How to make your writing resonate right now

Prioritize genuine compassion, consistency and clarity, and ditch the sales pitch cloaked by a veneer of concern.

COVID-19 writing guidance

Writers have a chance to be heroes right now.

Your words can soothe, galvanize, crystallize, inspire, educate, encourage and empower. They can also confuse, frustrate and mislead, so it’s crucial to use your publishing powers for good during this grim season. Here are five guidelines to follow:

Be forward-thinking. It’s important to relay what’s happened and to cover the current situation, but give priority to what’s on the horizon. Start discussing what your return to the office might look like.

Even if certain logistics are impossible to suss out right now, it’s crucial to reassure employees that there is a plan in place and that the company is prepared for a multitude of contingencies.

Be realistic. As you cast the vision of what’s next for your employees, avoid the temptation to over-promise (lest you under-deliver or have to backtrack).

Now’s not the time for false promises of what may or may not transpire. Be realistic in your writing, and stay grounded in facts. Dubious speculation will surely lead to companywide aggravation.

Be creative and dauntless in your storytelling. If your company communication has gone stale, or if employees have simply stopped paying attention to your messaging, might I suggest a brand journalism approach 

As we wrote previously on Ragan, “Brand journalism is more interesting and engaging for your company and your audience,” and it “frees you from having to tie every piece of content to some selling point.”

Furthermore: “Corporate communicators have a prime opportunity to fill gaps amid the smoldering ruins of U.S. journalism. Understaffed newsrooms manned by wrung-out, strung-out reporters struggling under incessant page-view and productivity pressure are more open to contributions from atypical sources.”

It takes more effort, energy, digging and resources, but dauntless, creative and emotional storytelling always delivers meaningful ROI.

Be brief. Whatever you’re working on, make it snappy. Delete the fluff, and get right to it.

You can go ahead and cut these worn-out words from your message.

Be uplifting, inspiring, compassionate and encouraging—without the hard sell. You notice that every commercial sounds exactly the same right now? Well, it turns out folks are tired of the sales pitch hiding underneath obligatory white noise copy. Carry on writing with emotion, like the creative, clever human being you are.

Use whatever platform you have to be a fount of encouragement. Craft strong sentences and bold calls to action. Write with passion and honesty. Uplift your colleagues and customers, and “use your work to create an emotional high tide that raises every boat in the harbor.”

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