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.
It’s easy to incite emotions on the Internet, particularly anger and shock. Take a look at all the tabloid-style headlines advertised in the right-side columns and across the footers of numerous entertainment websites. If they aren’t focused on digging dirt on the latest celebrity in the news to spur your rage, these headlines are enticing you to look at shocking pictures of plastic surgery mishaps. The creators of this content know you are tuning all it out, so they are doing everything they can to appeal to your emotions as quickly as possible at a quick glance. And if there is that one chance something grabs you, like a photo of a cute kitten that’s too special for words with the most precious headline … they have you.
That’s the culture we operate in.
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.
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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