Why Good Writing Matters to Business Success
Everybody writes, but not everybody writes with confidence. Spend any time on the internet and it’s obvious writing isn’t considered a core skill in many businesses. Let’s not even think about social media and how the English language is being mangled, a lot of it unintentionally.
But here’s the thing: we’re living in an era where the written word is a driving force in the way we communicate. According to the State of Writing 2020 research, nearly 60 per cent of businesses plan to write more this year than they did last year. We’re sending more email, we’re writing more articles and blog posts, and we’re working harder than ever to influence Google rankings by publishing online.
And, yet, the same research shows writers are struggling. Half of moderately effective communicators have difficulty writing consistently and 40 per cent struggle to maintain the quality of writing over time. Even though the vast majority of businesses say they know what successful writing looks like, less than half say their own content is extremely or very effective.
The cost of producing all that content adds up, but poor writing is preventing the kind of return most businesses expect from their investment.
What is the cost of poor writing?
- Careless errors cause brand damage – Poor writing can be seen as a reflection of a company’s quality. Spelling errors have become an everyday occurrence in business, and business writing in Australia is loaded with grammar errors. Given the choice between a business with clean copy and one with mistakes in their writing, most people choose quality.
- Poor writing shows a lack of respect for your readers – When fewer people have writing skills, and even fewer respect the need for good writing, you can easily set your brand apart by providing exemplary copy for your marketing and communications. If anything, it shows that you respect your readers and take extra effort on their behalf.
- Writing is the first barrier to success – Many of the first points of contact in a business setting are in writing. Resumes, cover letters, tenders, proposals and even email are all ways you make a first impression. If the writing is of poor quality, outdated or longwinded, chances are you’re not going to get a second chance.
What can you do to improve writing effectiveness in your organisation?
The best way to learn how to write more effectively is to discover what you’re doing wrong in your own writing. Each writer has their own style, relies on certain crutches and makes their own mistakes. Examples are useful but it’s critical each person discovers their particular weaknesses and learns how to improve.
An important aspect of modern writing is learning how to be concise. In an age of too much information, the best writers get straight to the point and know how to keep their readers interested in what’s on the page.
In addition, modern writing must focus on what it takes to be successful when publishing online or through email. Do you know best practice for headlines or subject lines? Are you keeping Google happy? Is your writing formatted in a way to attract online readers?
What are the benefits of good writing?
Writing is a competitive advantage. Content marketing, public relations, corporate communications, stakeholder communications and even employee relations all depend on writing. Those who do it well are positioned to spend less time and money on day-to-day operations. If your in-house staff are confident writers, it reduces the dependency on outsourcing writing projects to agencies and freelancers.
If you’re planning on writing more or feel like the writing in your organisation isn’t as effective as it could be, it’s time to make a change.
Sarah Mitchell develops and implements content marketing strategies for organisations all over the world. She loves helping businesses convert their content initiatives into long-term business assets. If you would like to read more about Sarah and her workshops on Essemy click this link.