business writing ideas from Word Constructions      

 

 

welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter

Hello and welcome to another (or your first!) edition of Business writing ideas.

I am very pleased to finish up September – it is a beautiful month with spring blossoms popping up and the weather getting warmer, but it was also tiring. Annual reports and associated projects are all done now, our cub camp is over and school holidays are underway.

In amongst all that, I also completed my eBook on guest blogging. I am really pleased with it as I’ve covered a lot of topics to give a comprehensive overview of guest blogging for both writers and host of guest posts. The final design touches are being added now but a simple version is available at a heavily discounted price if you don’t care about a pretty layout.

Channel 31 (a volunteer-run Melbourne TV station) recently aired a short program about a school production. The production involved all students at the primary school and was put together by a parent of the school. What I found interesting, well one thing I found interesting, was a quote from the school principal. He said it worked well because two staff members “were the conduit between the performance and the performers as they understand children and how to work with children.” I liked the importance he placed on a skill writer/producer, talented and enthusiastic kids and experienced communicators joining the two.

And the play did work well – I saw the opening performance a few weeks ago.

Use your words wisely,

Tash                             Tash & Word Constructions on Twitter          Word Constructions on LinkedIn             Tash & Word Constructions on Facebook             Word Constructions eBooks

PS I haven’t progressed with my editorial calendar for next year as much as I had hoped, so there’s still time to let me know what sorts of topics would you like to read about in my blog and newsletter? What communications-related issues frustrate or confuse you? You can let me know by replying to this email or completing my quick survey.

Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Checklist for finalising an annual report
Why link internally when guest blogging?
Being nice with your guest post refusals
How to get writing, no matter what
Mind your language and fly!


It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.
— Anthony Robbins


business communications article by Tash Hughes

Consistency in many ways
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Being consistent in your business communications gives a good impression and helps bring everything together as parts of a single entity (i.e. your brand).

I have often written about how a style guide can help you stay consistent, but here are my top five areas to watch for consistency.

  1. Spelling
    Stick to one convention (e.g. Australian) and the same style (e.g. eBook not eBook and ebook)
  2. Tone or voice
    Changing between formal and friendly can be confusing so chose one for each document but consider using the other in specific circumstances
  3. Layout
    Use the same general layout on every page of a website, report, eBook, etc. That includes fonts, text layout, amounts of text, footers, footnotes, labelling graphics and heading structures
  4. Graphics
    You may use different images and text but keep the look and feel the same across a site or document. If you start with photos, don’t switch to cartoons; if you have isolated images, don’t suddenly use backgrounds; if you have black and white drawings, keep using black and white only.
  5. Colours
    Have your brand colours, and possibility a contrast colour or two, and use them for headings, borders, backgrounds, highlights and icons whenever possible. Know exactly what your colours are – saying I have a blue logo is vague so it is much better to know that my logo is based on 94,89,0,0

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Whether itís a business book or something to relax with, free delivery is a bonus!

don't forget the basics of good writing and communications

Heading structures
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Using headings and sub-headings makes your content easier to read and scan.

It becomes easier to scan the content and decide which bits I need to read, and when I’m time poor I appreciate that. It also makes it easier to find specific information and know what I’m about to read about.

Using sub-headings can also be a useful tool in preparing your content. And a simple way to make contents tables, too, if you use heading tags.

Adding structure

Well-designed headings and sub-headings give structure to your writing.

Obviously you have a main heading, then some sub-headings. In a longer or more complex document, you may also add further sub-heading levels.

When adding multiple layers of headings, be consistent with them.

It is frustrating and potentially confusing to expect three sub-sub-headings and only find two as the third one shows as a sub-heading. It makes your writing hard to scan and get an overview of the content.

To test your heading structure is working, look at your headings without surrounding content (for instance, create a table of contents to review even if you don’t use the table in the final product).

Is each heading at the right level? Have you been consistent in the naming and style of headings at the same level? Do the headings flow in a logical order? Is there an obvious gap in the structure?


Custom Icing
Your logo on a cake makes morning tea at seminars and meetings a marketing experience!

poor writing examples

Theory has its place, but an example often makes learning something much easier. In many areas, an example of a mistake or poor quality is an even more effective teacher than examples of the correct technique so here is such an example to learn from…

Today’s example came from a webpage I found via Twitter. The basic idea was pay $100 for a series of emails full of information to help grow your business.

Example:

When this initiative launches in September 2012 you’ll get 100 days of wisdom, insight and advice from 100 Change-Makers for $100 sent to you via email.

Issues:

I’ve read this example a few times and it just isn’t clear what is on offer. Breaking it into the bare elements, it reads ‘when it launches you’ll get 100 days of stuff from 100 people for $100 via email’.

  • Is it stuff from 100 people in total or 100 people every day for 100 days?
  • Is it $100 per change-maker or $100 in total?
  • Am I expected to send $100 via email? (If so, tell me how!)

The sentence is too long and complex for clarity. It’s difficult to know which details link to which qualifier or verb.

There are also unnecessary words in there – for example the sentence effectively says ‘you’ll get stuff sent to you via email’ but could simply be ‘you’ll get stuff via email’.

Better:

Once launched in September 2012, you’ll get an email full of wisdom, insight and advice from a different change-maker every day for 100 days – all for just $100!

OR

We’re launching something exciting this September! For just $100, you’ll get an email full of wisdom, insight and advice from a different change-maker every day for 100 days.


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© 2012, Tash Hughes