Imagine the scenario.
You have spent years developing a new product or service, only to make a basic spelling error on the packaging design when you finally release it on the market.
The end result is that you lose all credibility and your reputation is immediately tainted, not to mention the potential thousands or even millions in lost sales.
The worrying thing is that it’s more common than you may think.
However, if you had taken time to check the spelling properly in the first place, such a fatal mistake could have been easily avoided.
You use written communication in almost every aspect of your organisation, whether it is dealing with employees or clients, to get our message across.
Therefore, it’s key to make sure that you set and maintain only the highest standards of written word in everything you do.
Here’s a five-step guide to help get your written communication word perfect:
1) Before you put pen to paper, decide on the key message that you want to get across and stick to it
Make sure that it fits with your organisation’s brand, identity and mission statement.
To help, think about what your organisation stands for, where it’s going and what goals you are trying to achieve.
2) Consider your target audience and who you are trying to reach
Depending on who that is, whether it is a customer, supplier or contractor, you will need to tailor your writing style and tone accordingly to achieve the best end result.
Go one step further and personalise your writing by using the word ‘you’ to better engage the reader.
3) Consider the medium that you are writing in and adapt your writing style accordingly
Emails, website blogs, social media, newsletters, advertising, brochures, reports and presentations, all require different writing styles to make the most effective use of that particular medium.
The general rule of thumb is that when you are writing for online, keep your sentences shorter than you would for print.
4) Keep your work short and simple, making it concise, easy to read and informative
The cardinal sin is to write something so complex and convoluted that at the end of the day nobody understands it.
Make sure that you grab the reader’s attention from the first word and keep them fully engaged to the end.
When writing for clients, stress the importance of your product or service to them and give examples to show its return on investment.
Where possible, use real life case studies that the reader can relate to, to back up your statements.
Here’s a quick five-step checklist to making the most from your writing:
- Allocate more than sufficient time to get the work properly written, checked and edited
- Research your subject thoroughly beforehand to make sure that it is factually correct
- Get straight to the point, summing up your key message in the introductory paragraphs
- Use lively and active words to engage the reader
- Avoid the unnecessary use of capitals, only for organisations and job titles, and fancy fonts that prove a distraction
5) Check, check and check again
There’s no such thing as over checking
Read through the first time for factual and spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and then read again thoroughly to sense check it and make sure it flows.
Then read it again 24 hours later with a fresh pair of eyes until you are completely satisfied.
Get someone to review your work and, if necessary, send it to your legal and/or compliance department for approval.
A second set of eyes can pick up mistakes you may have missed or provide you with a different perspective on how the work could be improved.
An experienced editor and writer can also ensure that your work is word perfect and meets all of your criteria including key message, target audience, tone and writing style.
Get in touch
- To find out how I can help with your writing, editing or research needs give me a call on +44 (0)7949 590213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org