Feedback from the PM Forum Marketing and Business Development Effective Writing Workshop

Posted on: April 21, 2012

Earlier this week saw the first presentation of a half day training session on effective writing for marketing and business development (all PM Forum training courses are listed here: http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/index.aspx#KT18Apr12).

It was an ambitious agenda (and much of the feedback suggested that we should have devoted a whole day to the subject), covering:

 

  • Writing basics (grammar, style, structure)
    • Persuasive writing styles
    • Key messages (Propositions, Calls To Action)
    • Reflecting brand personality

 

  • Different types of writing
    • Internal plans, reports and communications
    • Media relations
    • Web sites
    • Newsletters
    • Direct and digital marketing
    • Social media
    • Pitches and tenders

Key areas of interest 

The delegates had a variety of questions and challenges:

  • Adapting style for different tasks (emails, reports, articles, pitches)
  • Adapting style for different  internal and external audiences
  • Key writing techniques and best practice
  • Different ways to present different types of information
  • Grammar and “Good English”
  • When to edit and when to rewrite
  • Making copy shorter and snappier
  • Translating technical content into user friendly material
  • Writing for those with short attention spans (!)
  • Messaging and brands
  • Persuasive writing to change attitudes and achieve buy-in

Insights from the writing exercises

  • Start with the end result in mind (aims)
  • Concentrate on the reader’s needs (audience)
  • Devote more time to planning (structure, chunking and flow)
  • Reverse the process typically used (process)
  • Drawing people in and engagement (style, storytelling, emotion)
  • Common structures (e.g. beginning, middle, end) not always appropriate
  • Context and tone
  • Show, don’t tell

Brand reflections

Reflections on some brand personality case studies and examples:

  • There needs to be congruence amongst visual appearance, messages, words and style
  • Images have a big impact and set the tone
  • Both consumer and commercial services can reflect brand personalities
  • Layout and amount of words communicates aspects of personality
  • Less technical style and words are a strong communication mechanism
  • Apparent dialogue in the writing 

Summary

I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the participants for their enthusiastic involvement and all the feedback (which has been incorporated for future sessions). I promised that I would post up the key points arising from the “takeaways” session:

  • Planning
    • Consider the medium
    • Consider the audience – have a clear picture of one person in mind
  • Good writing
    • Less is more
    • Get to the point quickly
    • Cover all the key points in subject line/first sentence
    • Spend more time crafting titles and sub-titles
    • Include key words in titles
    • Keep sentences short
    • Avoid technical and jargon words
    • Use an active and positive spin
    • Concentrate on benefits and solutions
  • Process of writing
    • Produce output then refine vs. identify key points and then draft
    • Consider the visual layout (especially against competing documents)
    • Experiment with different structures
    • Allow incubation and reflection time
  • Good marketing and selling
    • Integrate brand values into copy and across platforms and media

Links to additional resources

I also said that I would provide all the links we discussed in one easy to access place:

http://www.readabilityformulas.com/free-readability-formula-tests.php

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/book-review-business-writing-how-to-write-to-engage-persuade-and-sell-by-ian-atkinson

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/book-review-hypnotic-writing-how-to-seduce-and-persuade-customers-with-only-your-words-by-joe-vitale

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/book-review-how-to-be-great-at-the-stuff-you-hate-the-straight-talking-guide-to-persuading-networking-and-selling-by-nick-davies

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/search-engine-optimisation-in-a-nutshell

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/joined-up-marketing-and-selling-with-value-propositions

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/winning-tenders-with-procurement

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/13-ways-to-improve-your-chances-of-winning-a-tender

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/six-deadly-marketing-myths-busted-by-hubspot

 

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