Top tips for keeping content tiptop

In today’s era of information overload it’s vital that written communication is crystal clear, accurate and concise. No-one has time to wade through reams of irrelevant, unnecessary information. We need to understand exactly what you are saying - first time, every time.

We cannot overstress the importance of excellent content. Too often we help clients develop striking branding, only to see it devalued by mediocre content - in brochures, websites and newsletters.

Don’t skimp. Use a professional to write your content, rather than someone in the office who happens to be able to string a few words together. It will cost you more - but the results will be worthwhile.

Rather like those radio ads that use the CEO to do the voice-over, communications written by unqualified staff are often simply not up to scratch – and the results can be equally cringe-worthy.

Catgraphics works with professional writers to ensure an excellent end product.  Alternatively, you can choose from a number of excellent freelance writers. They tend to specialise in different areas, so don’t choose a financial journalist if you’re looking for someone to write the copy for your consumer website.    

If you really insist on going it alone, here are our top tips: 

 

  • Your intro is vital

The introduction is the most important part of any written communication.  It must grab your reader immediately.  If it doesn’t spark interest right away, chances are you’ll lose your audience.  A professional writer will craft an introduction to attract interest and motivate the reader to carry on reading.

  • Less is more

Content should always be succinct.  Less is more.  Every word must deserve its place.  If you’re not sure whether to leave something in, omit it.  Don’t include any irrelevant information.

It is far more difficult to prepare a tight, concise piece of writing than it is to waffle. Strive for brevity.  Blaise Pascal once famously ended a letter with an apology: I'm sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write you a short one.  

  • Accuracy is key

Ensure your content is always 100% accurate – in terms of both facts and grammar.

Factual accuracy:  remember there is a difference between fact and opinion. William Shakespeare is the greatest playwright that ever lived is an opinion, not a fact.  Use facts to back up your claims, and ensure you use reputable sources.  Be careful of believing everything you find through Google – it can be unreliable. 

If you produce sloppy content, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, you create a very bad impression.  Why would clients trust your company to provide a product or service if you cannot even get the basics right?

  • Match the writer to the task

A graduate staff member, who achieved A+ for assignments all the way through university, may well not be the right person to prepare your web site copy.  The fact they he or she is a good academic writer does not necessarily lead to success when tackling a completely different style of writing.  You will be able to find a professional writer that specialises in exactly what you need – be it dynamic marketing copy for you website or technical copy for a manual. 

  • Be consistent

Consistency is key in written communications.  Make sure that writing style, headings, bullet points and punctuation are uniform throughout.   

  • Control quality

If your employees write external communications – such as client letters and proposals – ensure you have a suitably qualified person doing quality control.  This may delay delivery, but at least you won’t risk sloppy work going out to your clients or the general public.  And remember that the person checking quality needs to be a skilled writer; don’t appoint someone just because they hold a managerial position.  

  • Keep your writing dynamic

Keep sentences short but varied and don’t use complex words.  Where possible, stick to the active voice.  It is more direct than passive voice, uses less words and avoids awkward forms of the verb.  Most importantly, it is easier to read.  

Please be in touch with us if you need any advice on your content – we’d be happy to help.

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