This week I have an extra teenager in the house: a French exchange student. She has been here for one night and is obviously finding the whole situation very strange as she does not speak a lot of English. There is a lot of laughter, a lot of pointing and many mispronounced words and she has gone off to school this morning, no doubt looking forward to sharing her experiences with her friends in her own tongue, but it got me thinking. How often do we make sure that our message is coming across clearly and succinctly? Or is our message misunderstood?
Naomi Dunsford of Itty Biz wrote a blog post last autumn. She suggested that small business owners needed to ensure that their customers knew what they were selling and that it was important that they check that they get their message across. This led to a post on this very website where I made sure that I explicitly explained what my message is and what services I offer.
Check the Message of Your Website
It can be a bit difficult to examine your own website and promotional literature subjectively, so you might wish to enlist the help of trusted friends. Ask them to look over your work and check it through while considering the following questions:
What is the message of this writing?
Is it clear from the writing what is being sold?
Can you easily find which company is selling the product on the information and can you find their contact details?
Do you have any questions about the product or service that have not yet been answered?
The answers may surprise you. Use their responses to inform your work when you next redesign the leaflet or website. Add information, make sure that the contact details are clear and ensure that your message is coming across loud and clear.
Just as important as your website and promotional literature is how you come across when writing professional communications. I had a message from a potential client recently. He had been contacted by several copywriters after he posted about a job on a forum. He had chosen to answer me because some of the communications he had received from other people had contained spelling and grammatical errors. If you are a copywriter, then your work must always be proof-read and checked thoroughly. Even I let errors go occasionally, but I do my best to ensure that the work is as perfect as possible.
Emails can seem impersonal, brusque or even rude! If you have a tendency to write short emails, then it is best to have someone to check over them that you have got the tone right. There are probably more misunderstandings over emails than anything else. Don’t forget to use a spellchecker, but always read through yourself as well – spellcheckers do not pick up words that are spelled correctly but in the wrong place.
Pick your words with care, check that what you have written is as grammatically correct as you can make it and proof-read before sending out email will all help to ensure that your communications are professionally produced.
Make sure that your company is sending the right message to your customers to ensure that there is no misunderstanding about what you can offer them.
- Should You Employ a Cheap Copywriter? (thecreativewriter.co.uk)