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The eMarketing Digest
© 1996 - 2008
Library of Congress
ISSN 1522-6913

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Volume III, Issue XIII, Oct. 7, 2005

Effective Writing Skills

This article will help you write effectively, avoiding confusion and promoting good communication, no matter if your writing is for private consumption or for widespread publication.

Whether you are writing for an ezine, your own site's client newsletter, or for a regular RSS feed... heck - even if you're only writing to Aunt Tilly - you need to know how to write. Otherwise, your message doesn't get across the way you intend for it to be interpreted.

Whenever you set out to write any article you should keep two precepts in mind. The first precept is the old 5-part simple writing guide all Americans learned in Elementary School as The Five "Ws"

  • Who - Whether the who is your audience, or the person or company you are writing about - make it clear. For example, this article is about how YOU can benefit from good writing advice.

  • What - What are you talking about? Get the "what" right can make all the difference in whether your message sells your idea/product or not.

  • Where - Where can your information be used? It's one thing to know what that information is, but it's another thing altogether to know where to apply it.

  • When - If your information is timely in nature be sure to include the timeframe. At the very least make mention if timing makes a difference or not.

  • Why - It is important for people to know why things work so they can believe in their effectiveness. If you don't tell people why they may never even use your information.

To that I would like to add;

  • How - How, along with what are the true meat of your article. Get these two elements right and your job will be more than half done. How is what people really want to know, so be sure to get it right.

OK - so much for the 5 Ws... The second precept to keep in mind in all of your writings is;

  • Tell Them Three Times - That means that up front you tell your audience what you will tell them. Then you tell them in detail. Then you tell them a third time in the form of a review. This "Three Times" approach is a proven method for getting your message to "stick".

Here are some excellent writer's resources we recommended;

  • Writer's Write; A great collection of 'stuff' for writers.

  •; The self-proclaimed, definitive guide to writing-reference materials on the Internet.

  •; Roget's Internet Thesaurus of english words and phrases. Search for synonyms and alternate phrasings.

  • Elements of Style; The definitive work on how to properly phrase your writings. This is a MUST HAVE for any writer.

  • Bartlett's Familiar Quotations; Searchable by keyword or browse the author/title index.
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