It’s 5:30 a.m. and my alarm is beeping. I grab my iPhone and turn the alarm off. Instead of jumping out of bed, I hold up my iPhone in the dark and read through Facebook and work emails. I may even read a short news article if it catches my attention.
At work, I read and write countless emails and regularly check social media—Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—throughout the day, following links and reading articles of interest to my business and clients. At night, before I go to bed, I am still reading and writing—sorting through emails and reading the day’s news on the Internet. While I run a marketing and PR firm, and thus write and follow the news for a living, I doubt that this sounds unfamiliar to many professionals.
We now read and write more than ever before in history. The Internet—which many have decried as the killer of the written word—has in fact had the opposite effect. We are inundated with written communications, from text messages and social media posts to emails, blog posts and comments on news stories.
Our ability to communicate effectively is now utterly dependent on our ability to write. Email is so pervasive in the professional world—an imperative tool to getting things done—that cumbersome, garbled and wordy emails waste precious time and money.
Technology exposes how you write
Not only are we writing more than ever before, our writing abilities are now more visible than ever before. Every time you post to Facebook, tweet or send an email you are conveying something about yourself. Readers make snap judgments—about a writer’s thinking, analysis and credibility—based on the quality of the writing.
The same is true on a corporate level. Companies with poorly written websites, press releases and marketing materials are communicating messages of low quality, laziness and disregard for their customers’ time and attention.
Put good writing front and center in your marketing efforts
Ann Handley, the noted author of Content Rules and chief content officer of MarketingProfs, recently declared that 2014 would be “the year of good writing.” In her article for LinkedIn’s Big Ideas series, Handley said that “words matter. Your words (what you say) and style (how you say it) are your most cherished (and undervalued) assets.”
When I read Handley’s article, I silently cheered. Too many companies undervalue the importance of good writing. And they do so at their peril.
So, how’s your company’s writing? To find out, ask people outside of your company to quickly read your website and then tell you what your company does, who its customers are, and why your company is good at what it does. If they can’t quickly tell you the answers to those questions, well, Houston, we have a problem.
I challenge you to recognize the value of good writing and learn how to spot it. If you don’t have good writers on staff, hire them or find a marketing agency that values good writing. Your corporate reputation—and your company’s long-term success—depend on it.
If you’d like to improve your company’s writing, contact us. We’re marketers who get the value of good writing.