Human communication (and business communication) boils down to three ways to message:
Visual, or video.
Audio. Think: podcast.
Written words. Which is basically everything else.
There has been plenty of innovation over the mediums we use to communicate, but not how we communicate.
These three – visual, listening, and reading – have been with us forever.
And right now we agree.
Video is arguably number one.
If you don’t have video in your everyday marketing plan, you are not in 2020. We know this. But we put so much emphasis on it that we start to devalue the other two.
Today I want to focus on writing.
The written word is essential for your business. Without it, we are overlooking a significant part of our messaging to consumers.
Harvard Business Review states clear, relevant writing keeps people coming back for more.
Now, I get it. I could change that to clear, relevant video or clear, relevant podcasts, and it holds true.
But I would also argue your video preparation, and your podcast preparation comes down to clear, relevant writing. Scripting messages, setting up procedures, and organizing information all comes down to being able to write it out.
So, how can you make sure you are clear with your message?
Here are a few simple tips from Harvard Business Review for clear and relevant writing.
Use first person. Writing in first person makes the content feel more personal to readers, like it does when you receive a letter or card.
Don’t be afraid to begin sentences with an action word. Catch the readers’ attention by telling them what to do.
Know your audience and write to them. When you know who you are communicating with, it makes for more precise writing.
Take out complex phrases, industry jargon, and acronyms. This is especially true when writing to your clients, who may have no idea what a CMA is.
Make it skimmable. One thing you cannot do with video and audio content is skim for the information you want. Use headings, subheadings, bold words, and white space to make it easy to read and find information.
Keep it simple. Get right to the point and eliminate unnecessary words. Try this exercise: after writing, reread and take out as many linking words (the, to, in, is, that, and, for, etc.) as possible. You will need to rewrite some sentences, but the message will be clearer. Pro tip: Grammarly checks for unnecessary words (and more!).
While we focus on video, if our writing skills – the way we prepare that video or podcast – are not relevant and clear to the consumer, we are not going to deliver the right message.
And that is what it’s all about.
Delivering clear, consistent messaging.