Communication, not just words – here are some of this communicator’s resolutions for 2012.
- No gobbledygook: Dan Pallatta says it so well in his Harvard Business Review blog post entitled I Don’t Understand What Anyone is Saying Anymore. We have so many buzz words, acronyms, and expressions that don’t really communicate anything. In a former job I read a white paper written by the marketing manager, and 5 pages into it I still didn’t know what it was talking about. There were a lot of words, but it really didn’t say anything. Sometimes marketers are expected to write that way, and new marketers see their peers writing that way so they learn to do the same. I resolve to write clear text with nouns, verbs and adjectives, omitting the latest catch phrases and acronyms whenever possible.
- No meandering: If you’re writing a novel you can afford to go off on tangents and lengthy descriptions, but in business writing you lose your audience if you take too long getting to the point. I like to tell stories, so I have to consciously edit myself when doing business writing. Some content I read seems like a kid in school was trying to pad an essay to get it to the required number of words. I write songs as a pastime, and you don’t get many words to tell a story in a song. I try to remember that when writing ads and promotional offers, and also business correspondence. I resolve to write clearly and concisely, with carefully chosen words that quickly get to “what’s in it for me?”.
- No meaningless strings of keywords: I cringe when I read some SEO optimized content, so full of keywords that it has no flow and says nothing. I know from doing SEO work that it is equal parts art and science. It’s very challenging to write well and still get all those keywords in, but I resolve to practice and become a writer who can integrate the necessary keywords into text that communicates and that flows well.