Writing With Consistency
While you must adhere to the rules of grammar when you write copy, you do have some flexibility when it comes to style issues. If your company doesn’t have a style guide, you must make a few decisions before you start each writing project–and everyone who serves as an author or reviewer must be aware of them for the sake of consistency. Here are the items I discuss with clients before I draft copy for them:
- Using commas. You’re either a serial comma fan, or you’re not. Choose the style you prefer: “red, white, and blue” or “red, white and blue.”
- Using contractions. As you might be able to tell, I love contractions. You may not. I think using them makes copy “zippier” and friendlier. They’re also considered somewhat casual, so those who prefer a more formal style may choose not to use them, i.e., cannot vs. can’t, will not vs. won’t, etc.
- Capitalization. Proper nouns should be capitalized (e.g., Laura Moch DeGrandis, Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field); “regular” nouns should be lowercase (e.g., my sister, a professional baseball team, a historic stadium). Your company may have product names you routinely capitalize and that’s OK–as long as you’re consistent–but be careful about capitalizing words as a way to emphasize them (something I fail to understand).
- Company-specific word choices. Your company may be particular about word use, even when its options mean the same thing. For instance, you may call employees team members, staff or personnel, and I have a new client that prefers to use “physician” instead of “doctor.” You’re well within your rights to produce your own word use guide–but be sure you stick to it.
When you write with consistent style, your copy will be more professional and you’ll have a better chance of getting your message across.
September 1 will be my nine-year anniversary as a sole proprietor. My journey as an entrepreneur has been mostly successful, but along the way I’ve felt uncertain, disappointed and even fearful–emotions that have probably been experienced by everyone who works for themselves. A huge thank you to everyone who’s helped me over the years; your support has been invaluable.
Write for SEO
SEO experts are tasked with determining what website owners can do to gain high rankings on search engines. I’ve always thought the secret is well-written copy, and after discovering I’m the first writer who comes up when you Google “writer San Diego,” I suspect I may be right.
Know someone who needs a book editor or a company that can benefit from using my writing or editing services? Your referrals will be greatly appreciated.
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