’s the best way to train yourself to write less?
Writing to fit: the power of limits
Several years ago, I developed a new type of newsletter–a One-Page Newsletter–based on formatted templates for 1-page, 2-sided newsletters.
My original goal was to help entrepreneurs create consistently good-looking PDF newsletters for online distribution without incurring expensive graphic design charges.
Although my original goal was to improve the appearance of newsletters, it turned out that the best part of the One-Page Newsletter system was that it made it easy to cut the clutter from your writing. In doing so, the one-page format helped me, and my clients, write better–making every word count.
By working with a format that limits articles or sales messages to the front and back sides of a single sheet of paper, you get constant feedback on the amount of space remaining.
With a one-page newsletter template, if you write too much, the amount of overflow text at the end of the second page shows you precisely how much text you have to cut to make everything fit!
The big surprise
It never ceases to amaze me–or my clients–how much better you write when you write to fit!
When you are writing to fill a limited amount of space, editing becomes a game, not a chore.
Each time you eliminate an unnecessary point, replace a long word with a short word, or substitute an active verb for a passive verb, you can immediately see how much space you’ve gained–and note how much easier it is to read what you’ve just written.
Over the course of writing over 100 newsletters, it never ceased to amaze me how much writing less by writing to fit helped me improve my writing. My clients, too, soon developed the habits of self-editing and concise communications.
In retrospect, the true legacy of the One-Page Newsletter system may be more in the lessons it taught about writing to fit and self-editing than my original goals of simplifying newsletter design and production.
Try building your brand by writing less
Explore the power of building your personal brand by writing less. Go to Amazon.com and explore resources like Patrick Riley’s One-Page Proposal or Jim Horan’s One-Page Business Plan for Creative Entrepreneurs. Or, download a couple of my Design to Sell One-Page Newsletters. Edit the first drafts of your articles and blog posts until they fit both sides of a single sheet of paper. You, too, can profit from building your personal brand by writing less….one page at a time.
Visit Roger C. Parker’s Published & Profitable and ask a question or suggest a topic for a future Author’s Corner blog post. Thank you!