6 clever tools to help you write killer emails & blogs
I have a little confession. Sometimes I can be a bit lazy about writing emails. I readily admit that half the time the emails I send out tend to be rush jobs. I don't tend to rush my blog posts as much, but often I'm so eager to get it out there, I throw some words on the page, have a quick skim to make sure it makes sense(ish) and then hit the send button. It’s always after, that I take a proper read and notice the stupid typos I made or how many silly grammar errors there are, or how long and tangly my sentences are, making them virtually unreadable.
It’s not that I don’t know better, per se, but too often my mind is like a suped up sports car, running 100 miles an hour but my capacity to actually get things done is more like a family sedan, pottering along in the slow lane, stopping off to do a dozen different errands on the way.
So my solution to this was either slow down and take the time to write things with more thought and care or…….find an app for that! I found 6 apps that can help me (and you) write better emails and content without having to spend an age reviewing and analysing every line!
(By the way, just joking a little above – I do want to take more care writing my emails and blogs and think I should slow down – but if there’s something out there to make that process easier, I’m all over that!)
It’s possible you’ve heard of Grammarly before, but you may not be using it. Grammarly claims to be able to find and correct up to 10x more mistakes in your copy than a humble word processor can. It’s great for reminding you when you’ve used a word in the wrong context and can suggest a more appropriate alternative. It’s like having an English professor on hand at all times, but rather than marking you down with big fat red crosses and making you feel inadequate, Grammarly gives you the answers and pats you on the back.
Grammarly is an Add-On to the Chrome browser and once it’s installed you can use Grammarly wherever you’re writing. Whether it be in Gmail or on Facebook, Grammarly’s got your back!
Wikipedia states: “A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.”
Eww! Trite or irritating? You definitely don’t want that when you’re trying to compose the perfect pitch to clients! But how do you avoid clichés when they’ve become so ingrained in your head? Introducing Cliché Finder! Just paste your text into the space provided, hit “Find Clichés” and voila! Up pops all possible cringe-worthy clichés in red so you can eyeball them and decide if they need to be re-written in a simpler and fresher way.
Did you know that only 62% of people who click on an article will actually end up reading past the headline? Scary stat, hey! Whether you’re writing an email subject line or a killer blog post title, you want it to inspire your reader to read further. Headline Analyzer is a free tool from CoSchedule. You paste your headline or subject line into the box and press the 'Analyze Now' button and presto – you get a report card of how good your headline really is. It will highlight what words you’ve done well and what you could add to make it really good. It also analyses the overall sentiment of your title (is it happy and positive for example) and checks to see if it’s too long to be effective.
One of the coolest features of the analysis (I think) is it shows you a preview of how your headline will look in a Google search or email preview. If all the best parts of your headline are being cut off due to the length, you might want to consider rephrasing or changing the order of your key words.
How many times have you started an email “I’m just writing because…”? The Just Not Sorry app is a free Gmail extension and is aimed at women who tend to undermine their own words with excessive deference. Sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat and we automatically use self-deprecating language is our communications. If you’re wanting to come across as confident, strong and like a kick-ass leader, this app can help. It highlights phrases you’ve used in your copy, just like a spelling error. You can go back and rephrase or delete as needed. It’s still a relatively new app but it's proving to be very popular.
You know how sometimes you make a joke in an email and it falls flat….very, very flat. It just didn’t translate. Every person has a different way of communicating and you need to be speaking their language to be most effective. The trick to doing this? Write with empathy. Crystal is a service that creates unique personality profiles for people with an online presence, preparing you to speak or write in someone else's natural communication style.
Basically, Crystal will do a bit of cyber-stalking for you, and will find every scrap of info they can find on your target (I mean client), from comments they left on a blog post to their twitter feed. It analyses the way they write, the tone they use, the words they use and then gives you a profile with insight into that person’s personality and style. Then it gives you hints on how to speak, email, work with or sell to them most effectively. It even has things like email templates you can use based on their personality. There’s a basic, free version of this app but the really powerful tools are available for a fee. If you regularly write sales emails or do sales pitches, this is a definite must see!
We can’t all be literary geniuses. Like the legendary author’s punchy style, the Hemingway Editor claims to make your writing bold and clear. The free app will highlight sentences that are difficult to read, passive voice, adverbs, and overly complicated phrases. For example, if you see a red highlight, your sentence is so complicated that your readers will get lost!
Do you use any tools to make writing emails and content easier? Let us know in the comments!