Editor’s note: I love the apps and resources, and from the success of Shawn Murphy’s post on 10 Great Apps Every Leader Needs to be Effective, it’s evident so do you.
This post by Robert Morris really resonated with me because, although we talk about communication from a leadership perspective, I’m not sure enough leaders really understand the need to be able to effectively communicate with the written word. Leaders of larger businesses cannot speak to everyone they need to reach face to face.
It is my belief that writing is not simply a gift we are born with; it is a craft to be honed. I studied Art History, and it amazes me that most people don’t understand that, prior to the Renaissance, artists were not seen as geniuses, but as craftsmen. They were born into the trade and served as apprentices in most cases.
If you believe in the Dickensian outlook, writing is the same – a craft to be worked at and refined. In this digital age with so much communication via text and not voice, leaders more than anyone need to understand this… because their writing will touch their entire organization, and if they’re smart, their customers too.
Your writing must be persuasive. If it isn’t, no one will buy into your product or service via digital communication if that is your only means of reaching them. But knowing how to choose the best words and how to structure your arguments can cause a challenge for business leaders with less than stellar writing skills. These online tools will help you write better web copy so your message will be convincing and credible.
1. Writing Well
Writing Well by Mark Tredinnick is a fantastic book about being a writer. It’s a great place for non-writers to start. The book contains exercises and prompts to help you “warm up” your writing muscles and get in the right frame of mind.
2. Hemingway Editor
Ernest Hemingway’s writing was clear and to the point. No fancy language or long sentences for him. Hemingway Editor will help you write in a similar way. Just paste your content into the website and it will tell you which sentences are too long, hard to read, or confusing.
3. Ninja Essays
When your message really matters, consider letting custom writing service Ninja Essays craft it for you. Their team of
professional writers can find the most persuasive language to tell your story and sell your product. And because all the writers have advanced degrees, you will always receive intelligent and accurate content.
4. Words That Sell
Words That Sell by Richard Bayan is a Thesaurus designed specifically for writing compelling content. Make your website or blog more persuasive without sounding like you had to root around for synonyms just to use a fancy word. These words actually sell.
5. Grammar Girl
Grammar Girl is the place to go for any grammar explanations you could possibly need. Wondering whether or not you should use a comma? Ask Grammar Girl. Need to know when to use a capital letter and when to use a lower case? Ask Grammar Girl.
6. Headline Analyzer
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer helps you create the perfect headline for your blog or article. Keep plugging in possible titles until you get the one with the highest, or “most clickable” score.
This falls firmly into the “credibility” category. There is no greater offense in business writing that plagiarism. Having website content that matches your competitors makes you look terrible and does nothing for your personal branding. PlagTracker will find any plagiarized content on your site and replace it with creative content that is all your own.
8. Line By Line
There is no greater challenge for a writer than to edit his or her own writing. Line By Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook offers a practical guide for writers to be their own worst critic.
Think of Yoast as your digital SEO assistant. Type in the keyword you are trying to target. And Yoast will tell you how well your website or blog performs against that keyword. You can use this to improve your SEO ranking and make your content more relevant to your market.
10. Made To Stick
Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath is a highly readable book that analyzes why some ideas “stick” and others fail. Use this knowledge to improve your own ideas, writing, and content to make it as convincing and exciting as possible.
With the help of these tools and books, you’ll be able to transform your writing to make it persuasive, interesting and credible. Choose one or two to get started, and work the rest into your writing process as needed.