Here’s a question to ponder. Are you more interested in improving your writing or making life easier for your readers? Sometimes the two go hand in hand, and sometimes they don’t. As someone who spends a lot of time focused on writing, lately I’ve been thinking about the readers.
Let me back up a step.
The write fit
If you haven’t heard, I started a new company in March called Typeset. After working in agency land for several years, I knew I wanted to get back to my roots. Typeset is an editorial and content marketing services company. My co-founder, Dan Hatch, is a career journalist with both newspaper and radio experience. Our first employee, Wendy Wood, is also a journalist, with more than eight years on the copy desk of a city daily newspaper. Dan, Wendy and I have worked together in many capacities since Global Copywriting started in 2008. It’s nice to have our own gig.
To use an idiom common in Australia, we’re sticking to our knitting. We know writing. We love to write. When we’re not writing, we’re helping people write better, or showing them how to transform a tired blog , or even figuring out key messaging so what they write isn’t the same as their competitors.
Back to the topic at hand – the readers.
Art meets craft . . .
Working in three different countries and across 15 time zones, we’ve had to develop workflows and processes to ensure we’re putting a quality product out the door. It’s those quality-assurance measures that make the most difference to the readers. And that got me thinking – what else could we be doing to ensure our readers are getting the most out of our efforts? Who’s doing it better? Why are some corporate communications so effective and why are some so unbearably bad? Are we missing a trick?
Having a lot of money to spend doesn’t seem to make much difference in the quality of writing. I’ve seen companies with small budgets smash their content and marketing. We’ve all seen large companies with big marketing teams make a hash out of what they’re putting on (virtual) paper. If you look at the Content Marketing Awards, there are a lot of big brands winning awards but a lot of small and micro brands win too – and often beat out competitors in the category who have big budgets.
. . . and skids into science
I want to figure out how we can all achieve more success with our writing activity. One way Dan and I are doing this is studying how businesses tackle all of the writing produced for comms and marketing efforts. That’s why we’ve enlisted Mantis Research to help us get to the bottom of writing effectiveness – and what we can do to make reading our writing a more enjoyable experience for readers.
I need your help
If you have five minutes to spare today, please take a look at our State of Writing survey. It’s about 15 questions long and most of them are multiple choice. This is a global survey focused on communications professionals and small-enterprise owners. You’ll get a first look at the results, which are meant to help you achieve even more success with your future writing and marketing projects.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with me here or drop me a line at Typeset. In the meantime, I’m going back to contemplating what makes writing better. I’ve been reading Dreyer’s English and am loving every sentence. You might too.
What do you do to make your writing better for readers?