Clear writing is crucial for effective communication. Clear writing is more likely to persuade, inform, or engage readers, and clear copy is essential to achieving those objectives. If your writing is unclear, confusing, or poorly organised, your audience will quickly lose interest and move on to something else. Here are our top 10 suggestions for writing clearly:
Know your audience
Understanding your audience is essential for writing clearly. Consider their needs, preferences, and knowledge level before you write. Don’t write like a writer, write like a reader. For example, if you're writing for a technical audience, you may need to use industry-specific jargon and technical terms. If you're writing for a general audience, you'll want to use simpler, everyday language.
Keep it simple
Simple language is essential for clear writing. Avoid using unnecessarily complicated words or phrases that could confuse readers. If you must use technical language or jargon, be sure to define it in the copy. For example, instead of saying, "Our solution is a blockchain-based distributed ledger technology", you could say, "Our solution uses a secure, decentralised database". Remember, nobody will ever complain if your writing is easy to follow.
Examples help to illustrate your points and make your writing more concrete. Use real-world examples or scenarios that your readers can relate to and use them to explain your ideas and concepts. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of a new product, include examples of how it has helped other customers or businesses.
Vague or ambiguous language can make your writing confusing and difficult to read. Be specific and precise in your language and avoid generalisations or abstract terms unless absolutely necessary. For example, instead of saying, "Our product is the best on the market", you could say, "Our product has been ranked #1 in customer satisfaction surveys for the past three years".
Use the space with clever formatting
Formatting can help make your writing more readable and scannable. While you may not like it, most people will skim read, so ensure that if (or when) they do, they still walk away with the key points in mind. Use bullet points, numbered lists, and bold or italicised text to highlight key points and information.
Keep it focused
Clear writing is focused on one main idea or message. Avoid including too many ideas or topics in one piece of copy, as this can confuse readers and dilute your message. For example, if you're writing a landing page for a new service, focus on the service’s benefits rather than including unrelated information about your company.
Use active verbs
Active verbs make your writing more dynamic and engaging. Use strong, action-oriented verbs to describe actions and processes, and avoid weak or passive language. For example, instead of saying, "Our product is used by many customers", you could say, "Many customers rely on our product for their daily needs".
Overused phrases or expressions can make your writing appear clichéd or unoriginal. Instead, strive for fresh, unique language that captures your audience's attention. For example, instead of saying, "Our product is a game-changer", you could say, "Our product is revolutionising the industry".
Edit and revise
Clear writing requires multiple rounds of editing and revision. The art of good writing is rewriting. After you write your first draft, review it for clarity and make changes as needed. Look for areas where the language is unclear or confusing and make adjustments. Consider asking someone else to review your writing as well, as a fresh set of eyes can help catch errors or inconsistencies.
Test the writing
To ensure your writing is clear and effective, test it by asking others to read it. This may mean asking a colleague to read it, a professional editor or proofreader to review it, or even gathering a focus group.