Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Writing for your business: How to avoid being stale in your writing.

Last year I had to make a trip to the Far East on family business. The trip was sudden and in some ways unwelcome. But like any experience rather than concentrate on the negative parts of the trip, I’ve found myself more and more thinking about the positives.

One of these was a change of perspective. Not only on a personal level because of the nature of the situation but also as a writer. When writing for your business it’s so easy to become jaded and think along the same lines all the time.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been down in the dumps about a business problem and had the chance to run it past someone else. Don’t you find that even if they know nothing about business, talking the problem through suddenly offers you a solution?

By extension being out of your normal setting can make that even more of a benefit. That distance from all the day to day stuff like the firefighting you have to do that leaves no time to consider the bigger picture.
Being out of my business for a week certainly had an effect on me and it led me to think about some pointers that maybe you can weave into your writing to give a fresh approach or feeling to what you do.

1. What does it look like from over there?

However much we try to put ourselves in our customer’s place it can be difficult. Needs time and sometimes energy.

One way of doing it is to physically move. You may have come across this technique in a therapy setting but it’s very useful in business too.

a) Place 3 chairs in a triangle shape facing each other.

b) First position is that of the service or product provider. From here outline what you have to offer.

c) Now move to the chair facing you (2nd position). Imagine that you’re a person who needs what is offered and make an instinctive response to the offer.

d) Now move to the chair in between (3rd position) and reflect on the two positions, the offer and the response.

It’s surprising what can come up in this exercise. If you feel embarrassed to do it, nobody else needs know about it. You can do it when your home is empty of everyone else. Be open to what might come up. If it’s an objection you haven’t previously thought about then you’re gaining valuable feedback to address in your writing.

2. What can you learn from another type of business?

We often look at our competitors to see how they are writing about the business we’re both in. It’s more fun and offers a different dimension if you look what other people do in another type of business.

You may remember about the delivery companies such as Fedex and UPS who moved to using hubs having seen the idea work to great effect in other businesses.

What businesses can you learn from in writing about your business?

3. Why do the same as everyone else?

The series Mad Men became a runaway success and has influenced so many areas of life such as clothes and decorations. We’re often fascinated by other periods of history.

Some of the most successful marketers of our time have produced great results by using what might be considered old fashioned ways of approaching customers.

If you check out the internet, you’ll find many websites devoted to older styles of advertising and marketing. Not that I’m not pretending that every approach will work in our time. But what you find is that the emphasis was on building relationships with prospective customers and talking to them in language they understood. No barriers of jargon or cleverness.

We know the old saying don’t we, ‘If we carry on doing what we’ve always done, we’ll carry on getting the same results.’  This applies as much to our writing as any other aspect of our lives so a change of perspective could be all you need to make a breakthrough.

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