We communicate with each other all the time. The popularity of social media sites means that we can share our successes and failures and give our opinions on those of other people. These words are shared instantly and are permanently on record.
So the words we choose to use are perhaps more important than ever before, because we need to be sure that they reflect us fairly, and also to ensure that an ill-considered sentence doesn’t cause offence. Although emails and social media are a lot more informal than letters and reports, it’s not always easy to get across that a comment was meant in a light-hearted way if the recipient doesn’t read it that way.
For businesses, it is vital to make sure that sales communications are well-written and explain clearly (without industry-specific jargon) what the benefits of your product or service are. A list of what you offer is not sufficient.
Your web content should be similarly interesting and relevant to your target audience. Internet communication needs to be engaging and encourage the reader to stay on your site, to learn more about what you do, and hopefully become a customer.
A lot of the time, this is easier said than done. If you’re an architect, an artist or a plumber, writing is not a skill you’ll have honed over the years. Your focus will have been, rightly, on gaining the knowledge and experience which makes your business a success. In the past that knowledge was more than enough to secure clients, but as more people look online to find suppliers, the words you choose can make a big difference.
There are lots of great guides on how to write for the web, but finding the time and the inclination can be hard, especially for a smaller company or an individual just starting out. If the thought of writing something yourself fills you with dread, give serious consideration to outsourcing this, just as you pass on your books to an accountant or your website to a developer.