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How To Tell Your Story With Words

10 Dec 2017
By New Zealand Story Group
How to tell your story with words

Whatever it is you’re exporting and wherever you’re exporting it to, chances are you or someone in your team will be writing quite regularly. Words have the power to convince or confuse, so it’s important to get them right. In this blog, we’ve put together ten tips for better writing and ways to tell your story.

1. Make a plan 

It sounds simple, but this is the easiest step to miss. Just a few notes before you start can help make things clear in your mind - and that makes things clearer when you write. 

2. Know your audience 

Lots of people read your story, but only one at a time. So instead of writing for 'everyone', focus on just one person. And the more you know about him or her, the better. 

3. Put yourself in your customer's shoes 

If you were them, what would you want to read and why? Your story will appeal to some but not to others. So find a reason why people will be interested in your story and what you write. 

4. Write it like you say it 

People don't usually talk with long words or over-the-top language. So try and keep your writing simple too. Imagine you're speaking to someone face-to-face, rather than writing an advertising piece. 

5. Use short sentences 

It's easier and better to use short sentences. So avoid a heavy block of text. Two or three short sentences will nearly always be easier to read than a single long one. Like this. 

6. Try and make it flow 

Think of communication like a river. Sentences form stepping stones to cross it. Every sentence should build on the previous one and help you move on to the next part of the story. 

7. Less is more 

Once you're done, read everything and see if you can cut anything out. Chances are you've used 30-40% too many words. (Everyone does it. And editing is always part of the process.) 

8. Get someone else to read it 

This is vital. Firstly, it's hard to spot your own mistakes. But also, someone else can tell you if they get it. That can be anyone. The less they know about the topic, the better. 

9. Read other people's work 

The best way to develop your writing is to read other people's work. Look at the tricks and tips they use to draw you in, as well as the ways they get their message across. 

10. Relax and enjoy it 

This seems odd, but can make all the difference. Just like a painter who needs to be 'in the zone' to create, your readers can really tell when you’ve enjoyed writing something. It’s fun.

Not sure where to start? Come along and join one of our free interactive workshops which are designed to help kiwi exporter begin crafting their own New Zealand story for international markets.