Writing & Editing

image of vintage typewriter and hands typing

Writing & Editing

Good writing is eloquent and persuasive.

Even the driest clinical, medical or technical writing should be a pleasure to read.

Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

Words have work to do. Our objective is to first get attention. Next, get the reader’s interest. Then we want the reader to desire what we are offering. Last, we want them to take action. That could be BUY, subscribe, book, enquire.

What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM)

Here’s a tip with your business writing. It’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM. We need to ask ourselves this constantly when we are producing words.

Think from the point of view of your prospect. Why are they reading? Why are they investing their precious time and energy reading about how great your company is. They don’t care.

They just want your benefits. And they want it to be easy. And reading (like listening) to someone’s ego-trip isn’t easy. Neither is wading through loads of jargon. It’s awful.

Voice of Customer

One trick is to use the voice of your customer.

Imagine you are Betty Bankstown or Mary in Mittagong or Ken of Kempsey (whoever your target reader is). Speak like them. Talk about your problem and the solution. The blessed relief of finding…you guessed it, YOU!

Now you’re the hero. Now you can tell us about your history and unparalleled customer service or whatever.

Types of writing

There are three types of writing that every organisation will produce at some stage. I can help with any of these.

Organisational

Such as:

  • ‘About’ information
  • Vision and Mission statements
  • Brand stories
  • Media kits
  • Websites (targeting your keywords for search engine optimisation]

Promotional

Such as:

  • Brochures and flyers including interactive, electronic material
  • Blogs and guest blogs
  • Creative advertisements
  • Media releases
  • Social Media posts/ads

Documents

Such as:

  • Clinical guides
  • Product guides
  • User guides
  • Product/Service fact sheets
  • Press/Magazine articles

Copyediting

If you already have some material you are reasonably happy with, copyediting is a crucial last step.

‘Copy’ means the text.

Copyediting refers to the process of checking the text for mistakes, inconsistencies, language flow, and repetition.

For example, do you use US English or UK English? Either is okay depending on your audience, as long as it’s consistent.

Authorize or authorise? Ageing or aging?  E-mail or email? When it comes to consistency, work with your existing style sheet, or develop one as you go.

Copyediting will weed out any errors you (or your staff) might not be aware of because you are too ‘close’ to the material, or have been through many revisions. There is a real phenomenon of ‘typo blindness’ when you have read the same thing over and over again.

Importantly copyediting also checks language flow and understandability.

Explain jargon in clear ways, even if it is difficult or complex information. Break it down so a child would understand. That could include using analogies and metaphors that not only help readers understand concepts, but it also builds trust between you and your reader.

Copyediting can also help identify factually incorrect statements and indicate where referencing might be required.

Copyediting can also include footnotes and link checking (if online).

Danielle Spinks-Earl

BA Comm. M Mktg. Freelance writer, designer, marketing communications manager.