Welcome to another post in the Content Creator Basics series. Here, we’ll share our go-to tips for flexing your freelance writer muscles—whether you’re writing content for someone else or for your own blog. Check in each month for more tips to sharpen your online content writing skills.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be positive. Maybe you’re not a morning person or maybe you just don’t like a particular business because of an experience you had. Whatever the case may be, you’re still a freelance writer and today you have to work — whether you’re grumpy or not. We often have to ignore our own sour mood or bias when writing content for other people. So how can you keep your bias out of your writing?
Positive writing is content that uplifts and inspires—it seeks to be inclusive rather than exclusive. When writing for WritersDomain, positive writing means making the industry or client look good — or at least neutral — rather than pointing out its flaws. This also means avoiding too much talk about the few bad apples, such as scammers. Positive writing can critique, but those critiques should be constructive criticism rather than complaints.
Here, we’ll learn more about how to write unbiased, positive content for our clients so we can keep things effective and professional.
Why Is Positivity Important to Your Clients?
As a freelancer, you create blogs that clients pay for. These blogs typically have something to do with the client’s industry or product. Your clients pay for the posts because they want more traffic to their website and thus more clients.
We generally ask our WritersDomain writers to revise their articles if the article is overly negative or leaves a sour taste. We’ll return a negative representation of a client back to you, just like you would return a pair of pants if they didn’t make you look good. Your clients are ultimately looking for professional representation that points customers toward their site rather than drives potential customers away.
Why Is Positivity Important to Readers?
People don’t like reading negative content — even if they agree with it. Your writing should reach a wide audience, but the more negative a piece sounds, the more closed-off a reader becomes. Positive writing, on the other hand, might change someone’s mind about a topic.
Writing a negative piece is similar to writing a complaint journal to yourself, and readers can get uncomfortable when reading a piece that sounds resentful or bitter. Readers could feel like they’re being manipulated or given false information.
How Do You Identify Negativity in Your Writing?
Imagine that you are the person or company paying for the content that you just wrote and ask yourself the following questions:
- Would you want all your potential customers to see the blog?
- Do you feel well-represented by the content?
- Do you like the information and how it’s presented, or would you want to tweak some things?
- Do you welcome any critiques that were brought up, or do you feel a little bit defensive?
- Do you think the readers would feel educated and want to learn more?
Once you feel good about the answers to these questions, read through your piece and look for red flags that may indicate a negative tone. Then, you can change the negative information or presentation to be more positive.
Positive writing doesn’t necessarily eliminate harsh realities; your content can still point out the negatives, but it should focus more on the positives. Positive writing presents information in a welcoming manner, focusing on the good. To write more positively, you can avoid hot-button words like “expensive,” “illegal,” or “cheap.”
For example, you could avoid a negative connotation by replacing “cheap” with “affordable” if you’re using “cheap” in a monetary sense. Or to avoid the word “expensive” you could call something an “investment” — especially for things like homes or cars that are almost always expensive.
Here’s a quick example of how a quick language change can keep things positive but retain the same idea.
Negative: An illegal driver will refuse to show you their license.
Positive: Most drivers will be more than happy to show you their licenses.
Can You Still Be Creative & Positive?
One of the things we value at WritersDomain is creativity. However, sometimes writers try to be creative but accidentally write a negative blog. For example, if a keyword is “horses” and a writer’s angle is that readers should buy dogs instead of horses, we would call the article negative because it encourages potential horse-buying customers to buy dogs instead.
If you worry about creativity, we recommend that you read this article. Your keyword deserves to be showcased well.
How Do You Get Rid of Negativity?
The way you present information can influence how negative something sounds. Pros and cons are a great way to point out factual flaws, while a hypothetical situation often comes across as an angry rant. Success.com instructs, “Be a critical thinker, not a critical person. . . . Opportunity for improvement is not a criticism.” You can mention things that the industry could improve, but don’t dwell on them.
If you’re worried about a sentence, make sure the main idea isn’t based in negativity. If you’re not sure how your client will react to a certain phrase or sentence, just leave it out.
What If You Can’t or Don’t Want to Be Positive?
What if you really disagree with something or you’ve had a bad experience with an industry? These and other cases may make you feel like positivity is unethical or avoiding the truth.
Fortunately, you have a couple of different options if the content you’re writing is for WritersDomain. First, be assured that we vet our clients. However, if you’re still concerned, you can email Support and let us double-check that a client meets our advertising standards.
Second, you can drop the task and find something else to write about. If you don’t want to write for a particular client or even an entire industry, then you don’t have to.
If you’re freelancing for a client other than WritersDomain, however, you may not have these options. You can protect yourself by putting clauses in your contracts that state that you can back out of a job if you have ethical concerns. You can also vet clients and jobs closely before signing a contract.
But if you’ve already signed on to a job you don’t like, then you may be stuck. In this case, review your contract or talk to your client to see what your options are. The client may prefer to find a different writer rather than work with one who doesn’t support what they do.
If you must complete the job, find ways to be neutral. Any industry has a following for a reason — try to write something that the supporters would agree with and would not be offended by. You can also focus on uplifting the industry and pushing it toward where it should be. For example, content for defense attorneys could focus on defending the innocent or on getting an appropriate sentence rather than an overly harsh judgment.
Research and present the facts instead of opinions. If you recently had a bad experience, wait a little bit to write until after you’ve cooled down, and then try to be as neutral and factual as possible.
Content can shape not only our view of the world but also our readers’ views of the world. It’s important that we present facts so our readers can make their own unbiased opinions. As freelancers, being positive is just a part of the job. Let us know if you have any thoughts or ideas on how to remain an unbiased or positive writer.