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We’re excited to share this webinar with all of you! Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara is joined by social media writing expert and CEO of Lately Kate Bradley Chernis.
Most of us would prefer someone else to do our writing for us. However, we all need to be skilled writers to effectively communicate with our customers and prospects, especially in this digital age.
In this webinar, Kate will break down her top ten writing tips and how Lately can help you save time with content distribution.
Kate is a former marketing agency owner and created the idea for Lately out of spreadsheets for then-clients Walmart, where she earned them a 130% ROI, year-over-year for three years.
Why People Hate Writing
Kate was hired by Walmart to work on long-form writing on a project. This project involved tens of thousands of companies of all different sizes, markets, skill levels, and budgets. However, Kate noticed a commonality in all these companies: they all hated writing.
Kate explained that “companies spend more than $3.1 billion each year on remedial writing training for employees.”
Writing is challenging because the English language grammar rules are exceedingly unclear and with a lot of exceptions. Plus, technology has morphed the way we communicate and write, and the writing rules of technology evolve in practice. Even though emojis, videos, and photos are a great way to communicate, writing is still the foundation and defines us as human beings.
It’s essential to think about the base level of what gravitates people to want them to buy your stuff, complete the task you assign them, and get them to understand what you’re telling them to do when writing. However, it’s not instinctual for most people. Even Jon admits that he struggles with writing, as well.
Kate’s Top Ten Writing Tips
Kate and her staff created these ten writing tips from the most common questions customers asked over the years. These writing rules can achieve great results for your engagement and response.
As you learn the rules, you’ll discover that they all intertwine with each other.
1. Remove “Check Out” from Your Marketing Materials
Kate’s BIGGEST no-no is the phrase “check out” as a call-to-action because “check out” gives you zero information about what’s behind the link. When’s the last time you “checked out” anything on command? Never.
Call-to-actions should allude to what’s to come and make the reader feel compelled to move forward towards the next step. Instead of “check out,” grab an active verb that better defines the call to action you intend. Kate explains that it can be as simple as “learn more” or “get ready to have your mind BLOWN.” Don’t be afraid to use capital letters to emphasize the feeling you want the reader to get.
“There are so many beautiful verbs to choose from. Us them! It’ll set you apart.”
– Kate Bradley Chernis
2. Use Contractions
It’s essential to use contractions for your writing to seem more human and natural. People don’t talk in non-contractual phrases. Contractions involve less text and characters that can make your business appear more conversational, personable, accessible, and trustworthy. It makes you seem human behind the screen; like someone who can have a conversation versus someone who sent a one-off message.
3. Turn Everything into a Call-to-Action
At the beginning of a sentence, lose the pronoun and verb to turn it into a call to action. School taught us how to write in a specific format. For example, the first paragraph is to set the stage. However, nobody has time for that – especially when scrolling on social media. You have to go straight to the point immediately.
Remove. Remove. Remove. Try to think of everything as a call to action.
Jon brings up that people can get lost in the preamble. You need to get to the point as quickly as possible so the reader knows the message is worth reading. Both Jon and Kate emphasize that it’s okay to warm up your message, but you have to get to the action.
Call to action involves a little bit of psychology because call to actions are commands. You’re urging people to do what you want them to do by stating a verb.
4. Write Like You Talk
For Kate to emphasize what she wants to say online, she uses hyperboles. Hyperboles can break up the seriousness and let your personality shine through the text.
Using vernaculars makes your writing stand out and makes you human.
Imagine a tweet saying, “Whoooooa. THAT is crazy-cool!”
It’s manipulating the word “woah.” By doing this, you’re commanding the page because you’re aware that it’s a spelling error. However, it doesn’t matter because you got the reader’s attention.
5. Read What You Write Out Loud
If it feels awkward saying it, it feels awkward reading it.
Typically, companies and brands write in long sentences and don’t think about how they sound or how the reader understands their writing.
6. Avoid Passive Language
This writing rule is the biggest one people are guilty of doing.
Good: “the green boots”
Bad: “the boots that are green”
Good: “Kately’s Writing Rules”
Bad: “The Writing Rule of Kately”
Passive language doesn’t get to the point fast enough and sounds awkward. As a result, your message can come off as weak.
7. Use Negative Call-to-Actions in Place of Positive Ones
This is Kate’s favorite writing rule. Negative call-to-actions makes people feel like they are being dared, which makes people react. It’s an innate trick you can use that takes part in the psychology side of writing.
8. Give “And” More Credit
Don’t be afraid to start sentences with “and” for emphasis. It can mimic the way you talk, add a pause between thoughts, and gives you command as the writer. Starting a sentence with “like” has a similar effect. If you have a pause before “and” or “like”, it forces people to stop because it’s unusual.
Another tactic you can use to leverage the word “and” is during public speaking. You can use “and” in place of huh, so, or umm. This tactic will make you look confident and gives you full control of your speech.
9. Capitalize on the Implied “Why”
When there’s an implied “why” in a statement, use “because” to compel a response.
The word “why” triggers the sense of reason and wants to be resolved, causing the reader to want to read on. The word “because” makes people think of why or something that needs to be said in front of them. When adding “because” after “why” in a sentence makes you look more trustworthy, emotional, and human because you’re giving the reader an answer.
Kate found a study that shows by using the word “because” in a sentence in one sales email can increase the response rate by 60%. It’s because it makes you lean into the sentence and creates empathy.
10. Short Is Sexy
Get to the point, but also create a rhythm. For example, iambic pentameter. Those forms of poetry are usually memorable because they have some beat to it. Short sentences have a similar effect.
What is Lately?
Lately is an artificially intelligent powered creative writing tool. By making sure your business is saying the right thing, feeling confident, knowing you’re interesting, and being a resource. Lately AI learns what kind of content your customers are responding to and creates a model based on customer response to feed them the most engaging content.
If you’re sharing content, you can’t share the same phrase across your identities or the team’s identities. You have to mix it up, which is what Lately can do for you. It intelligently rephrases your shares in ways that keep content fresh and relevant.
Lately customers see an average 70% engagement after the first five weeks.
How to Get Started with Nimble
If you do not have a Nimble account yet, we invite you to try it for free for 14 days.
Stay tuned for more product announcements as we evolve Nimble into the best CRM for Office 365 and G Suite teams.