Whether you write blog posts or sales letters or essays about your political passion, your writing will have the most impact if you actually show up on the page or the screen.

It’s always been that way; it’s even more so today because we’re all inundated with things to read. The challenge for each of us is to cut through the clutter.

If you want your writing to stand out, it better be good. And, for lack of a less-overused word, it really better be authentic.

So many people struggle with writing for their business. And so much business writing is boring as can be. Even if you’re interested in the subject, it’s deadly having to wade through the blahblah.

One solution is to hire a pro.

A friend in marketing writes for her clients and she’d like to do less of it. But she’s hired writers in the past; turns out it’s not that easy to find a good one. She even wondered if I’d like to tackle the assignment.

Um, no. As much as I enjoy writing to you every week, I think I’d be terrible at doing someone else’s newsletter or social media posts.

I’ve been writing in my own voice for so long—going back to my radio days—I honestly don’t know how to write in someone else’s voice. And channeling their client is exactly what good copywriters do.

If you decide to bring in a professional, look for someone who can connect you with your readers.

Whether you pay someone to write for you or do it the old fashioned way with your own fingers on the keyboard, your copy should sound exactly like you.

DIY? You can still get help.

My LinkedIn profile desperately needs refreshing. And I can’t quite figure out exactly what to say. (Ironic, isn’t it? I’m terrific at guiding other people to the right words.)

So I called my wordsmith friend Gregory Ann Cox for brainstorming backup. Boy, did that help!

Another friend hit SEND on her first newsletter not long ago. Melissa Lagowski’s growing her Big Buzz Idea Group, keeping in regular touch with clients and prospects. I’ve learned a lot about this newsletter thing in the past few years; we had lunch so I could share it with her.

And Karen Hand and I regularly ask each other to put an eyeball on something we’re writing. The outside perspective is invaluable in terms of clarity and creativity. (Not to mention Karen’s eagle eye for typos.)

If you don’t have someone to bounce your writing off of, consider striking up a relationship like that. It’ll be good for both of you. And for your readers!

Your tone is monumental.

Yes, of course, the information you convey is important. But in the same way body language has a huge influence on how people respond to your speaking, the tone of your writing will determine how it’s received.

I bet you can guess how I reacted to an email selling a coaching program that basically said I’m an idiot if I don’t sign up.

The whole diatribe was in all-caps. My reaction? You can’t bully me into buying.

Fact is, his program might be great for me. We’ll never find out because his tone was so off-putting. And I should qualify that. It made me reach for the “Delete” key; someone else might have said, “This is the perfect guy for me.”

That points to the take-away for you. Know who’s going to read your writing, or who you want to connect with when you write. Choose your language and your tone accordingly.

Write with the reader in mind.

One way to do that is to literally make a mental picture of someone who’s going to read what you’re writing. Sometimes that’s one person, or it might be a prototype representing group of readers.

Imagine that reader. What does that person need from you? How should you write to get the response you’re hoping for?

Here’s a sure-fire way to put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Start everything you write with the word “you.”

Skip over “I’m excited to tell you about …” and “I’m proud to announce …” and “I just wanted to let you know…”

The truth is, most readers don’t care how excited or proud you are or what you just wanted.

Get right to the heart of things by starting with them instead of you. It’ll change everything about the way people read your article or pitch or letter to the editor.

I have a lot of nerve, don’t I?

Here I am, a talker not a writer, and I’m writing…about writing. I have an idea for you. If you want to learn more from an actual expert, come to On the Page and On the Stage.

You’ll hear me stick to my knitting. I’ll share the secrets of a powerful presence at the front of the room so you can have more influence no matter what kind of group you’re speaking to.

And my fabulous writer friend Kelly Epperson will guide you to get going on that book you know you want to write. You’ll find out how to formulate your thoughts. How to put your beliefs and your brilliance into the written word. (Yes, it works for blogs and essays and copy for your website too.)

All that, plus a day full of fun. I know some of the people who’ve already registered and I can promise you a delightful experience at Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove Village on Friday, March 10.

Sign up now so you can join us and start to shine On the Page and On the Stage.

And post a comment below to share your thoughts about writing that works.