Would you like to know ONE word to improve your ability to create compelling, engaging Storytelling posts, marketing, whatever? Spend a few minutes to hear what, how and why to use these proven guidelines to help your words convey your message, story or call to action.
Formatting. That’s the special word. There’s much more, but these are essential. Guaranteed to help you appear more professional.
This wild punk cares about being a pro. Little things matter. Be that someone who cares about communication.
Ok, here’s the short list. BUT if you want to know more about these guidelines, aka rules, give the 10 minute audio a listen. Sometimes knowing WHY these rules exist reminds us why to use these simple concepts.
This is YOUR business, YOUR life. But YOUR competition is paying heed to these tried and true, PROVEN foundational rules about reading, understanding, remembering and taking action. Here’s to your success!
1 – Centered text: Just DO NOT DO IT.
Only time to center text: headlines, headers, subheaders, section titles, pull quotes, photo captions, social media images. NOT blocks of text in a long document.
Line text against left margin or “Left Aligned” for ALL informational, how-to, storytelling posts, pages, downloadables, whatever.
2 – SHORT paragraphs. We read in short blocks of text these days. Even my short paragraphs here will appear much longer on a phone.
We eat bite by bite, right? We read bite by bite too. Easier to digest.
3 – EXTRA RETURN AT END OF PARAGRAPHS. You bet I’m yelling.
STOP creating big blocks of text. Depending upon what software or platform you are using, you need to either hit the Return or Enter key TWICE or Shift + Return/Enter TWICE.
Some software will automatically give you extra line spacing or paragraph spacing.*
I’m using WordPress. Hitting my Return key automatically creates extra line space.
(*Yes, I know line spacing and paragraph spacing are technically two different actions, but keeping it simple and generic here).
4 – Lists: LEFT Aligned. LEFT Aligned. LEFT Aligned. List of tools, ingredients, art supplies, food, whatever. LEFT Aligned.
Depending upon software or platform, you might be able to indent or move the text closer to the center. Move the LEFT Aligned list in a bit to it looks more balanced on the page.
Some graphics programs allow you to create a separate block of text you can literally move. Other programs allow you to use indent and/or tab keys or setting.
IF you do not know how, Google it. I learn a ton that way. I use Google more than anything else.
If all else fails, write the software company.
5 – Instructions: NUMBER each step.
ONLY one step per number. Don’t tell people to do more than one thing per number.
Of course, use your discretion. But people read from the left. Subsequent actions read better on a new, numbered line.
6 – LOOK at books and magazines: children’s, Young Adult and Adults. Go to libraries, bookstores, online and whatever you have around you. Show me where these rules are ignored.
I’m still waiting. Please just follow what works, ok! I wish you success. I say this as a reader and writer who cringes when information, stories and more are badly formatted regarding these simple, basic, proven rules.
6 – Took hours to make this 10 minute audio. I tend to be detailed. I cut to the chase as much as I could, without taking the heart and soul out of this lesson. Lots of history, lots of examples
7 – Lots more about formatting. Starting with small bites. Rinse and repeat. 😉