Here’s a statement I hope you’ll take a moment to think about: how you do anything is how you do everything.
Get it? It’s why your public image matters, and few things are more bound up in public image than the standard of writing coming out of your organisation.
Good writing matters because poor writing signals so much that has nothing to do with an inability, or disinclination, to write. It says, amongst other things:
- This company has a cavalier disregard for its reputation.
- Worse, the employees of this company are lazy, sloppy, disinterested and lack attention to detail.
- Even worse, this company has no respect for you, the reader.
- Worst of all, it says this company’s people are thick; they can’t spell, can’t punctuate, don’t understand the basic rules of grammar and aren’t even aware of any of this, else why would they allow such poor quality writing to represent them. Yes, poor writing stands as a measure of intelligence.
We all know very smart people with rich vocabularies who just cannot be bothered to compose a written sentence with care, or look beyond the ubiquitous “incredible” for a more creative adjective. But we also know that business suppliers can be passed over by prospective customers because of the poor quality of their public profiles.
After all, if they haven’t bothered to pay attention to their web sites, marketing collateral, presentations, LinkedIn profiles or social media sites, what is there to tell you that they’ll bother to get your job right?
You’re being judged on your public profile all the time
My colleague, Andy Berelowitz, says, “It’s like a good cup of coffee vs. a bad cup. There is so much pleasure in a good cup and so much pain in a bad one.” If you’re a coffee-lover, you’ll get it immediately. All of us at Lingo agree that good writing matters whether it’s one line or a 2,000-word opinion piece.
It may be true that not everyone cares about this issue but it’s also true that very public mistakes attract ridicule and undermine credibility, as happens a lot to the White House these days… yes, even in the midst of all the other credibility-stretchers that have occurred under the new administration.
It goes deeper than grammar, spelling and punctuation
To be clear, we’re not suggesting poncey, inaccessible language — that is not good writing. We’re also not suggesting just correcting your grammar, spelling and punctuation. We’re talking about:
- Identifying and clarifying your key messages, the sales triggers that make people buy your products or services
- Ordering your information in a logical, accessible way
- Replacing blah blah with content of real substance
- Making sure that everything you say and do in public is consistent – with itself, with your key messages, with your objectives and with what your customers expect
- Adding style – above all, adding style – to make your text compelling.
When to call us in
If we’re not already finessing your daily public image, at least call in the professionals when you:
- Are creating a new web site
- Want to refresh your existing web site
- Acquire or merge with another company and need to announce the change and renew your marketing materials
- Launch a new product line
- Create or need a new business plan, marketing or communication strategy
- Need publicity
- Are struggling to blog or post as regularly as you need to
- Can’t think of topics for blogs or social media posts
- Are making a major presentation or giving an important speech
- Are planning a media event.
We invite you to join the discussion, give us fresh insights, share your experiences and, most especially, give us your feedback, whether good or bad.