Writing for the Digital World 101

July 16, 2015

Communication, verbal or written, is a key component of the Client Experience Coordinator position at Jelly Marketing. As the CEC, I have the privilege of connecting with a variety of individuals each day. Recently, it struck me how representing Jelly’s brand and culture in person comes naturally to me. However, representing Jelly in writing is much more difficult. Translating Jelly’s unique qualities from behind a computer screen requires a certain skill that I am eager to grow in.

I love that Jelly not only wants to see their clients grow and succeed in their companies but they want the same for us as Team Jelly. They listen when we speak and challenge us to be better. I think of it as a tool belt, we each have many tools to utilize but some of them need to be sharpened. This is where Jelly comes in, they’re willing to invest in us to make us even more awesome.

In light of this, I had the pleasure of attending an information-packed course on Communications for the Workplace at SFU. I was struck by the diverse demographic and professional backgrounds of my classmates. We could not have been a more mix-and-match group of people, but it was amazing to see us all unite as we sought the common goal to redefine our understanding of communication. Let me share with you some of what we learned.

Here are my top five nuggets of wisdom for professional written communication:

1. Know Your Audience

Ask yourself, Who am I writing for? Do they understand our brand’s content? Do they care? It is important to remember that while you love and believe in your brand and product, you have the responsibility (and challenge!) to make your audience feel that same way. Research your audience and use their language. Eliminate buzzwords and business lingo so that you are understood.

2. Know Your Message

Do you know your brand’s identity and core objectives? Can you customize an explanation to a wide demographic like your boss, a colleague, or a six year-old? Each discussion should be tailored to the interests and understanding of that individual. Remember, when communicating in writing, keep it short and sweet. Leave your audience intrigued with your brand and eager to learn more.

3. Make Your Emails Beautiful

Organize the framework of your emails in a way that you would be pleased to receive it. Make sure that the crucial points are in the first paragraph. Underline and/or bold necessary information like dates, deadlines, locations, etc. to guide the reader through the content. Leave no room for confusion. Eliminate those first two ‘fluff’ sentences from your emails and get right to the point. Lastly, ensure you don’t lose your reader by the end of your email. Always ask, “does the recipient have time to read this?”

4. Craft Emails That Get Read

Your highest priority in written communication is leaving the reader feeling satisfied that their time was well spent. Create the perfect tone and add a human element so that the reader can connect to your brand and product. If they like what you have to say, firstly they will be interested in additional information and secondly there’s a higher chance that they will support your brand. Knowing your audience and speaking their language will ensure that your emails get read.

5. Proofreading is of the Greatest Impotence (… see what I did there?) 

No one likes to receive a poorly crafted email with spelling errors and poor grammar. Not only does it reflect badly on the individual, but the represented brand as well. Take time to invest in your writing, so you can proudly share it with the world. Reflect on your public voice and invest in refining it. When proofreading your work, be sure to:

1. Take a break, and go back 10-15 minutes later with fresh eyes.
2. When scanning for mistakes, make it a point to scan for one type of error at a time.
3. Don’t rely solely on your spellchecker — be a human! Read it out loud!

Refining how you communicate will not only improve your content, it will build a loyal audience. Invest in developing your communication skills. While verbal communication may come naturally to you, so much of today’s interactions are from behind a computer screen. Make sure that the voice of your brand is consistent no matter how your audience hears about you.

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