Writing for people who don’t want to read

Writing Brief

Let’s face it, most of us don’t want to read a new message or document unless it’s made very enticing. And how often does that happen. So these are tips for people who have to write in situations that can’t be spiced up with outrageous headlines, wild photography or juicy gossip.

1.       Don’t back into a point.

At school, when we were writing essays and exam answers, we were told to start with the background and introduction and build towards the conclusion. In business, you need to do it the other way round. Start with your recommendation, your key point or call to action. If people are interested, they’ll read on. If they’re not, they’ll be glad you spared them the trouble.

2.       Try a screen test.

More and more people are accessing documents and e-mails through their Blackberrys and iPhones. This is no place for the long-winded. Write for the small screen by keeping it short, using lists and subheads, so that the reader can select what they want to read more easily.

3.       Make yourself – or your text – attractive.

Remember you’re probably writing for unwilling readers, so make your text look as attractive as possible by having lots of short paragraphs, short sentences, short words and crisp ideas. Be brief, be bright, be gone.