Thursday, January 3, 2013

Write Like an Expert

Book review of How to Write like an Expert about Anything - Bring Factual Accuracy and the Voice of Authority to Your Writing by Hank Nuwer (published 1995 by Writer's Digest Books).

Many developers have found that they can increase their website traffic by including a large library of well-written, well-targeted articles, whitepapers, and case studies on their software sites. "How to Write like an Expert About Anything" provides insights into crafting well-structured, authoritative articles that will attract website visitors, and increase software sales.

I believe that all professionals in the software development industry would benefit by creating a library of articles, whitepapers, and case studies for our websites. When the search engines find well-written, keyword-rich content on our sites, they index it and send more traffic to our web pages. And when human visitors find information that they find useful, they're more likely to buy our products and services.

"How to Write like an Expert about Anything" presents lots of ideas for making our articles and whitepapers more effective.

To start writing like an expert, Nuwer tells us, we have to identify the experts in our field. Read their printed work. Interview them.

You need to develop a voice of authority. This voice of authority has to permeate all of your writing. Absent this voice, your writing will seem confusing and confused to your readers.

You can't simply give your readers a bunch of unorganized facts. You have to understand the subject matter, and present it logically.

In my opinion, this need for organization applies to both human visitors to your website, and to the search engines' crawlers. If you just dump hundreds of keyword-rich pages onto your website, Google and the other search engines won't be able to sort everything out effectively. On your website, "organization" means "siloing."

"How to Write like an Expert about Anything" is full of practical advice that software developers can use to make their sales presentations more effective. For example, Nuwer urges us to tell our readers about our experiences and credentials. Readers in general, and prospects in particular, will be inclined to believe us if they realize that we have good reasons for knowing our subject.

I've found that people like to buy from other people whose backgrounds are similar to their own. If you're marketing home educational software that you developed for your own children, say so in your sales presentation. Your prospects will relate to your life experience, and they'll feel comfortable buying from you.

"Nothing is over the heads of my readers," Nuwer explains, "unless I put it out of reach by my own ineptness."

Like many of the books published by Writer's Digest Books, this volume doesn't pretend to have all of the answers to every writer's problems. Rather, it presents the ideas of one experienced writer on how to solve some problems that every writer faces.

"How to Write like an Expert about Anything" is an easy read. And it will help you craft more convincing sales presentations.

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