Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The importance of good writing

The new website is up and finally, running at optimum efficiency. There was a minor glitch with redirecting traffic from my former site, to the new one. It was a minor issue, but one that involved the melding of professional minds.

Having a quality designer to partner with has been a boon to my businesses. My professional writing business and my publishing endeavor both have websites that I wouldn’t have been able to create on my own. Yes, I could have done a cookie-cutter, cut and paste site, but the overall look and professional touches would have been lacking.

Take for instance my RiverVision site. Being able to accept book orders allowed me to pre-sell close to 100 books before the finished product was off the presses. It gives the site an added feature (e-commerce) that would have been lacking if I decided to forego the services of a professional designer and web guru.

One issue that I encounter frequently, when marketing my professional writing services, is an attitude among certain business owners and managers that it is ok to produce shoddy copy and substandard writing. Many of these supposed professionals, who ought to know better, think it makes sense to write their own copy. Just because you wrote two term papers in college and write an occasional letter to the editor, doesn’t make you a writer.

I’m amazed at the amount of boring, unreadable content that I run across when I pick up brochures, newsletters and other materials, produced with the express purpose of promoting their companies. At least on the business side, they are more likely to recognize the need to use a professional for graphics and layout.

Frequently, non-profit organizations and other agencies scrimp even on the design end. Apparently, they’re content to have unappealing brochures and other marketing collateral that is also poorly written.

This isn’t intended as a slam, but offered out of courtesy to you. Promoting a professional appearance is important in every aspect of your business. Your company’s communications speak loudly and often about you, and whether others should transact business with you. The same applies to non-profits and other organizations.

Another issue with producing your own copy involves the matter of time. It takes time to write clear, concise copy. Frequent phone calls, meetings, sales appointments and fundraising, deprive your writing of the momentum required to write winning material. Also, if you are president, CEO, or an executive director, does it make sense for you to take three hours out of your day to try to pen that article or op ed, sitting, waiting for you to write? A professional writer can help free up some time for you to attend to other matters that are equally important.

Let 2006 be the year that you finally add a professional touch to your company’s writing and other communications. You’ll be amazed what a couple of well-written articles, a company profile, or a retrospective on your firm or organization can do to jazz up your newsletter, company brochure, or annual report. There might be places to shave a few dollars, but that area isn’t on the writing and communications side.

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