Developing a Strategy for Written Communications
In previous articles, we discussed why your company needs a content strategy and provided some simple copywriting tips that apply to everyone in business. To build on that foundation, this post addresses the importance of developing a strategy for all written communication and some practical questions to assist you and your team in the process.
Whether each of us realize or not, unwritten strategies influence the way we communicate in writing to different individuals and groups every day. For instance, an email to a colleague is probably going to adhere to a different strategy than an email to a prospective client. But what about more in-depth written communications such as brochures, eBooks, white papers, or even daily social media management? These types of written communication greatly benefit from a written list of stated objectives, insight into how the written communication will impact various stakeholders, thorough understanding of the readers and their motivations, and a clear picture of the context in which the communication falls.
Consider the following list of questions which, when thoroughly answered, can have a dramatic impact on your written communications:
- What are you writing and how do you want readers to respond to it? (keep it to themselves, share it, be convinced by it, etc.)
- Who is impacted by the communication? (employees, customers, senior staff, investors, etc.)
- Who are your readers? (relationship to your organization, demographics, knowledge of the subject, relevant cultural or personal characteristics, sentiment toward your organization or industry, etc.)
- Why do your readers want/need the information? (to complete a task, answer a question, obtain data, influence decisions, support a perspective, etc.)
- In what context or environment does the communication and subject matter fall? (favorable vs. unfavorable, known vs. unknown, simple vs. complex, etc.)
Once you and your team have answered all of these questions, preferably in writing, you will have a much more clear picture of what needs to be written and a strategy that should influence wording, tone, length, graphics, and even the medium.
This list is a snapshot of what our copywriters ask themselves before writing content for our clients and it is a substantive part of what equips them to adopt and/or develop unique voices for those we serve. If you would like our help in developing content and strategies for your company, just contact us to get started.