Write to and about you
The product isn’t the topic. The service isn’t the topic. The organization definitely isn’t the topic. The topic isn’t even the topic.
The reader is the topic.
Readers just aren’t that into you. So if you want people to read your document, craft reader-centered writing.
Here’s how it works:
XYZ Company launches new community grant program for nonprofits to get money.
Look at your sentence structure. Who’s the subject? If it’s your organization, flip around the focus on who’s benefiting from your program. Bonus points if those people are kids.
More kids get access to STEM activities via XYZ Company’s new community grant program.
ABC, an XYZ company and global distributor of electronic components, products and solutions, is now shipping the new-to-market smart widgets from LMNOP.
Don’t We-We on your readers. That’s 13 words defining the organization. And where’s the reader? Nowhere in this sentence.
Engineers can now develop X, Y and Z using smart widgets from LMNOP.
XYZ senior leaders continue the proud tradition of celebrating Juneteenth by hosting booths on June 16.
The bad news is, we’re focused on senior leaders here instead of the employees we’re writing to. To communicate effectively, make the reader feel part of the story:
Eat popcorn and chat with senior leaders at our Juneteenth booths on June 16.
Our 2021 annual report shows that despite COVID-19 surges and other challenges related to the pandemic, we continued to deliver on our mission of providing high-quality, affordable care.
Of course you want to communicate information about your successes in your business writing. Focus on the reader instead of on the organization and its report. That way, more people will find out about your successes:
Members received vaccines and care quickly and affordably during the largest COVID-19 surge to date, according to our 2021 annual report.
We can transform the success of your business.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of word choice. Instead of We, lead with You. Show the readers what they can do with your help:
You can increase customer satisfaction by 25% with the right guidance from our experts.
We support students with innovative technology & career opportunities.
Again with that pesky “We.” Who’s benefiting? Put them at the front of the sentence:
Students: Find your next job — and the tools you need to do it.
Our new messaging is all about maximizing a customer’s existing tech investments and optimizing interoperability.
That’s a lot of big words. What will I be able to do differently with your tool?
Do you often struggle with unused technology in your org? Is this using up your tech dollars? Here’s how to get the most of your existing tech and stay under budget.
The new Sensor Center drives global team alignment, higher team efficiencies, and accountability via standard reporting.
Again: syllables. What can I do differently?
Create a culture of high performance across globally dispersed teams with the new Sensor Center.
Attend this event to learn more about the potential of modern data exchange.
I don’t have time to attend an event, and I don’t want to learn more. Why should I attend? What will I be able to do differently if I do?
Slash setup times and communicate more clearly by migrating away from XYZ systems. Learn to get started at this event.
Health Care Scoring helps clinicians build a holistic profile of the patient.
Start with the reader, not with the tool:
Clinicians: Get a full picture of your patient’s holistic health with Health Care Scoring.
We have created a roadmap on how to maximize impact of our C-suite connections in Europe.
Lead with you, not with we. And break down maximize impact. What does that mean?
Connect your execs to the right customers in Europe with our roadmap.
Mental Health Advocacy Group would benefit all employees.
Help employees become more productive and enjoy their work more through the Mental Health Advocacy Group.
We value you and appreciate you.
Get free lunch next month at our summer festival.
XYZ is not your average tech event.
Learn how to master the latest technology and grow your career — plus, meet with tech royalty — at XYZ.
Want readers to read your message? Focus on the reader.
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