business writing ideas from Word Constructions      

 

 

welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter

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

I must say that I am glad to see the back of July in many ways! It was a hectic month, including going inter-state to meet with clients and my computer deciding it was too old to function any longer. Add in that it was July so my accountant wants things sorted and clients want annual reports and similar documents underway, and it's easy to see why I enjoyed a quiet weekend over the last couple of days! How was your month?

I've come across a couple of ethical discussions lately. It would be nice to think everyone is nice to everyone else but the reality is that there are unscrupulous people around and unfortunately that means we need a little suspicion with every new business contact. While it can be frustrating to see dishonest or unethical people get ahead, I have found it pleasing that so many other people are not happy with such behaviour - maybe those people are a very small minority after all. Have you changed some of your business practices in response to seeing someone doing the wrong thing?

On the other hand, I was pleased to see someone else help a client this week to the point of getting no business - instead of preparing an ad for a client, he showed them how to set up a Twitter account. The client got a very cost effective solution and the supplier earned some credibility and good will instead of making money through someone else's ignorance. I know people have been surprised when I've done similar things in the past, but maybe they have showed similar professionalism to their cleints in response and such things will be less unusual.

Until next time, use your words wisely,

Tash

PS If you don't have a website yet (or know someone who doesn't), I am doing a series of blog posts at the moment covering various aspects of how to get your business online. The explanation of why a website is a good idea is effectively the first post in the series. Email me or comment on my facebook page if you have any related questions.

Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Discussing automating social media updatesWord Constructions eBooks
The rewards of hiring a business writer
Saving time in blogging
Communications is more than marketing
Writing an annual report
Improving your surveys and questionnaires


Your website is a window into your company.
Your website is the online equivalent of your office - the place people go when they want to do business with you.
~ Shama Hyder Kabani


business communications article by Tash Hughes

Consider your options
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

When planning any form of communications, be sure to think broadly rather than follow the same path as always.

For instance, if you've created a printed catalogue every year to promote Christmas sales think about other possibilities this year before you contact the printer.

Things have changed and we have so many more options now - we are not limited to a printed catalogue in letterboxes or an ad in the local paper. You can promote your business through a website, social media platforms, advertising on other websites, networking and promotional articles, just to name a few.

Once you have some potential ideas for something different, think through which option will suit best - it may be the long-held practice or it may be something new, but at least it is founded on a decision rather than habit. Here are some questions you may ask about each option:

  1. how much will it cost to use that option properly?
  2. will your target audience see your efforts?
  3. will your target audience appreciate your efforts?will they respond appropriately?
  4. how does your target audience react to change? If they are used to something, will they be unhappy if it changes
  5. do you have the resources or contacts to utilise the option? For instance do you have access to a good designer or will someone have time to monitor your facebook campaign?
  6. what is the 'shelf life' of your efforts? It may take the same effort to set up a twitter account and a blog, but the blog content stays on your website permanently compared to the very short term effect of a Tweet - either may be ok if it suits your objectives
  7. can you sustain the campaign? Variety is good but not if it makes your business look inconsistent and fickle, and remember it can take time for results to show from something new so don't give up too fast



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don't forget the basics

Vary the start
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Whatever you are writing, it needs to both read well and have visual appeal for maximum effectiveness.

There are many aspects to the visual appeal of a document, including white space, font size, imagery, colours and amount of text. However, one aspect not understood by a lot of people is the start of paragraphs. People's eyes move over a document before they start to read it and they will notice patterns even if they don't realise they are doing so.

Grab a couple of different documents and run your eye down the left side of the page. Did you find one with a lot of paragraphs starting with the same word, or even the same letter? How did that affect your impressions of that document?

So when you are writing, actively work at having different words to start each paragraph and try to avoid more than two paragraphs in a row with the same first letter, too. This gets even more important if I or We is at the start of paragraphs - repeating those words too often st an issue in itself but more so if you start paragraphs that way.

Although I indicated this variety is good visually, it will also make your writing more interesting if you have used different words and different sentence structures.

TIP: Instead of slowing down your writing, I suggest you just write the material and check for repetitive paragraph starts as part of the editing process.



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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.

This is from a health form leading up to some immunisations.

Example:

Has the patient been well or been in hospital lately?

Issues with this example:

In a written document where yes/no answers are required, this is an impossible question to answer! If I answer yes, it says the patient has been well and in hospital (which would generally be a contradiction!); if I answer no, it means the patient has been unwell but not in hospital.

HOwever, the reality is that most people will answer yes or no to one half of the question (predominantly the second half) so the meaning behind an answer is almost impossible to determine from a simple yes/no response.

Neither answer will help assess the patient's readiness for the current vaccination which makes the whole process pointless. If asking a question, especially one with limited responses possible, the question must be simple and clear. Although fewer questions is generally better than more to get people's co-operation, it is much better to add a question than have a confusing question.

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

Has the patient been well recently?

Has the patient stayed in hospital recently?


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2011, Tash Hughes