business writing ideas from Word Constructions      

 

 

welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter

Ah, the first day of spring – a lovely season of growth and starting fresh. Welcome, {first name}, to my September edition of Business writing ideas.

There’s a reason people talk about spring cleaning – the warmer weather is inspiring to get back out and do things and make everything as fresh and appealing as nature. So what will you do to spring clean your business?

I have been working on outsourcing a few more things so I could get onto my ‘when I have time’ list of things to do (Susan Oakes recently posted about planning rather than just doing 'stuff', too). Even though I already outsource some tasks, handing more over to someone else has provided a great sense of relief and a feeling of progress as things are being done even at times when I’m not actually working.

As part of Victoria’s small business festival, I went to a networking event during the month – the first one I’ve been to in quite a while actually. As much as it is time away from working, helping clients or being with my family, this event reminded me of the value of getting out and talking to other people. It is refreshing to leave your own routine and interact face to face, to hear what other people are doing and to view a new environment. It felt like I was clearing away winter’s cobwebs by attending so I recommend you consider business events, too.

Speaking of business events, I am the guest tweeter (is that the correct term?) in a Twitter Chat on Thursday 13th September. We will be discussing the why and how of guest blogging (as a blogger, not the host) and you’re most welcome to join us. It’s free and easy to join – simply look for #OzSBchat in a twitter search between 1 and 2 pm.

Until next time, use your words wisely,

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

PS I am looking at my editorial calendar for next year (that spring cleaning has inspired me!) so what sorts of topics would you like to read about in my blog and newsletter? You can let me know by replying to this email or completing my quick survey.

Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Who are you communicating about?
Building an effective business blog
How to get your customers to speak up
Ways to simplify your business
Are you part of the SMB trends for online activity?
Setting rules for guest posts on your blog


business communications article by Tash Hughes

Social media (SM) is the marketing buzz word
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Many will tell you that you must have SM as part of your marketing mix if you want your businesses to succeed.

Personally, I wouldn’t go as far as to say you must be on SM but I do think it is a good option for many and something that all businesses should make an informed decision about.

If you do go ahead with SM for your business, remember that it is different to traditional marketing methods – it can take longer to see results and is not a static or sales-driven medium.

When using SM for your business, some key points to remember are:

  1. It’s not a one way marketing tool – join conversations, listen to people and share information rather than just push for sales
  2. Personalise things so it is from you not a lifeless business – for instance when retweeting* something say why you are retweeting it or add a comment as this gives a reason for followers to notice it and adds your voice
  3. People don’t like overt sales pitches in SM – the occasional pitch after many other messages is accepted but the majority of messages being sales related will lose you followers very quickly
  4. Thank people for sharing your information (eg retweeting you or linking to a blog post on their profiles)
  5. It’s ok to show your interests and personality, but remember to stay within your brand and be professional – stories of a big Saturday night probably don’t belong in your business SM updates
  6. Be honest and respectful when sharing information – acknowledge the source of images, name the author of a blog post you tweet, avoid and minimise changes to a message you are sharing (eg to stay within 140 characters, you sometimes have to adjust a message before retweeting it but be careful to change as little as possible)

If you do look into adding SM to your marketing mix, I’d welcome you to my Twitter or Facebook communities any time!

*Retweeting is the process of tweeting an existing Twitter message and is shown as RT.


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don't forget the basics of good writing and communications

Editing is not creating, and vice versa
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Do you find yourself going back again and again to fix errors as you write?

It’s not a very efficient way to write content – and it’s very easy to lose your train of thought if you keep switching into editing mode rather than writing.

So during writing time, just write – get the ideas and overall expression down on paper. Then go back and proof read (ie fix all the obvious spelling and grammatical errors). Then read it again and edit it for flow, tone, content and suitability for your purpose.

Three steps can actually be quicker than trying to do all three tasks at the same time, and separating the three tasks is likely to get a better overall result.

With computers, multiple drafts are easy to manage (this advice would be harder to follow if you used a quill and scroll!) so don’t feel the first attempt has to be perfect – or even very good.

Separating the steps by time is also a useful trick for finding any little errors in your writing.

Another trick I heard of (but admit to not having tried!) is to turn off your monitor as you type – you can’t edit your work if you can’t see it!


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poor writing 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.

I came across today’s example in a blog post with a great heading. It was a good example of a heading building anticipation but unfortunately it wasn’t followed through – the content was a bit weak, not exactly answering the title and includes a few bits of clumsy writing.

Example:

But if you formatted your content so that there is a healthy amount of white space and images to break up the text, then people will find reading on not as daunting.

Issues:

The main issue is that the sentence end is more complex than is necessary. I found I had to reread it and read it slowly to realise it did make sense – and as soon as people have to reread sentences you are losing their attention.

How much simpler is it if you replace ‘not as’ with ‘less’? In context, ‘people will find reading on less daunting’.

I would prefer starting the sentence with ‘however’ instead of ‘but’. Although ‘but’ can start a sentence, I find it generally works better connecting two phrases within a sentence.

Being pedantic, the word healthy could be said to be wrong – healthy means in good condition or without disease so it doesn’t really describe white space on a page. However, I think it gives an image that works although is perhaps a little vague (we know what a healthy person is but how much white space is a healthy amount?)

Better:

However, if you formatted your content so that there is a healthy amount of white space and images to break up the text, then people will find reading on less daunting.


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