Without context, a bulleted list of information is just information – easily memorized and easily forgettable. A story resonates by providing meaningful context that strikes an emotional chord while delivering relatable data. Remember this the next time you write a report, build a presentation, or give a speech.
You have full creative freedom … do whatever you want….
Do you take those words from a client and run with them? Or do you cringe as you grasp for some semblance of boundaries in the project you have accepted? The concept of creative freedom is ambiguous: we all want it, but too much freedom leads a writer into dangerous territory.
Some people outside the creative professions assume writers and other creative-types want creative freedom more than anything else on their job. More than pay raises, promotions, or recognition for all their hard work. The common misconception is that creative professionals want to wander freely in an unstructured utopia, scribbling down ideas as they emerge, take naps and play games between brainstorming sessions, and work through the night when creative energy is at its peak.
In the process of content development, writers need background information about your company, products, services, audience, and goals. The more useful information you can provide upfront, the better quality of work will be produced. Let’s say you hire a speech writer to help you shape your keynote speech for an event. You don’t want the writer to pull common knowledge from the Internet as the basis of your speech, nor do you want him or her to provide inaccurate and off-topic content.
Innovation is not some useless corporate jargon. It’s a vital building block of American culture. Without it our business world would be void of character and substance. We would not have cars, planes, computers, or mobile devices. Think about that the next time you plan to insert a form of the word innovation into a press release.
Consider your workplace. Do you feel confident in your ability to speak honestly with your boss or coworkers? Are you forced to walk barefoot on a wide plank wood floor covered in eggshells without making a sound? Because, if your boss should hear the slightest crunch you will be sentenced to hard time in his sweatshop dungeon churning out handmade plastic jewelry to sell to vending machine distributors.
An open coal-fired furnace occupies half the room, providing both intense heat and the only light source. No indoor plumbing so you’re forced to use a five gallon pail. You have no choice but to endure your boss’s martini-soaked screams and rants whenever he feels…
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While at work some time ago you lost your raison d’être. You feel beaten down, uninspired … splintered and scattered and torn. Your job is no longer the job you were hired for, it’s an amalgamation of three other jobs, none of which you have professional experience in.
“Where did everyone go,” you wonder, looking around the once densely populated office space at several desks now used for temporary storage of file boxes and empty binders. “Thats right – one position was eliminated and you now handle it, another was offered an early retirement package to quickly reduce the headcount, and the last person left for a new job where she was offered a higher level position. “No chance of growing here,” she told you on her way to the exit interview, “get out as soon as you can!”
This pattern appears throughout the mid-sized company, each department dwindling…
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I wrote this article in October 2013 while pursuing my MFA in Creative & Professional Writing.
One thing I’ve encountered countless times while working for a marketing and advertising agency in the mid-2000s was that small businesses, non-profits, and self-employed individuals had a lack of knowledge when it came to self-promotion. It wasn’t uncommon to walk into a new client situation and view a history of bad advertisements, low-grade television spots, malfunctioning websites, and other underperforming efforts, usually self-produced by a family member with an interest in computers mid-way through their first year of college.
I understand the desire to save money, particularly for these small-scale entities and sole proprietors. Covering overhead month-to-month is critical. You do what you have to do. And I respect the DIY attitude – Do It Yourself for those who don’t know – as a hyperactive DIY streak courses through my circulatory system. I do…
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