Great writing. Everyone thinks they can do it.

Posted by: Sophie Hewitt-Jones, Bladonmore

But here's the truth. It's not easy, not everyone can do it, and those who are most likely to think they can, probably can't. The very best writers spend their lives agonising about not being able to find the right words, about honing the perfect (uncliched) metaphor, crafting the most evocative turn of phrase; in short, being able to make themselves heard and touching their readers emotionally and rationally.

And now that every marketer has content writ large in his or her strategy document, effective writing as a cornerstone of that work is non-negotiable. Being both nimble and powerful with the pen (or the keyboard) is going to be fundamental to the success of their communications campaigns.

The client who insists on her or his copy being published untouched and unedited is well known to those of us in branded content. And sometimes that's fine, but often it just isn't, for the simple reason that without the help of expert journalists - writers, editors and sub editors (the real unsung heroes and heroines of word-smithery), the desired message is rarely going to get through to the reader with the required bite.

Writing well is a learned craft; a skill that requires application, a degree of understanding of basic techniques and methods, and a lot of practise.

We recently held a day-long workshop for a client's in-house communications team. They spend at least 75% of their time writing -speeches, white papers, news stories, features, interviews, the annual report... you name it.

Such a broad portfolio of different types of writing requires flexibility, an understanding of story structure, experience in writing succinctly for different channels, and an obsession with picking the right story angle and tone of voice for various readers.  It's a lot, and it's difficult.

Writing will always be an important part of a marketer's day job, but in many cases there is no substitute for partnering with professionals to help get your writing right.  Do so and you will be accessing the knowledge and experience of people who've studied their craft and created written content for different audiences in different formats. They know how to make words sing and audiences listen.   

And, at the very least, taking the time to understand how journalists work, what makes good writing good, and why some things get read and others don't, will encourage marketing teams to better understand the value that expert writing partners bring to the table. It will also inspire them to do write better copy themselves when they need to.

Sophie Hewitt-Jones  - Content Director - Bladonmore


Posted in CMA blog
7thFeb 2012

« Back to news listing