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How clear speaking can help web copy

Richard Bell

When it comes to editing a piece of writing, one of the best pieces of advice that I received was to read your own work out loud. Although I felt pretty silly the first time I did so, it was an effective way to find grammatical errors, as well as to really get a sense of the tone and style of the work I was producing.

The written word can be  a powerful representation of voice, but when you edit your own work it can be difficult to ‘hear’ yourself and, particularly, how you come across to others.

If you think about the way we communicate verbally, we have far more at our disposal than in the written form. Aside from the way we use our bodies to help get our meaning across, we utilise tone, volume, pace, intonation, and emphasis to help make the message clearer. However, these skills can also be applied to our written communications too.

Face-to-face marketing is a very effective way to communicate directly with your audience, but web platforms like social media can get that message to a wider market much faster. So, can you make your online communication more like a conversation?

Quality messages

The key to effective communication is to speak clearly, emphasising key words or points, and matching your pace, language and style to your audience.

For example, a pause or line break can be used for deliberate effect, letting important information sink in or to raise expectations before giving your next key point. Meanwhile, just as you would want to speak fluently to an audience, you should make sure that your message is well structured and doesn’t ramble.

Using alliteration can also have the same affect in the written form as using tone can have. However, don’t forget the rule of three: keep it effective, persuasive and simple.

Always read your work aloud before posting it online and listen to the way the words make you sound. If your message isn’t clear and your voice isn’t being heard, you may need to go back to the drawing board.

Richard has a First in English Literature and Creative Writing, and has experience writing fiction and short stories (which he has published both online and in magazines).

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