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The Write Stuff

[ 0 ] January 21, 2013 |

As markets become more competitive, many corporations expect their in-house creative services organizations to produce communications that are more efficient and effective—communications that deliver a measurable impact to their bottom line. The foundation in producing effective business communications is exceptional writing. Exceptional writers can make your company stand out from the competition and make your products and services memorable to clients, consumers and employees. Writers can keep your brand messaging fresh in the audience’s mind. It is up to you to engage writers with the right talent and skills to achieve these objectives quickly and deliver superior quality. Only then will your team create corporate literature or sales materials that will give your company a return on a substantial investment.

What Kind of Writers Will You Need?

You will need to have a bench of writers who can effectively translate mountains of complex source material into compelling copy, for a wide range of audiences that will:

  • Persuade potential clients choose your company over the competition,
  • Equip your business developers with targeted communications that they need to increase sales and
  • Inform employees of the company’s policies, brand or achievements.

It’s important to keep in mind that writers can have very focused skill sets. For example, a writer may specialize in Web copy, technical or proposal writing, marketing and advertising copywriting or internal communications. Each type of communication should relate to a specific audience and these communications should be tailored appropriately to each audience. Therefore there is a wide range of communication writers you may need to effectively run your in-house operation. Here are just four types of writing expertise you may need:

Web Content Writers—Web content writers write articles relating to the business, products or services for the company’s Web site and serve the end customers. Their goal is to create relevance and search ability; the text should be useful and beneficial to readers and rely on the use of key words to drive traffic to the site. These writers need to be experts on how writing impacts Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in order to improve the ranking of a website in search engines.

Copywriters—Their niche is their ability to persuade, evoke enthusiasm and build trust about a company’s products and services to elicit a response or action. He usually works as part of a creative team to create marketing collateral.

Technical Writers—This type of work requires professional-level knowledge in the relevant technology or products. She is often tasked with writing precise and accurate documentation that explains or informs technical matters in ways non-technical people can understand, “layman’s terms.”

Internal/Employee Communications Writers—This type of writer is responsible for writing communications to be received by staff within an organization. Potential outputs may include updates on management thinking, policies and procedures, and benefits. The internal communications writer is tasked with creating a culture of trust and keeping employees engaged and highly productive.

Writing Excellence

A highly skilled and talented writer will understand the situation, purpose of the communication and what will resonate with the target audience. The writer will infuse the proper voice, tone and style to engage the reader. The following are four key elements writers must keep in mind as they begin developing communications:

  • The audience – tailors communications in ways that will lead reader to accept the message
  • The situation – understands the circumstances associated with the interaction and adapts the style and tone to meet the needs of the situation taking into account the desired outcome
  • Tone – good business communication reflects a tone appropriate for the interaction
  • Clarity – relies on a clear message that the reader will understand

Identifying and Nurturing Creative Writing Talent

Identifying writing talent is similar to identifying design talent. It’s important to review their portfolio and resume in advance of an on-site interview to ensure the writer has the background you need, i.e., Web content, technical writing in a similar industry or company as yours or your client base.

It’s also advisable to administer a writing test (both for basic grammar and the ability to articulate complex concepts). You may want to consider giving the prospective hire an actual project with a defined timeline—this portion of the evaluation doesn’t even need to be done onsite, as an administrator can email the test to the candidate and require a reply email with the completed project by a specific date and time.

In the beginning the writer’s work will need to be supervised to ensure the style is what the company’s style, culture and brand require. Following the on-boarding period, the writer can guide you on what sort of career path and challenging, interesting projects they would like to work on. As long as their skill set and the client need is there, you can provide the writer with some flexibility.

Great Writing and Design Go Hand-in-Hand

Writers need to be able to work in collaboration with in-house designers to ensure the words and the visuals are packaged properly so that the project presents as one seamless piece. Together the words and visuals will produce impactful communications that will:

  • Reinforce you value proposition,
  • Evoke your brand,
  • Convey your messages in a meaningful and memorable way and
  • Improve response and ROI.

Once you understand that there are different types of writing and different types of writers, your task then becomes matching the talent to the company’s need and “growing” the writer with the company. With guidance, some coaching and eye to excellence, writing can become yet another service your team can credibly provide.

For information about how Cella can add value to your business through consulting, coaching, and training, please email cella@cellaconsulting.com. This article was written by Cella Consultant Ceil Wloczewski.

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