If you’re in business you’re a writer. Text, email, and social media are text-based. You can write a whole sentence using emoticons 😝 and acronyms IMHO (in my humble opinion) but unambiguous business writing requires a command of the language. Good news: writing tools can help you with English, whether the language is new to you or you’re an experienced writer.
One of the first posts I wrote covered a few basic writing tools: Grammarly, Hemingway App, and the old standbys: the thesaurus and the dictionary. I still use them frequently although I’ve discovered other tools to help me build skills, check the quality of my work, and even inspire me. Here are some of my recent favorites. I hope you find them useful, too.
Gather Ideas and Inspiration
- The Etymology Dictionary is for word nerds. Enter a word or phrase and find out how it originated. Great for research—and for understanding where today’s vocabulary came from.
- Use Answer The Public (answerthepublic.com) for an idea generator. Enter keywords and discover the most popular searches. ATP pulls data from Google searches and may give you ideas for your next article.
Polish Email and Simplify Social Media
- I use Grammarly every day for on-the-go checks of my writing, especially on my iPhone and iPad. ProWritingAid is similar, though the free version seems more robust than Grammarly. The statistics and ever-so-helpful suggestions for change can overwhelm, however, and may not be valuable to you.
- CoSchedule (coschedule.com) offers a free headline analyzer tool. I use it for punching up email subject lines and blog titles. Shoot for a score of 70 or higher.
- Have you ever grappled for new ways to say the same thing? Check out Related Words when you don’t exactly want a synonym or you’re looking for a different way to phrase something.
- If you do a lot of social media posting, look at PromoRepublic for scheduling your posts. It’s reasonably priced and well worth it for the treasure trove of ideas, content, and templates that save time and help you create eye-catching graphics.
Create Eye-Catching Data Visualisations
If you’re a data wonk, Onomics offers free data visualizations. I haven’t needed to use it yet, but it came to me highly recommended and I’m looking for an excuse to dive in.
Writing Tools Help But They Don’t Write For You
Writing is a creative process. Sometimes you break the rules deliberately. Your style of writing is your style of writing. Yes, there are rules, best practices, and the right way to use punctuation. And if everyone followed the rules, we wouldn’t have Ulysses by James Joyce, Catcher in the Rye by Holden Caulfield, or anything by Ernest Hemingway.
Writing tools are just that: tools. They catch errors and generate suggestions. Use that information wisely but don’t let it rule your writing.
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Better yet, I give a talk with practical suggestions to help businesspeople become better writers. It’s loaded with simple tips and will help you see improvements right away. Interested in learning more? Contact me and let’s talk.