Do better, dear writer.

I’ve been looking to hire a writer for emdash. So reading a lot of writing sent as samples / portfolio etc. In the corporate content world, even those who think of themselves as good writers write some inane pointless shit, I wonder who do they think reads it! Even where the idea is interesting, the writing is scraping the bottom of the barrel. It aches my heart to think that no one told these writers — some with 7-8 years of experience — that their writing is thoughtless.

The problem, I think, is thoughtlessness, not competence. Why this sentence? Why this word? Why bullets and not a visual? Why this example and not that? If you wrote every sentence with thought and care, you’d be far better than you currently are.

Today, I’m breaking the publishing schedule to insert this blog post. I discuss a few common mistakes I see, and how you can fix them. This is not about grammar / syntax, but about writing content that gets read.

Keep the audience in mind

Know who you’re writing for. If it’s a CTO who has to decide on a financial investment on your product, don’t write peppy social media messages that would attract bored 16-year-olds.

I have a persona card for all my client’s customers, which answers the following questions:

  • How old are they?

  • What is their job / position?

  • How much power do they have in making / influencing purchase decision?

  • What are their main challenges?

  • How are they currently solving them?

  • What’s on their wishlist?

  • Who do they trust for advice?

  • How willing are they to change?

Not all these questions might be applicable in all cases. But I review every sentence I write to evaluate if it will be well-received by that persona. If you’re just starting to write, jot down your customer persona on a flash card and stick it on your wall!


Don’t send anything without putting a title on it. The publisher might not use it, but indicate what you think is a good title.

  • Write this last.

  • Write at least 5 titles before choosing one (more the better).


This is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your article. If I read your first paragraph and get generic trash like, “in this fast-paced world, digital transformation is critical for every enterprise, without which they will be left behind in the rat race of startups” or some such, I’ll not read you further.

  • Make it relatable. Hook the reader; draw from their life experiences and address their challenges.

  • Make it different. If you’ve read it elsewhere, try something else.

  • Make it sharp. Don’t use long convoluted sentences. Keep them crisp and warm the audience up for more complex reading later in the article.

  • Use numbers. Quote research to demonstrate the quantum of impact. But don’t use “we create 17563830 trillion pieces of data everyday” — it means nothing. Make it relevant to your reader. Also corroborate your sources.

  • Use synecdoches. This is my favourite, so much so that I overuse it. (If you don’t know what it is, Google.)

  • GET TO THE POINT. If you take 300 words to tell me what’s your point, I’ll never get it, because I will not give you that much time. Within the first para, tell me what you’re going to convince me of.

  • Use your vocabulary. Empower, enable, transform etc. are overused in corporate lingo. In some cases, they are unavoidable. But re-write to use different words.

Structure of your article

You can do this in myriad ways — essays, listicles, comparisons etc. Choose a structure and stick to it.

  • Make your sections parallel. (Also Google)

  • Write like you care, don’t obfuscate. If you can’t be straight about your argument, you’re not ready to make it!

  • Make it specific. Do not go on and on in generic language. Examples are helpful. So are hypothetical scenarios similar to the users’ experiences.

  • If you can avoid it, avoid abbreviations, especially uncommon / brand-specific ones.

  • Write only one point per paragraph. Break your para when you’ve made that one point. (My college thesis advisor taught me this. I was a terrible terrible writer in college. Just saying.)

  • Sentences need to flow from one to another. So do paragraphs. Don’t write disparate ideas without connection. Move the reader smoothly from one step to the next.

  • Use different formats to break monotony. Insert a bullet list, a graph / table, headings, blurb etc.

  • Don’t forget that you have to be relatable and relevant as you go along.

  • Cut out words that are redundant. I know you’re getting paid by the word, but that para where you say the same thing in 3 different ways is embarrassing.

  • Don’t lose interest as you write. It shows when your last 3 paras make no sense.


  • Summarise without being repetitive. If you’re using the same words you’ve already used before, you’re being unimaginative.

  • Reiterate your point, make it impactful this time. Leave the reader with a thought.


  • Don’t Capitalize randomly. It doesn’t Show importance, only Immaturity.

  • Google the words / phrases you’re using. Words have specific meanings — some might not be what you think. ‘Knock it off’ is not short for ‘knock it off the park’.

  • Your boss / client might not be a writer, so their approval doesn’t make you a good writer. Understand this and get help.

Have some pride. Whatever you do, make it the best you possibly can. You’re a writer, for your own sake, attract, engage, educate and move the reader!