In today’s world of digital technology, words still matter. As an entertainer or service provider, you’re writing up quotes, sending emails, posting to social media, and messaging clients all the time.
Between all these forms of communication, your writing skills could be the difference in whether or not you get the gig. We’ve put together a few best practices from our writing team and other industry experts to help you raise your writing standard.
Sharpen your skills
Effective writing for business and marketing comes down to three critical skills: clarity, brevity, and assembly.
Words matter. Learn to express thoughts using words that are clearly understood and easily absorbed!
This is especially true for industry-specific terms. When communicating with clients, it’s easy to overwhelm them with insider language and abbreviations. Try to be more of a teacher than an expert. If you’re a cover band, most customers won’t know what the “front line” is. They won’t know the difference between your FOH needs and their own HOA standards. Savvy businesspeople know to clearly explain specific electrical or technical needs. Always assume they don’t know and become a “friend in the business” by bringing them along.
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.Mark Twain
In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” In other words, smart people get to the point. Higher word count does not equal effective communication. Take time to practice getting standard responses down to the fewest words possible while still maintaining clarity.
The structure of your writing is essential. Thoughts need to flow in an arc that walks your client through your writing and arrives at a clear call to action. This holds true for everything from emails to blogs to social media captions.
Structure your written communications around a basic narrative framework that has a beginning, middle, and end.
Using a basic outline for every communication will allow you to not only write clearly and briefly but with more speed and organization. You don’t want to spend over a quarter of your life writing emails! So learn the tricks to cut down the writing time.
Business emails and communication can follow this simple pattern:
- Beginning: Introduction and greeting.
- Middle: Critical details (bullet points are effective) and information.
- End: Instructions for follow-up and contact information. Here’s where you can include a call to action. Freelance business writer Sally Fox says, “Work on irresistible calls to action. The rest of your copy is designed to give information or sell a mood that will make your audience want to click the link, find out more, or subscribe. But the part of the copy that will be the difference between earning that click or not is the call to action.”
Check out this example:
The Waikiki Hula Dancers would love to perform at your company’s launch party! Here are a few things to know to get the most out of your event:
- Our average rate is $250 but this can be higher or lower based on event details and travel.
- Our performers will need space to change and store personal items.
- We’ll need at least a 10×10 area to perform.
- Our performance includes 3 dancers and is 30 minutes long.
Let’s connect soon for more questions and event details to find your best price! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 555-555-1234.
Pro tip: Take advantage of the Saved Messages feature in your GigSalad control panel. Reply to leads with a click and save yourself lots of extra time and effort!
Pay attention to details
Fewer things can erode client confidence faster than poor grammar or misspelled words. Ben Taylor of homeworkingclub.com reminds any writer to “proofread and edit! It’s so incredibly basic, yet many people don’t do it. It’s not just about checking communications for embarrassing spelling mistakes, it’s also about reading text back in your head to ensure it properly flows. Doing this doesn’t take that long, but it enables you to catch overlong sentences, clumsy phrasing, and – something very common – repeated words in multiple sentences.”
Luckily, there are lots of great resources to help you strengthen your writing skills. We use these daily in the GigSalad offices:
Grammarly.com: Grammarly provides a free, easy-to-use spelling and grammar checker that can quickly provide you with suggestions and edits to immediately improve your writing. It offers different writing styles, such as academic or conversational, to suit the piece that you are writing. Grammarly also has plugins for some web browsers to add to Google Docs or Gmail, as well as productivity software such as Office 365.
Thesaurus.com: A critical, vital, and essential skill for writing is a wide, diverse, and varied vocabulary. If you feel like you’ve said a word too many times, go to Thesaurus.com and find a different word to communicate your thoughts.
Practice makes perfect
Ultimately, the only way to become a better writer is to write. As with any skill, you can exercise and practice to get stronger.
Here are a few quick exercises you can do to improve your writing:
- Write something every day.
- Read what you write out loud.
- Set time limits on your writing.
- Read as much as you write.
- Have a child read your content and then explain it back to you.
- Close with confidence and clear calls to action.
With practice at keeping your writing clear, simple, and brief, your emails, online quotes, and social posts could take your business to greater heights.