Recently, I’ve been busy working on different writing and editing efforts. For example, I’ve prepared a video script here, an electronic postcard there, and I’m looking ahead to a brochure–you get the idea.
As a writer, I find it an interesting challenge to address each of these outlets and prepare content that is relevant to the format. In other words, how I approach a two-minute video script is very different from how I approach a four-panel printed brochure.
At this point, you might say, duh.
But I had this blinding flash about my work, and while you’re thinking I should probably get out more, I wanted to share it with you. My work in any of these channels is only as good as the communication foundational elements that underpin them. If I get the foundational elements right, then I can produce better work in any outlet.
This was brought home to me when I reviewed one of my recent efforts.
I’ll paint you the picture.
Speed was of the essence. We had to distribute an email announcement to a group of employees by a certain date. We had a sense of what our themes should be because we were working on our communication strategy and message house. But we hadn’t distilled our thinking into tight, crisp messages yet.
So what happened? We got the email out on time, but the content was, well, messy. The messages meandered. There was copy flab that distracted from what we were trying to say. Yes, we accomplished what we needed to yet I felt I could have done a better writing job.
But that’s not the ending. You see, we continued to work on the strategy and message house. And my next writing effort–a multi-page document–reflected the refined messages. The result was on target, I’m happy to say. Much clearer and more invigorating copy. And it gets better because as I look ahead I could work on posters, web pages, or speeches. And whatever channel the work leads me to, I’m well equipped with my communication foundational elements to do my best efforts.
My advice? Get your foundation right. Prepare your strategy and key messages, and you’ll find yourself rendering higher-quality work in every channel and outlet.