Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Write Great Marketing Communications

For all that's changed about marketing communications, the essential truth has not. Good communication is purposeful, compelling, and clear.

Whether it is website content, an email marketing campaign, a blog, brochure, social networking post, or white paper, written communication is often the first impression you make on your target market. Your written communications tell people that you have something worthwhile to offer them. Or not.

Purposeful – Every written communication has a specific purpose - to inform, educate, inspire, or entice. You need to identify the specific purpose of your writing before you begin.

Compelling – Effective writing compels decisions and actions. Read and re-read your communications. Do they motivate you to act in a way that benefits your business?

Clear – The ever-increasing pace of business requires many of us to do more in less time. The clearer your writing, the easier it is for your readers to quickly understand and respond to your message. Whether you are writing for an internal or external market, clarity makes your writing more vibrant and memorable.

Should you do your own writing or hire a professional? Three questions to ask yourself:
Do I have the expertise to write the most effective communication?
Do I have the resources necessary for the results I need?
Do I have time to research, write, edit and rewrite the project?

An experienced professional freelance writer is uniquely qualified to maximize the impact of your written communication. Partnering with a freelance writer gives you the freedom to focus on other aspects of your business and ensures that the first impression you make is a good one.

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Extend the Benefits of Training

Training is guided evolution. Or at least, it should be. If you treat training workshops as stand-alone events, you’re wasting opportunity and settling for less than you should. With a little bit of forethought and strategic communication, a stand-alone training event becomes one of many leverage points on a performance continuum. Considering the time and money you spend on employee training, don’t you want to extend the benefits 30, 60, 90+ days out?

You can, and here’s how:
• Hone your planning with a pre-event survey. Ask participants to weigh in on their first (and last) choice for venue, format, training exercises, menu, etc. By inviting their opinion in advance you set a tone and build rapport before the training begins. is a free tool for creating online surveys in minutes.
• Bolster participation by sharing workshop outlines in advance. Using email, batch text, or the company intranet, ask participants to "prepare to share" in order to ensure a productive session.
• Sharing a top-line overview of learning objectives and performance expectations is a great way to capture participant attention and build interest prior to the workshop.
• Tease upcoming training events in your company newsletter, with an email or text campaign, and on your website.
• Establish an event theme, and weave themed imagery into your writing to open attendees' minds and spark their creativity well before the training takes place.

After the workshop, improve retention of key learning and promote positive behavioral change with strategic follow up written communication:
• Survey participants to find out what aspect of the training was most (and least) challenging/relevant/helpful/interesting to them. Garner suggestions for future events.
• Conduct a post-training email campaign to reinforce key learning.
• Email or text success stories and best practices weekly, along with a specific strategy to execute in the week ahead.
• Use your company newsletter and web site to celebrate success stories. Write as specifically as possible about how the training workshop or strategy meeting contributed to the success.

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
My Google Profile+

Friday, March 02, 2012

Restaurants Re-Train for Customized Service

Ask any good instructional designer or training content writer what makes a training program successful, and chances are the word "customized" will be part of their answer. Business today is much more layered than even a few years ago, with sub-markets within markets, and niches within sub-markets, each requiring customized training solutions.

Interestingly, corporations aren't the only ones with an increased appetite for training ROI. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article, titled
"How Waiters Read Your Table", which highlights restaurants that are re-training wait staff to increase sales with a more customized dining experience.

Companies are moving away from standard training scripts to methods that will have customers eating out of their hands. Through personalized or more "situational selling", the best waiters know what type of service customers prefer before they tell them.

Great instructional design can only come from a designer who understands your learners and your business. Contact me for a free consultation on serving up original, interactive, skill-based instructional design that truly delivers winning results.

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
My Google Profile+