5 Easy Tips to Improve Writing with Just One Word

Writing better copy can be as simple as changing a single word. Here’s how.

1. “You”

Self-reflective pronouns

“You” is a powerful word that puts your reader into your story. Engage the reader and appeal to the one priority we all have in common: “yourself.” It’s our most basic desire, and primal need.

Forbes says to make sure at least 80% of your copy is about the reader “you,” and no more than 20% should refer to the actual you, be it the writer, the brand or the company.

2. “Liven”

Action verbs

This is the simplest, strongest way to make any type of writing more exciting.

“It is more lively.”
“It livens up the sentence.”

“Livens” builds a more compelling sentence. It’s a stronger, more memorable verb because it implies action. The “it” isn’t just being lively, it is actively doing the livening.

In Poynter’s “Greatest Writing Tips the World has Ever Seen,” the writing authority suggests editing out every bland “are,” “is,” “were” and “was” in your copy.

3. “Small”

Perspective-providing descriptors

CMU researchers found that 1 word could increase sales. A “small $5 fee” instead of just a “$5 fee” snagged 20% more customers.

It’s a simple addition, and it’s accurate. Almost everyone would consider $5 a small fee in most contexts. Putting things into perspective can remind people of what they already know, without waiting for them (or counting on them) to reason through it.

4. “Rough”

Sensory adjectives

Another quick upgrade is to provide your adjectives. Paint a picture by appealing to the senses. Words that remind you of using your senses bring those concrete experiences to mind as you read, making your mental associations more vivid and memorable.

The Neuroscience Marketing blog reminds us that this technique is effective even when you aren’t trying to appeal to that particular sense at all.

5. “Because”

Persuasive conjunctions

Build trust with your audience by being transparent. Why should they trust you? “Because…”

Prove it. Don’t just make statements, back up what you say and justify your thoughts. Don’t leave your readers with questions; show the depth of your knowledge and answer them. Address and clear up concerns to make your point stronger.

As Copyblogger will tell you, building trust relationships is the cornerstone of content marketing. You have to earn that trust.

What are your 1-word writing tips?