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Friday, February 05, 2010

12 tips to improve corporate writing

Katie Baduesz wrote an great article listing 12 tips to improve corporate writing. I think they apply to libraries as well.

She stresses the importance of writing for your audience and to take into account that no one has time to read anything that isn't interesting and relevant. Read the full article here.

1. Be clear Don’t get caught up using technical terms and convoluted sentence structures.

2. Use action verbs - Try using visual verbs—verbs you can picture happening, such as plunge, hover, unveil and rebound.

3. Apply active voice Noun-verb construction works best. For example, say “He made a mistake,” not “Mistakes were made.”

4. Specify everything Be concrete in your words and state everything directly.

5. Avoid jargon If you must use jargon, limit the number of terms you use and don’t forget to define them.

6. Focus on people Ylisela suggests finding real people to help write a story. “People make stories. The more often we can tell a story about a process, program or policy by focusing on the people affected, the better off we are. Processes, programs and policies are inherently boring. Nobody wants to hear about those things. People want to hear about people,” he says.

With this in mind, get out of your office, go find people and see what’s going on. Do interviews in person or over the telephone. And avoid e-mail interviews at all costs—you can’t get a sense of personality over e-mail.

7. Compose high-quality headlines A good headline should be short (around four to five words) and accurate.

8. Don’t forget the lede Answer the question “What is this story about?” in a creative, inviting way, and you’re sure to win the reader’s attention.

9. Include quotes Readers want to hear a "real" point of view and they want to understand what’s being said.

10. Write with your ear

11. Allow yourself to write crap Good writing involves rewriting, so embrace the chaos and then walk away.

12. Take chances Start thinking outside of the box when considering topics to write about.


Anonymous said...

Excellent portrait of significant how to make writing live for the reader

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