" F*ck, you can write. "
– Lindsay Tuffin, former News Editor, News Corp Australia
Articles, case studies, website and intranet content, technical reports, procedure manuals ... you name it, I've written it. It's not like I magically know what you want to say though. I'll sit down with you and your subject matter experts and painlessly extract your message for packaging into a format and style that your intended audience will appreciate. No subject is too technical to translate into plain language. Except maybe differential calculus.
The approach comprises two simple questions: what's your point, and who cares? Don't tell us what you know but what your audience needs to know. My job is to put myself in the reader's shoes and keep the message on target.
If you haven't met them already I'd love to introduce you to the new range of online collaboration tools – SharePoint, Google Drive, and project management tools like monday.com and Basecamp. They've revolutionised the writing process yet for some reason many aren't using these wonderful tools to their potential.
To attract attention you need good content – for your website, in your reports and newsletters, your blog posts.
'Content marketing' and 'content strategy' are just terms that reflect what we've always preached: make your message appealing to your audience. It's this, not tricky behind-the-scenes website coding, that will put you up high on search results.
Templates for writing your own story
Not everyone has the budget to hire a writer each time they need a blog post. But since it can be really difficult corralling your herd ... er ... staff into generating schmick content for your quarterly newsletter or website, I've come up with a solution: story forms. A story form is a simple, non-intimidating template that your staff can fill in to give you all the facts and figures about the story they have to tell without presenting them with an intimidating blank page.
Tailored to your organisation, the story form enables you to collect a useful background from each contributor in a consistent way so you can quickly write the story in your own style. The article-generating process goes from a mishmash of flying information and jargon into a tightly-constrained format that's easy to wrangle. If you do end up employing a professional to polish the words it will take them a couple of hours, not a couple of days.