The value of communications writing
Communications writing is less important than ever. No one reads anymore. No one reads anymore.
So, what the heck are people doing staring at their computer screens all day?
While people are reading fewer books and periodicals, they are still reading thousands of words a day online. We have become voracious consumers of “content” – our world is understood through the words we use to describe and interpret information.
Is communications writing relevant today?
To prove the value of powerful communications writing I’m going to try and convince you of its importance in the space of this blog.
Part of my objective is to make you more conscious of your writing process – the decisions you make in terms of tone, structure and content that influence your readers’ responses.
We form opinions based on what we read. We make decisions based on what we read. In fact, words are our breadcrumbs – they are the most tangible product of our thinking process.
So why do we spend so little time and energy analyzing and improving the way we write – or more precisely, the ways we write? I say “ways” because the secret to a skilled communications writer is the ability to write in many different voices and styles depending on what is most effective with certain content and specific audiences.
For a more academic and authoritative approach, I might use a whitepaper style. Here’s how it would go:
Did you know that the top two most-in-demand job skills among Canadian employers are Communications and Writing, according to Workopolis?
I could even toss a quote in for greater credibility:
“Communications is the clear stand out skill appearing in most job postings.” – Workopolis, from Thinkopolis VIII
Or, for a more personal approach, I could draw upon an anecdote for impact:
For me, the ultimate test of my skill as a communications writer came when I needed to increase the credit line for my business. I’d failed at every level up to the VP. So, I found the VP on LinkedIn and knew I had one chance to change the fate of my company’s finances. No anger, just a very well-reasoned argument for how a bank shouldn’t be an obstacle in the path of small business success. The VP answered within an hour. I had the increase within days. What does that prove? You need a winning strategy. You need to plan your writing – as if the fate of a company was determined by the outcome of your communications. Because, many times it is.”
Or, I could try to encourage you to focus on your writing by acting as your cheerleader:
Most people treat writing as a nearly automatic process. Push the keys and watch the words magically appear. But the fact is, you already know how to structure a winning argument. You do it in meetings all the time, or in your relationships. You know in your head what words, phrases and ideas will resonate with your audience and which won’t. That’s part instinct and part experience. But you’ve learned through thousands of interactions at both a personal and professional level. So why is it that when we sit down to write, our ability to shape and adapt our message suddenly vanishes? The formality of the written word can be paralyzing. Yet the same way you assemble words into complete thoughts when speaking, you can push all the right buttons with your audience through your writing.
I could try another convincing angle by emphasizing the value of peer learning: hearing your colleagues reading their communications writing can inspire you to adopt new avenues of expression.
I could tell you that the communications writing skillset will serve you not only in your current job function but will also improve your ability to get the next job, earn the next contract or convince your senior leadership team of the merits of a specific plan of action.
But, likely, you haven’t read this far. After all, no one reads these days. Your attention span was probably too short-lived. And you thought, “My writing is fine.” You said to yourself, “I’m better in meetings. It’s never held me back before. Just what this world needs, more blah-blah.”
Or the light could go on: you could think back to that pitch that didn’t go anywhere, the new tagline that was never fully adopted, the warning that was ignored, the tip that wasn’t followed, the partnership that was never cemented, the job offer that never came or the grant application that was rejected.
Think back to major milestones in your professional life and the role that writing played in engineering your successes . Think about the role that communications could have played in improving less favourable outcomes. The evidence is right there in front of you.
I would say good luck, but instead of relying on luck, how about attending the Communications Writing seminar on June 15, 2022?
CMA Communications Writing Training
June 15, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm