Be-a-better-writer blogs are awash with the 3 Cs that they promise will make your business writing brilliant. But what is the 3-Cs mantra exactly?
Is it ‘Be Clear, Concise and Coherent’, ‘Be Compelling, Cooperative and Consistent’ or perhaps ‘Be Correct, Creative and Credible’?
Truthfully, those are all adjectives we’d love people to use when describing our content. But when thinking about public relations and marketing, we need to get our priorities right.
At WMA, we agree with the writing gurus that clear and concise writing is that initial hook we cast to catch a reader’s attention. For us though, there’s a third feature that can take marketing and PR communications to the next level.
We believe the best business writing is customer-centric.
Here’s why we think being customer-centric, clear and concise can make you a better business writer.
Write for your customer and not for you.
Imagine you’re your customer. Read back through what you’ve written. As the customer, do you feel like you’re the focus of the content?
Writing for yourself and not for your customers is an all-too-common trap. We fall into the trap because it’s easier to think from our perspective than from anyone else’s. But your customers want to know how you, your products and services will benefit them. Otherwise, you’ve lost them.
“What’s in it for them?” is the perspective every successful business writer masters. A top tip is to use the words ‘you’ or ‘your’ double the number of times that you use ‘me’, ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘our’ or ‘us’.
Write less to say more.
Raise your hand if you’ve got the time (or willpower) to read walls of text. I doubt anyone’s even twitched a finger.
This is why good writers need to be economical with words.
Marketing content is no space for overly descriptive language. You could do without words like ‘really’, ‘very’, ‘actually’ or ‘extremely’. You could also substitute ‘at the present time’ with ‘now’, ‘a six-week period of time’ with ‘six weeks’, or ‘since the time when’ with ‘since’.
The most important part of writing is editing. Trim the fat. Get your message across in fewer words, and you’re more likely to keep your readers’ attention. A handy trick is to aim for a word count that’s 10% below your actual word limit because the likelihood is, you’ll always write too much.
Write with precision to capture attention.
Writing concisely, though, doesn’t mean that you should not be writing clearly. This is where shorter sentences help. If you’re using lots of commas, you know your sentences are too long. And your content will simply be too tiring to read.
Before you begin writing, plan out what you want to say. And, better yet, write down exactly what you want your reader to think when they reach the end of your text. What’s your main message? What are your key points? Then build your content out from there.
The key takeaway
Make every word count. Writing is all about engaging your audience, and remember your audience are human beings. In this context, they’re probably also your (potential) customers.
If you don’t write in a way that’s customer-centric, concise and clear, you’ll likely lose your audience to boredom, confusion and – unfortunately – to your competitors.
If you’re looking to improve the quality of your PR and marketing communications, contact the WMA team to see how we can help!