To the Point: Don’t Write Crappy Content
3. Make an outline
Outlines are extremely helpful when writing. Try using the universal outline — who, what, why, when, where and how — when building your next PowerPoint presentation, article or annual report.
4. Speaking of stories … tell one!
Much has been written about the power of storytelling to persuade. One of the oldest forms of narrative, stories are easier to remember than isolated figures and facts. They're also easier to tell. To learn more about how to tell better stories, see author, speaker and consultant Andy Goodman's site at agoodmanonline.com/red.html.
5. Edit, edit and edit some more
If you do nothing else to improve your writing, start editing your copy, and I promise it will improve. Here's why: Writing is not a one-shot deal. It takes a lot of refining to write clear and compelling copy. Perfect your copy by rereading it at least three times before "going to print." Cut unnecessary adjectives, and delete entire sentences and paragraphs that distract from the story or fail to reinforce your main point.
6. Add images
Words are just one part of a two-pronged tool set for creating great content. Images that reflect an organization's mission are equally important, as they add an emotional dimension to your copy. The good news is sites like Flickr make it possible to find beautiful and compelling images, often for free. Make it a practice to use images in your copy, and see what happens. Just be sure to give the proper attribution to the photographer and get permission when required.
Bonus: Use metaphors
Metaphors are an important part of every writer's tool kit. They can make your writing come alive and help you create a deeper connection with your readers. However, using metaphors is tricky because sometimes they just don't work. Instead of choosing obscure references, use universal themes — e.g., David and Goliath, the Horatio Alger story, etc. — to reinforce your point. On the other hand, avoid using cheesy metaphors that are overplayed, like reaching the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you're not sure whether or not a metaphor is muddling your narrative or making it better, run it by a colleague.