In your writing, speaking or presenting, perhaps amazingly, your readers, listeners or website visitors may overlook or ignore a wide range of perceived "faults" that we may appear to show. They may not agree with us, yet still read, listen to or consider what we have to say.
However, there's one trait, that probably few will tolerate. One of the worst "sins" we can commit is to be boring. I suggest that many readers will forgive other "mistakes" - some may not even notice them. However, sentence after sentence of boring drivel gets noticed - for all the wrong reasons!
Seek never to be boring, while appreciating that you'll never please everyone: nor should you.
The Challenges Of Writing Corporate Literature
Key tip: every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on creating corporate literature, yet most documents fail to deliver on their promises. Why? I suggest that there is one overriding reason: not connecting to target readers in ways that are sufficiently relevant and engaging to each person reading.
Why? Some ideas include:
- Writing effective corporate materials is hard to create.
- Internal organizational teams are often too close, too invested in current failed strategies, so keep regurgitating more of the same.
- Available time in business is short.
- Companies often invest in the wrong "tools" and resources.
- Business impatience is rife.
Often, Publications Simply Focus Too Much on Presenting Faceless Features of a Product or Service and Neglect the Individual Human Connection
For products and services that are used by people, users are individuals and each reader or viewer naturally likes to be appreciated as a unique person.
Marketing materials especially, that demonstrate a likable, more trustworthy "personality" or provide a personal "feel" stand a far better chance at connecting with buyers.
So aim to make your writing, speaking or presenting possess as many of the following traits as you can:
- Up to date, current.
To help illustrate further, below is a list of words and phrases that describe or provide clues to how successfully meeting any of the writing objectives above, can appear in practice. Documents and presentations that get noticed include some or all of the following characteristics:
Key tip: when writing, playing with words is both essential, and bizarrely, can introduce problems. Give your readers a break! How: watch out for excessive wordiness.
How To Serve Both People And Search Engines
As writers and communicators, often, the temptation to ramble on is strong. Even so, today, with the close integration of the web, we need to keep in mind the requirements of "web balance", affected by demands that can appear to conflict with each other:
- Search engines absorb words like a lion craves meat (higher word count can often create better results, up to a limit).
- Yet, people only want to read what is relevant to their need of the moment (lower word count is "easier on the eye").
Sometimes, more words are better than few words. The "trick" is to determine and decide the right mix. How: carefully consider your topic, audience and message in depth.
Most importantly, think about the purpose of your message, since understanding that key driver can often help you determine the best and most suitable approach.
Generally though, pruning is not only good for gardens - good writers can cut, and cut again, yet still provide a delivery that is worthy of your readers' time and attention.
Using Headings, Chunking, Spacing, Images, And Videos To Help Skimmers And Scanners Find Their Preferred Path
Online, busy people especially, tend not to read sequentially as we might expect - at least at first. Instead, these hurried folks may skim and scan pages, darting around, seeking our clues to what they think might be relevant or what might interest them.
Pictures, videos, and headings especially can provide strong, almost magnetic attraction.
Pictures and videos can:
- Help relax our eyes.
- Provide welcome contrast.
- Summarize one or more key points.
- Inform on a topic without any further explanation being required.
- Support the text.
Finally, here are 4 more important tips:
- Use meaningful, attractive, attention-getting headings and sub-headings, tuned for both people and search engines, regularly inserted into your written content.
- The most effective headings offer a mix of signposts and dams. Signposts tell you what's coming, or where to go next, while dams, urge you to pause and think about what the heading might mean.
- Make sure you break up your sentences into easily readable chunks.
- When writing, use lots of white space. Why: it's free, provides visual rest, subtle framing, and helps you fill your allocated space, while still presenting a professional, polished finish.