business writing ideas from Word Constructions      

 

 

welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter

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

I have seen a lot of examples of poor writing lately - it is interesting how I tend to see lots in a short period and then very few examples for a while. How often do you spot errors within your industry? How do you feel about those errors?

With school holidays upon us, I am having a quieter two weeks - well, it's louder with four kids at home but I'm doing a bit less work so I can enjoy some family time. It is also nice to have fewer time restrictions on us - the start of school, swimming lessons, kinder, gymnastics classes and scouting events aren't controlling our days and it is relaxing! I guess that shows why I am better working my own hours instead of a traditional 9 to 5 job!

This newsletter has a bit of theme about quality, which fits into the preparations for Easter. Walking through shops, you can't help but notice Easter eggs and boxed sets. They all look very pretty and more exciting than your usual block or box of chocolates - I don't think most children want a plain block of chocolate from the Easter Bilby! Yet the quality of most of the Easter eggs is inferior to normal chocolate - don't get me wrong as I eat it like a true chocoholic but the quantity doesn't really equate to the quality of my preferred Cadbury and Lindt chocolates... The power of marketing!

Until next time, use your words wisely,

Tash

 

Recent blog posts you may find useful:Word Constructions eBooks

Quality content for guest blog posts
Dealing with poor blog posts
Replying to blog comments
the tasks involved in 'writing' an annual report
Impressive words don't
Business lessons from the gym


It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.
~ Mahatma Gandhi


business communications article by Tash Hughes

How will people read your message?
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

It is important to construct your message in a way to maximise the number of people actually reading it.

In general, a long text-heavy piece is more likely to be ignored or put aside for later than a shorter, more visually appealing piece.

This is especially important for marketing materials as the person may not have chosen to see it - for example, if someone sends you a promotional letter or you see an ad in a magazine, you did not specifically look for information from that business so it has to catch your attention as well as give you a message.

Keeping in mind that people are busy and how they are likely to respond to certain materials will help you plan more effective business materials.

Knowing how people will probably read your text can help choose the order of your points, where sub-headings will be helpful, what to bold, where to place images, and so on.

For instance, I have just helped a client prepare an invitation to a seminar. After some introductory text was 'you are invited to ...' - knowing that it was aimed at busy business people who will want to know the point before reading all the details, I suggested that sentence was either moved up the page or put in bold so it stood out. The bold also broke up the text better so the invitation looked more interesting.


The Nile -Australia's Largest Online Bookstore
I have bought a number of books from The Nile, including business and school text books - with free delivery, one book at a time is feasible too


don't forget the basics

Always strive for quality
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Quality vs quantity is a common statement - not quite a cliche but getting close! And like most cliches, it holds a lot of wisdom even if it is overused.

In most business situations, quality is more important than quantity and will give better long term results - the biggest exception is probably mass producing manufacturers who make cheap products as their business model. In communications, I can't think of an example where quantity beats quality.

Here are a few quick examples of quality will do more for a business than quantity.

  1. Blogging - many people have an idea that they must do a certain number of posts a day or week even if they have nothing useful to write. A guest blogger I read recently produces many posts a week but clearly doesn't proof read any of them nor research any details she writes about. The result is that no one clicks through to her site from the host blogs and people correct her in the comments (which she never responds to) - instead of earning respect and followers, she is ridiculed and has lost potential clients. If she wrote two good posts a week, she would actually get a return on her writing.
  2. Emails - everyone gets a lot of emails so most of us are a bit more wary about who we give email addresses to and where we stay subscribed. I rarely will even subscribe to anything that offers a daily newsletter as I don't have time for it and doubt it will be useful every day. One exception is a business that sends a daily tip to all their clients - the tips are short and often useful (some do not relate to me but I can still see their value so the quality is maintained).
  3. Tweets - tweets are short by nature but some tweeters make up for this by sending out a large number of tweets. I once started to follow someone on Twitter because he spoke very well at a seminar I attended. However, over time I got sick of reading inane tweets from him ten or more times a day and stopped following him - the occasional interesting (quality) tweet every few days wasn't worth looking for. I much prefer following tweeters who make quality tweets that are interesting and potentially teach me something, even if they only tweet an average once a week.

So next time you are thinking of sending out another message, remember to aim for quality rather than quantity.


Kobo Books
If you prefer reading electronic books, an offer of a free eBook is hard to resist! Happy reading...


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. It may just show you how easy it is to make mistakes, too.

I don't think anyone would question that today's example needs some help! It was on a directory renewal notice that my client received last month.

Example:

Kindly be advised to avoid potential deletion of the above details this notice should be returned within 7 days. If there are any alterations or additions kindly amend and return by fax (number) or email (address).

Issues with this example:

It comes across to me as someone trying to use impressive words to sound somehow better, rather than someone trying to communicate something clearly and simply. Trying too hard to impress always gives me the feeling that they need to pretend to impress me as their product/service won't - not a good message to send.

Simple is nearly always the best option in business communications. Even more so for an important message that is part of the call to action. Would the above paragraph prompt you to send back the form quickly?

'avoid potential deletion' - so if I don't return the notice, my details will potentially be deleted but they may not be deleted so this isn't really an urgent matter for me is it?

It tells me how to fax or email any amendments, but do the same contact details apply if I don't need to make any changes? Do I need to confirm the details are ok in some manner? Does the 7 day deadline also apply to amendments? If two sentences are prompting so many questions, you have to wonder about their other written materials and their general practices.

An improved version would be: (without adjusting the message itself)

To avoid your details being deleted, please mark this notice as approved or list necessary changes then send it to fax (number) or email (address) within 7 days.


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2012, Tash Hughes