While writing may be a much-anticipated creative outlet—a bullet on your job description that you actually look forward to—when you write for a company, that piece of work isn’t yours.
Finding the right external writer to handle your b2b writing needs is a lot like dating—you have to know yourself first before you’ll even have a chance at finding your perfect partner. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of questions you may want to consider before beginning your search for your business writing soulmate.
Writing is a skill most of us learned in the early days of grade school—and one that we practice every day writing emails, notes and LinkedIn status updates. So why would you ever pay someone to do it for you?
As writers, we often get attached to the way words work. So the idea of making up new words doesn’t always sit well with us. But should it?
Founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman, and launched in 2003, LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) has become the dominant Web-based professional networking platform. I’ve been using it and have encouraged clients to do so for some time now. As good as LinkedIn is, it did stumble somewhat by not embracing social media tools and networks fast enough.
This all changed over the last year or so with the integration of a number of social media capabilities into the LinkedIn platform. In my view, these are the most important ones:
1. Twitter (www.twitter.com) – you can now have your Twitter feed automatically appear in your LinkedIn profile as soon as you’ve tweeted
2. Blogging – your blog posts now also get uploaded onto your profile right after they are posted on your blog (this feature is available for a number of blogging platforms, including WordPress and TypePad)
3. Slideshare (www.slideshare.net) – any voice-enabled PowerPoint presentations you’ve uploaded to to SildeShare now appear in your profile as well
These changes are important for a number of reasons. First, they expose more of your brand and content to your LinkedIn professional network. These contacts can now see your tweets and blog posts without having to go elsewhere. Second, they save you a ton of time in that you no longer have to update your LinkedIn profile with content you’ve created elsewhere. Last, by making sure it embraces social media, LinkedIn is taking steps to stay relevant and, in the process, protect the myriad of hours its members have spent in building their profiles and extending their networks.
There is a new level of immediacy in so many of the written marketing communications vehicles we use today – including blogs, micro-blogs, and Web sites you can update with the click of a button. Your thoughts can be “out there” in an instant. And sometimes that’s not such a good thing.
Here are five levels of editing you can apply to any piece of writing that will maintain your credibility online:
1. The content. Save your message and walk away from it for at least five or ten minutes, or longer if you can. Then re-read your message from an objective perspective. Is this what you meant to say? Could it be easily misunderstood or inflame controversy? Controversy is not necessarily a bad thing, nor can you always predict it, but it’s helpful to be as prepared as you can.
2. The spelling and typing. Use your computer’s spell checker to catch any typos or other errors. Reading your message aloud (see the next point) can also help with words that are commonly mixed up (e.g., here and hear). If you’re not sure, look it up.
3. The grammar and readability. Read your message out loud and ensure your words flow and make sense. Don’t try to combine too many ideas in the same sentence. Run-on sentences make it too hard for your reader to stay with you.
4. The density. Break up long paragraphs so they are just one or two sentences each. Use lists to highlight key information and to allow the reader to scan through your message.
5. The framework. Introduce your message, make your point, and then conclude your message.
Remember that just because you CAN share your thoughts with people around the world in an instant doesn’t mean that you SHOULD. So click the pause button before you click the send button, and practice these basic editing tips.
AR Communications Inc.
The content creators