As I mentioned last time, I read more than ever. At least some of that is because I feel like I have more to read than ever. Whether you are just trying to make your opinions known, or to boost your search rankings through content marketing, good writing is more important than ever. Step 1 for readers? Is this piece going to be tolerable to get through.
I grade a lot of writing (really, really feeling it this Exam week!). Here are the general criteria I use:
Is the writing form appropriate for the topic? If you are reporting data, sentences with a lot of numbers in them just don’t make sense. If you explaining a funeral home’s services, opening with a joke about zombies* might not be the most tasteful approach.
Is the writing form appropriate for the audience? One of my biggest pet peeve in this is billboards. I am not going to remember a lengthy URL from one. I remember one from a college that used the college’s initials as white in the black words let it be. They were getting at the fact that they speak “words of wisdom”, but I passed that billboard every day for 8 months, frequently as a passenger, before I got it. There’s two issues here: what the audience WANTS to know and what the audience CAN understand.
Are the facts straight? There are two factors here: accuracy and logic. Good writing uses both. Writing that doesn’t makes me hate you.
Are the tools of language used properly? Jokes about grammar police and nazis aside, readers totally judge you on this. If you can’t get the commas right, how can I trust that you got the facts straight?
Note that all of the above are basic level issues. In my classes, do that right and you get a B. To get an A, you have to be interesting, too, and that’s a whole different challenge.
*What’s a zombie’s favorite lunch? Manwiches.