Content Brawl: Winning the Fight For Prospects’ Attention With Good Writing

There is a full on festival of fisticuffs among those fighting for your attention and it’s getting ugly out there. The gloves are officially off. Have you noticed? Some of the content I am seeing surface both in subject and presentation is just so far off the reservation it’s unbelievable. Much of it is downright unreadable.

Very occasionally, I will come across a business person/writer who consistently breaks the rules and the result is riveting. Exquisite. Gratifying. And edifying. (I would put the writings of Penelope Trunk in this category.)

As a reader, you really owe it to yourself to withdraw your attention from the schlock. I don’t care if everyone is reading them or if they have 30,000 followers. If you have to read a sentence more than once to get the meaning, it’s not you, it’s bad writing. Bad writing is an abuse of the reader’s trust and a waste of their time — and not the way you want to behave in a relationship.

Knowing how to write well is not only no longer optional – it’s the price of admission. You not only need to master the fundamentals, you also need to write with a consistent and distinct voice that not only is relevant and interesting to your reader but that also serves them well.

Writing well is a lot of work. You have to second guess your reader. Anticipate every question they may ask and address it. Ruthlessly excise every unneeded word.

[If you’re still struggling to learn how to write, but not ready to enlist help, here are a few resources: On Writing Well, by William Zinsser, and Writing With Style, by John Trimble.]

I predict soon most organizations will have an expert editor and writing instructor on staff or on retainer who is charged with ensuring all of the content that is distributed is not just on brand but also worthy of prospects’ attention. In fact, I would get a jump on this and find one now, before all the good ones are taken.

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