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Five secrets to good writing

2 min read

Five secrets to good writing

Are you a mortgage broker using confusing terms specific to the property industry like LMI and LVR? Or a financial adviser speaking about liquidity coverage ratios or quantitative trading? 

If so, readers may struggle to understand your writing.

Good writers think of their audience and keep things simple, by following these five rules:

 

1. Use fewer words

People have short attention spans, so get to the point quickly. Don’t use 12 words when 10 will do. 

For example, a mortgage broker should write “I can get you a home loan within a week” instead of “I can help you get finance for your home within a week”.

 

2. Use short paragraphs, not big blocks of text

Readers get intimidated by long paragraphs because they seem like hard work. Long paragraphs are also difficult to skim – which is what most readers do.

The harder readers have to work, the more likely they’ll stop reading. So make things easier for them by breaking up the text.

Hunter & Scribe’s style is to use bullet points, headings and short paragraphs, which is easy to skim or read (like this article).

 

3. Use full-stops, not commas

A sentence is too long when it has too many thoughts separated by commas, not when it has too many words.

Here’s an example of a sentence with too many thoughts:

Peter decided to walk to the grocery store, because he wanted to buy a house within walking distance of a grocery store and the real estate agent had said the house Peter was thinking of buying was five minutes away from one, but it looked further away so maybe she had meant five minutes by car.

If you put every thought into its own sentence, readers won’t get confused. Here’s how Hunter & Scribe would write the sentence: 

The real estate agent had said this house was five minutes from a grocery store, which was what Peter wanted. But they looked further apart, so Peter walked from the house to the store to check.

 

4. Use small words, not big words

Readers are more likely to be confused than impressed if you use big words.

Take the sentence below:

The accountant explicated to the entrepreneur that his net current assets were negative which would create an impediment to his application for additional finance having a favourable outcome.

Now compare it to how Hunter & Scribe would write it: 

The accountant said the business had more current liabilities than assets, so the owner might struggle to get more finance.

Good writing, as used by Hunter & Scribe, simplifies the text so anyone can understand it. 

 

5. Use English, not jargon

Most readers won’t be impressed by acronyms and buzzwords – they’ll be confused.

For example, real estate agents confuse buyers when they say their homes contain BIRs or can be modified STCA. They might get a better response saying the homes have built-in ’robes or can be modified with council approval.

Property professionals should also avoid words that are unnecessarily complex. For example, a real estate agent’s listing presentation should be ‘detailed’, not ‘granular’. A lender’s customers should apply for a home loan, not ‘leverage an opportunity’.

 

Make the change

Now you know how to write, look at your website and see if its content can be improved.

Need help with that? Hunter & Scribe can edit or rewrite your content. We specialise in translating property and finance jargon into plain English. Contact us for more information.

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