Bits and Pages - writing, editing, and layout for print and web

Getting your message across

If a glance is all you get, your message needs to register.

You've heard of an elevator speech? How you convey what you do in the space of an elevator ride? Every page in your website - and every panel in your brochure - is an elevator speech. You get one glance.

Make the words that stand out work, and the glance may turn into a skim. Make the skim work and you may actually get to speak your piece.

When you get that glance, make it work —

It all matters.

What you say

That last blurb you wrote for your website… your newest brochure… your last (and best!) article… you know what you meant — but did you mean what your audience thinks you said?

The first reason to question anything you write is exactly that you know what you mean. You fill in the unstated definitions, you know all the background and the unspoken assumptions, you need no explanations — and you automatically fill in the missing "to" or "and" or comma, because you know they're there. It's hard to read with an outsider's eyes.

How you say it

Grammar, spelling, and tipos may not change what you meant, but do you really believe no one notices? Admit it, you noticed that I just wrote "tipos" instead of "typos," and you reacted. So do your customers.

But there's more to how you say it: to connect with your audience, you need to use the right vocabulary. You need to know who your audience is, the language they use, the explanations they need. What's being in the know, and what comes across as jargon?

Where you say it

At the beach? Maybe. (Are you selling scuba gear?) On the radio? Maybe. (What stations do your customers like?) On the page? Always.

On the page? It sounds so simple. It means so many decisions, conscious or unconscious. Where do you put what you want to say? Headline, subhead, solid paragraphs of text, bullet points for skimming? Top, middle, bottom, right side, left side?

Follow your reader's eyes, on paper or on screen. Where do you want your readers to look? What's most important? What will interest them enough to look more closely and read the details?

Save your time and money

Do what you do best — tending to your business. Delegate the rest! It's faster, it's simpler - and it saves you time, money, and hassle. Find out how I can help.