Are you keeping readers awake?Working on a client’s employee newsletter has kept my nose to the grindstone for a bit (why hello blog! should I re-introduce myself?). And it also reminded me that the corporate world has much to do to keep employees reading their newsletters.

Despite company guidelines that encourage lively and clear writing, the pieces I edited were full of reader turn-offs:

  • The passive voice:  “The session was facilitated” or “responses were received.”
  • Unnecessarily big words: “Facilitate” a session vs. “lead” a session; “utilize” vs. “use”; “precipitation” vs. “rain and snow.”
  • Unnecessary extra words: “In order to” and “as a result of.”
  • Buried leads: Taking too long to get to the point by including a lot of details about location, time or who was involved, for instance, instead of giving some idea of what was important about the article and why the reader should care.

In fairness, I think some of the articles were submitted by people who weren’t in communications. All the more reason it made sense to hire a professional to tweak the articles before publication.

Photo credit: Daryll Jann Bumanlag via Flickr and Creative Commons.