A Guide to… Effective Writing

200402422-001Have you ever thought about how much of each day you spend writing? Not just writing copy for marketing materials, a newsletter or other business-related activities, but changing text on web sites, sending e-mail, blogging, texting and perhaps even handwriting an old-fashioned thank you note. As much of what used to be oral phone conversation is now written and marketing is done online, the need for more writing is evident.

This has increased the pressure on everyone within an organization to write well, from customer service representatives using e-mail to communicate with customers to marketing executives developing content for printed materials and the company web site. Bad writing calls attention to itself, causing the reader to miss the point of the communication. It also conveys an unflattering picture of the individual and by extension, the business.

Why is it so hard to write well? Because writing requires a coordinated effort involving memory (to correctly apply the rules of spelling, capitalization and punctuation); language ability (grammar, vocabulary, word order and sentence structure); and higher-order cognitive skills (planning, organizing, reasoning, logic, abstract thinking). All three must be developed equally and used simultaneously for good writing to result.