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iMPR Writing for Business Success!


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Writing for business success helps individuals to prepare effectively for nearly any type of writing project. This presentation covers:
- Planning & Research
- Crafting an outline
- Identifying and conveying key messages
- Effectively writing for a niche market
- Importance of proper spelling and grammar

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iMPR Writing for Business Success!

  1. 1. Writing for Business Success Webinar: December 11, 2014
  2. 2. “My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel – it is, before all, to make you see.” - Joseph Conrad 2
  3. 3. Ilissa Miller, Founder and CEO • 15+ years of experience in sales, marketing and product development • Managing Partner at another PR firm. During this time, company’s growth propelled the firm to be considered one of the leading PR & Marketing communication companies in the industry • Clarity in messages, increased brand awareness in the market and overall success • Director of Marketing Communications and Public Relations for Telx, Product Marketing as well as Channel Marketing Manager for Telstra International, Director of IP Services and Director of Business Development and Marketing for Band-X • Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Literature from SUNY Potsdam where she also studied voice performance at Crane School of Music 3
  4. 4. Joanna Styczen, Technical Writing Director • Accomplished writer with a solid professional foundation in sales and marketing • Accountable for press releases, white papers, research documents, reports, proposals and corporate literature • Senior Writer for Harvard Oaks Enterprises, Inc. • B.A. in Journalism as well as dual minors in both Spanish and Political Science from Illinois State University • Local Resume Writer Certification, National Resume Writers’ Association 4
  5. 5. Webinar Goals • Plan and research • Craft a powerful outline • Identify & convey key messages • Understand tone and voice • Effectively write for a niche audience/market • Use proper spelling & grammar The goal of this webinar is to help you improve your business writing skills by teaching you how to: 5
  6. 6. Planning & Research 6
  7. 7. Planning & Research Topic, Market, Audience • Who is your target audience? • How well do you know your subject matter? • What are the key market trends (news / reports, etc.) • Identify / collect facts and figures (data sells!) • Research the company / products / services, including competitor offerings • Identify key messages you want to convey – suggest no more than three (and prioritize) • If touting a product / solution, ensure you research and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the solution (so you can emphasize and avoid appropriately) 7
  8. 8. Understanding Tone & Voice 8
  9. 9. How to Find Your Voice & Hone Your Tone Answering these simple questions can help you define the voice and tone to leverage in your writing: • What is the purpose of what you’re writing? • What do you want to communicate about your company's brand? • Do you want to inform, entertain, or motivate readers to take action? • Who is your target audience? • What mood would you like to set with your piece? Source: Grammar Girl 9
  10. 10. Identifying & Conveying Key Messages 10
  11. 11. Crafting Key Messages • Identify your ideal target customer  What’s their profile?  Who are you trying to reach? • Create a brand vocabulary  Words and key phrases  Employee and customer descriptions  Adjectives • Develop a key messaging document  Overall messaging  Financial position of the company  Focus – services / geography  Why your company?  Latest News  Hot Industry Issues  Company facts / figures  Key milestones / awards  Product / Service Availability 11
  12. 12. Crafting Key Messages, continued • Other Items to Consider:  Repetition is key  Competitor messaging  Supporting messages  Evidence and stats  Avoid industry jargon  Don’t confuse your audience 12
  13. 13. Creating an Effective Outline 13
  14. 14. Get Organized Create Your Outline • What information is required to include and will be weighted heavily? • What additional information is beneficial to include? • Identify who will be quoted and key area(s) of expertise • Find key statistics theories, images, plot points, or personal reflections to support your piece (these depend on the nature of your work) • Keep a separate FAQ of information that may need to be addressed outside of the document(s) 14
  15. 15. Traditional Outline ‘Topic’ and ‘Sentence’ Outlines Introduction • Background • Thesis statement Body • First major category of support  Supporting detail  Supporting detail • Second major category of support  Supporting detail  Supporting detail • Third major category of support  Supporting detail  Supporting detail Conclusion • Restate the thesis • Review major categories of support • Provide the answer, solution, or final option Source: Gallaudet University 15
  16. 16. Writing Style 16
