Lessons from a classic advert

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Photo by Cliff Johnson on Unsplash

I remembered watching this particular advertisement when I was a kid. They had this catchy slogan- style, quality, excellence– that’s stuck in my head, even till this very day.

Well, never mind that the product they were advertising was highly inappropriate –  cigarettes (gasp!).  But man, do these words ring true! I have, throughout my writing life, often reminded myself, how crucial it is to deliver a top-notch work that reflects these very same words.

So, what is style?
The good news is, one’s writing style is not something you are born with.  It can be learned.  To develop your own style, begin by harnessing what is inside you – your innate personality and capabilities.  Develop your own voice and tone. (This calls for a separate blog another day).  Think about who you are writing for,  imagine what they are like and how you want them to respond to what you write.  Keep your words simple –  free from grammatical,  sentence construction and spelling errors.  Keep it real.  Don’t force another’s style into your writing or you will end up with incoherent ramblings.

Someone once told me to always write authentically.   Be yourself when you write, they said. Right. But, as a novice writer, where (and how) in the world am I supposed to find my own style? Thankfully, after hundreds of drafts, I believe I’ve found my groove; a style that principally identifies with me.  The key is to let the passion inside of you exude into your work and influence your choice of words.  Allow what we write to be enriched by our beliefs, our experiences and even our eccentric expressions.

What about quality content?
Did you read about how Apple is planning to invest over US$1 billion on original content? Or how the other big players Google, Facebook and Amazon are each spending significant dollars on original video contents, too? The future of content marketing trend is all about consistent, original and addictive content!

In writing, original contents are in demand. Organisations look for that special breed of  writers whom understands and turn unique ideas into results. These writers help establish organisations as experts in their niche and help widen their influence.  Original contents garner more mentions, shares, likes in the social media and gets you the attention quicker than any other reshared or copied content.

Excellence- at the heart of every writer
I rarely release any work without first going through my toughest critic – me.  I diligently complete my drafts, rereading and scraping away ideas that didn’t quite made sense after a second read.  I love my readers, so I made a point to connect with them by writing something they’ll enjoy reading.  Facts are researched responsibly and inspirations are caught from reading, interactions and even watching some television. Excellence, too is that incredible willingness to work hard- to have the discipline to sit down every morning to write even when the flesh is weak.

How do you find your style? Where do you find your inspirations for quality content? What habits do you instill to be a good writer? Share by leaving a comment below.

 

 

 

Excuse me, can you spell?

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Remember back in school? How the teachers made us write 20 word corrections for every wrong word in a spelling test? Oh, how we dreaded those days! 

I mean, back in our school days, spelling was the least of our concern. As long as our sentences made sense, and we got the facts right, who would mind a couple of misspelt words, right?  

Wrong.  

As I write more, I became acutely aware of how important spelling is.  To borrow a baker’s expression: good spelling is like the beautiful icing on a cake – decorated to be pleasing to the eyes and lends a tinge of sweetness to the cake.  Similarly in a story, good spelling gives a sense of grandiose to the tale. It captures the reader’s attention as it takes them flawlessly into a world of imagination. It helps create a flow without halting the story unnecessarily. 

Now, try reading something riddled with spelling errors. 

“Oncee apon a tine, they was a famili of rabits that luv to hont for juicy carotts in Farrmer Billy’s vegitable farm.  They will go out in the evenins; in the rain, in the sun, in the planes where there’s lots of fun. ” 

Difficult to read, wasn’t it? And almost, impossible to enjoy it.      

No room for error 
Have you browsed a corporate website and discovered it is filled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes?  In Branding Beat, Krysten Ledger wrote that “Studies have shown that just one spelling mistake on a website can cut a company’s online sales in half.”  Naturally.   If a company cares little about presenting their best on the website, which includes, getting their spelling and grammar right, then you can expect that they wouldn’t care much too about the quality of service or products they are offering. 

Correspondents riddled with bad punctuation and spelling mistakes are dreadful to read. Often bad spelling thwarts the meaning of the message.  Look at emails, memos, letters- all infiltrated by short forms (or I like to call them short-cuts) of the English language.  You’ll find words, such as “uolls – you all”, “bcoz” –  because,  “pse – please”, “tq – thank you” among others, commonly used in short messaging system but certainly unacceptable in formal correspondents. 

In business there’s just no room for error in spellings and short-cuts to words as the brand image is at stake.  It pays to get a polished write up that presents you and your brand in the best way possible. 

Loose it or lose it? 
Surely the fail-proof auto-spelling check function in the computer is a big help?  Believe it or not, it has betrayed me on numerous occasions.  Once, in a haste, I wrote an article about the need to move forward and loose the negativity.  Yes, you spotted it.  It should’ve been “lose” the negativity.  There was also the time when I wrote about big rad apples instead of “red” apples.  Both these words escaped the auto-spelling check which accepted them as correct, despite not being rightly used in its context.  If you ask me, I’ll say, lose the auto-spelling check.  A more effective way to spot spelling mistakes is to read the article over and over again, preferably by a different set of eyes – hence, the “four eye” principle.  Read and check the words in its context. Spot the error while preserving the meaning of the sentence and keeping the story in its entirety. 

Could it save lives?
I wouldn’t dare say that a great spelling save lives.  But close enough, it saves you from awkward and embarrassing situations.  I once had a friend who lost her loved one, and she posted her great sense of loss on the social media.  A well-meaning tribute came in. But, it sounded terribly wrong.  It went like this,  “We feel so sad about your loss. May his sole rest in peace”.   

What do you think?  Have you had your encounter with misspelt words? Share with me by leaving a comment below.