Cool Tools to Help You Write Well
I write a lot about content marketing and other online marketing-related topics. Today’s post, however, is for just about anybody who needs to communicate in business. It’s all about how to become a better writer using free or inexpensive tools.
These days you need to communicate well in writing regardless of what position you have. Day-to-day communication with colleagues, bosses, vendors, and clients involves email. If you’re looking for a new job, you need a well-written resume. You should also be able to network on sites like LinkedIn to win your next job. Poor grammar and misspellings can leave a less-than-stellar impression.
Don’t worry if your writing is only so-so. You don’t have to hire a personal editor, and you don’t even need to go back to English 101. Instead, try these easy-to-use tools to improve your writing.
How to Become a Better Writer with Technology
Are Grammar and Punctuation Your Enemy?
Even the best writers suffer from grammar and punctuation goofs. A good proofreader will usually catch those errors for you. But what if you don’t have a buddy to proofread your copy and tell you how to become a better writer? That’s when Grammarly totally kicks butt!
Grammarly helps identify misspellings, grammar errors, comma splices, and other punctuation mishaps. You can use the free version or go with a premium plan. Grammarly works right here in my content management system. It also integrates with Microsoft Office and works with other online programs, too.
Do You Use Too Many Words or Complex Sentences?
When you think about how to become a better writer, maybe you think, “I’ll use bigger words or write lengthier sentences.” Not so fast. The unfortunate truth is this: 50% of adults cannot read at an eighth-grade level. (Source: Literacy Project Foundation)
If you are writing for a general audience, write to get your message across. Fancy vocabulary may scare away your prospects or confuse the people you are trying to persuade. Also, if you don’t have a firm handle on how to use those fancy words, you may come off sounding dumb.
Maybe you naturally ramble on in your writing. Or, you got in the habit of writing long, complex sentences to hit a word count for your theme papers. It’s a hard habit to break, but there’s a great tool to help you with that! It’s called Hemingway.
Hemingway evaluates your writing and lets you know the grade level your audience would need to understand your content. Depending on your audience, you may want to shoot for 8th — 10th-grade level. With Hemingway, you can figure out how complex (or simple) your writing is.
Hemingway’s online app is free to use, or you can download the Windows or Mac desktop app for $19.99.
Do Your Emails Fall Flat?
Social media, texting, IM, and Slack are growing channels for written communication. But in business, email is still one of the primary means of delivering information.
Our short and casual IM and text messages have made some of us a little sloppy with email these days. What if you could have a proofreader give you advice right there in Gmail? Thanks to Boomerang’s Respondable feature, you can.
While you write your email, Respondable’s algorithms predict how likely it is that your message will get a response. The tool provides an easy-to-understand analysis in real time. Get advice on tone and write with the best language for your intended audience.
There are free and paid plans.
What Tools Do You Use to Become a Better Writer?
These tools aren’t the only game in town. Maybe you’ve got a suggestion for a mind-blowing writing improvement platform or plugin. Share it in the comments below.