  17. 17. Technical vs. Persuasive Writing • The Six Principals of Technical Writing  Active voice  Grammar & punctuation  Understand your audience  Short sentences for easier comprehension  More formal and devoid of any emotion • Persuasive Writing Arguments While more emotional and marketing-focused, persuasive writing does require proving your point via facts and figures, examples, narratives, testimony and definition.  State your argument, then support it with one or more facts, logic, expert opinions, statistics or specific customer case studies. • Aristotle’s "ingredients for persuasion”: Logos, Pathos & Ethos  Logos— "The data is perfectly clear: this investment has consistently turned a profit year-over- year, even in spite of market declines in other areas.”  Pathos— "There’s no price that can be placed on peace of mind. Our advanced security systems will protect the well-being of your family so that you can sleep soundly at night.”  Ethos— "As a doctor, I am qualified to tell you that this course of treatment will likely generate the best results." 17
  18. 18. Writing for a Specific Industry Tricks and Tips: • Niche, complex and fast-paced industries are evolving everyday • Spell out acronyms first. Ex: Software-defined Networking (SDN) is an approach to computer networking that allows network admins to manage network services through abstraction of lower-level functionality. SDN is an emerging architecture that is dynamic… • Search for similar projects and identify common industry ‘speak’, tone and voice • Identify in-house, go-to experts • Technical people want technical information • Include specific case studies and testimonials 18
  19. 19. Grammar & Spelling Tips 19
  20. 20. Apostrophes To show possession by one owner, add an apostrophe and the letter ‘s’ to the owner. Example: Michael’s. To show possession by more than one owner, add an apostrophe after the letter s if you’re dealing with a regular plural word. Example: ladies’. To show ownership for an irregular plural, add an apostrophe and then the letter ‘s’. Example: Children’s, geese’s. If two people own something together, use only one apostrophe. Example: Larry and Ella’s wedding. If two people own things separately, as individuals, use two apostrophes. Example: Larry’s and Ella’s new shoes. 20
  21. 21. Misplaced Modifiers • Misplaced Modifiers For clear, logical sentences, aim modifiers so that they strike as close to the intended targets as possible. The example above suggests that a gold man owns a watch. How can we correct this? Now it is the watch that is gold. 21
  22. 22. Commas Avoid missing commas In a series Example: Jane needed to buy milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. Also note, the comma before the word ‘and’ is optional. After an introductory element Example: In the novel Twilight, Bella lives in Forks. In a compound sentence Example: The recipe sounded simple, but Julie burnt the cookies. Source: 22
  23. 23. Things to Avoid Avoid the lack of subject-verb agreement Examples: The ugly duckling hates the mirrored room. (duckling-singular subject, hates –singular verb) Hedge clippers are always a thoughtful gift. (clippers-plural subject, are-plural verb) Two subjects joined by ‘and’ take a plural verb. Example: Bill and Caroline have 16 children. (Bill and Caroline- plural subject, have-plural verb) Avoid using double negatives Example: No class exercises cannot replace training in the laboratory. Class exercises cannot replace training in the laboratory. ✔ 23
  24. 24. Things to Avoid, contd. Avoid the use of run-on sentences A run-on sentence is a sentence that is made of two sentences that could stand alone. Example: The computer printouts are ready to be taken to the laboratory and please deliver them promptly. The computer printouts are ready to be taken to the laboratory. Please deliver them promptly. Avoid redundancy Keep it short and sweet; eliminate repetitious expressions. Examples: The book was a free gift. The book was free. or The book was a gift. The most common redundancies: ✔ (absolutely) essential; (careful) scrutiny; (close) proximity; and eradicate (completely) ✔ 24
  25. 25. Things to Avoid, contd. Avoid unnecessary verb tense shifts Example: When Bob died, it affects his whole family. When Bob died, it affected his whole family. ✔ Avoid the use of slang, jargon, and clichés - like the plague Avoid the wrong prepositions Example: I was standing in the middle of the street and I was standing on the middle of the street mean two different things. 25
  26. 26. Helpful Grammar / Spelling Resources Grammarly (paid service) WhiteSmoke (paid service) Modern Language Association (MLA) Formatting and Style Guide (free) American Psychological Association (APA) Style Website (free) GrammarBase (free) - grammar / spell-checker and corrector. Title Capitalization - Automatically capitalizes correct words in titles. (free) Hemingway App - Helps you avoid run-on sentences and keeps your writing clear. (free) 26
  27. 27. “I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished.” - James Patterson 27
  28. 28. Thank You! Questions? │ 28