business writing ideas from Word Constructions      

 

 

welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletterChristmas holly decoration

Hello {name}! Welcome to the December edition of business writing ideas from Word Constructions!

After a very wet spring, it is officially summer again and we all look forward to being outdoors and socialising more. Of course, December tends to be a over socialised month for many of us!

Being self-employed, I don't have lots of (business related) Christmas functions to attend in the way an employee often does. Do you think sole traders and other small businesses should still get some sort of annual celebration or event like the bigger companies do? I haven't looked into it but I am guessing that it is harder to justify the expense to the ATO if you just take yourself out for lunch...

I have been working with a client on some new software - we have been reviewing it before they officially take it on from the supplier. While the product itself is looking good, it is a bit annoying that we saw versions with many, many errors; to me, basic testing and general functionality needs to be tested and operating before you pass it onto a client for their review and testing. Well, unless you show them in the context of 'this is a draft to check the concept is working'.

To be honest, the amount of time my client and I have spent reviewing this software over and over is ridiculous and there is a temptation to ask for a reduction in the development fee because of that time. Apart from anything else, it is likely the supplier will use the improved version as the basis of future sales. Just like with writing, preparing software or any other product for a client, it is really important to check your work to make it as good as possible before handing it to a client - not doing so can have serious consequences for your business.

Have a very Merry and safe Christmas, and I look forward to catching up with you in the new year.

Tash

Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Sending a Christmas message
Having procedures
Maximising topics
Giving people a choice of contact details
 

P.S. Word Constructions will be closed from 22 December 2010 to Monday 3rd January 2011. If you need any writing projects completed by early January, please book them in soon!

 


The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.
~ Sydney J Harris


latest article

Having a style
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

A business brand is more than having a logo and tagline. Your brand is the sum of everything your business does, from how you great customers and the colours of your website to the word you write in emails, instructions and marketing materials.

A brand is built on consistent messages being presented.

To make it easier to be consistent across many media, it is a good idea to set a style for your brand. The style will include the tone and feel as well as specific items such as preferred fonts, spelling conventions and language use.

Initially, a decision needs to be made about the overall style – will the business aim for a friendly style or a formal style for instance. This depends on the product/service being sold, the intended audience and the personality of the business owner(s).

Although many people will set many style criteria as they go (for example, choosing a font style when a designer asks for it), having styles set earlier can save time and prevent mistakes. Either way, keeping all the style decisions together is useful and forms the basis of a style guide.




Personalised letters from Santa to delight Australian children - lovely for family, unusual gift from businesses
 


don't forget the basics

Know your current audience
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

No matter what sort of writing you are doing, the document will have a much better outcome if you write to suit the people who are expected to read it and benefit from it (known as your audience). For example, if writing for five year olds you are not likely to use words like conceptualisation, downsizing or promiscuous and an older audience would expect 'week' instead of 'seven sleeps'.

In the business context, your words and marketing strategies work better if you write to suit your specific audience and that means you need to know who that audience is. You could say your audience is males over 18, but it is even better if you know males between 20 and 40 with tertiary training are most likely to purchase from you.

For most businesses, you will already know your audience, although maybe you need to get more specific, but how long ago did you determine your audience's characteristics? Are you sure they haven't changed? Even if the outward appearance of your audience hasn't changed, maybe something else has - going back to our males above, maybe they now use Facebook instead of the local newspaper so you need to change where you place ads.

Understanding your audience is crucial for good communications, and it is an ongoing task.


Studiotime

Get yourself organised for 2011 and make it a great year!
 


poor examples

Sometimes, the easiest way to learn the correct way to do something is to see it done poorly so in this section of my newsletter, I show you some real-life examples of writing that need a little help.

Continuing on from last month, I have another example of bad writing from the same writing tips article…

Example:

Remember in your last par to set times/ dates for closure or further action. Alter this template as you improve your skills. It is meant to be flexible and improved upon as you gain confidence.

Issues with this example:

For simplicity and ease of reading, keep each paragraph to one idea. So what to include in the last paragraph and how to use the template would be better as separate paragraphs.

Suggesting that a template can be altered as you learn more is great, but saying so in two sentences is probably a bit much.

Even assuming everyone knows that ‘par’ means paragraph, the first sentence is not clear – I can read two useful ideas into it. ‘State times/dates’ is a simple improvement, but what sort of closure does she mean?

I think the idea is to use the last paragraph to give a call to action or set a deadline about the letter’s subject. And I agree – end the letter by giving the reader a prompt and an easy place to refer back to.

If you’re not sure your writing is clear to others, get someone else to read it and tell you how they interpreted it. In business, you may not get a second chance so your writing needs to be clear.

 An improved version would be: (without changing the meaning)

Use your final paragraph to give a call to action or any relevant deadlines.

Remember that your template is a guide so adjust it to suit your needs.


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