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  • Writer's pictureShellene Drakes

Five tips to make your communications count

Whether it’s a quarterly newsletter or regular emails, there is no point crafting content that no one reads. When you’ve decided how often and how to communicate, it’s time to discuss how to make those communications count.

I mean, if you’re going to create it, let’s make it worth the investment.

Bonus tip! Where it makes sense, inject some fun into your communications. I’m not saying inappropriate messaging, but think about yourself: do you want to read a boring email or newsletter? Let’s be honest, no one cares to plug through a dry message just because you spent SO. MUCH. TIME. crafting it and getting all the approvals. If you can make it innovative and fun, do it. When adding fun doesn’t make sense, well, your reader will just have to force it down…like Buckley’s cough syrup, if they want the benefits.

1) Let’s stop the ‘awareness raising’ communications. Many times, I have been asked to write something to ‘raise awareness’ for a new project, activity or whatever new thing that was going on. Raising awareness is not usually reason enough to create a web article, blog post, or to tape a video. First of all, anything that’s only reason for existing is to raise awareness may be vaguely remembered in a few weeks but won’t likely cause your reader to do anything. For example, instead of telling your readers about a new website that’s launching in eight weeks, wait until it launches or find a more creative way to make people aware, like a countdown clock.

2) Show me, don’t tell me. Back in journalism school, one of my instructors would always reiterate the importance of showing the reader—or viewer—the story instead of telling them what happened. Same with corporate or professional communications—your readers wwant to ‘see’ what’s happening more than read or hear you rattle off facts and figures. Did your last program reach its fundraising goal? You can say that the program reached it goal and leave it at that or you can interview a couple of people who will be helped by this program to leave a lasting impression on your reader or viewer.

3) “What’s in it for me?” Your communication reads, “We are introducing a new benefits package next week.” Your readers say, “Great…what’s in it for me?” If you can’t tell your readers what’s in it for them, then you really aren’t doing anything worthwhile with your communication. Long story short, people are interested in what is going to affect them. Centre your communication around how it affects the reader—paying more for benefits, additional coverage for your family—and you’ll see people become more interested in what you’re saying.

4) Short and to the point. I can’t lie. I love to write and I love words. With that combination, I tend to write long. Great for novels and feature articles, not so good for communications. People don’t tend to read, they tend to skim so keep things as short as what makes sense and use bullet points, number lists, pull out quotes and other ways to help people find the important pieces of your communication without having to read hundreds of unnecessary words.

5) People make impressions that numbers can’t. Facts and figures are necessary and sometimes you can’t get away from them, but if you can put people in your stories, readers will connect to what you’re saying. Whenever there is an opportunity to highlight people, do it. Interesting quotes from people involved in your story, good photos of people interacting with each other (that’s another post for another day), video of people doing what it is that you’re talking about. Yes, it’s often easier to create a communication that’s laden with figures and facts, but what’s the point if no one’s reading it?

So, friends, do you have any tips to make your communications count? What do you do to ensure that you’re creating engaging, interesting, and most importantly, communications that people care to read?

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