Poor Writing Skills Are Costing Businesses Billions

Report shows more than $3.1 billion is being spent annually on remedial writing training.

Communication is an essential skill for any business, but what’s shocking is how much time and money businesses are spending each year to bring employees up to a basic proficiency level. Writing seems to be one of the skills requiring the most remedial training.

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Why You Need Two Types of Content Strategist

by Ann Rockley

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Recently I was asked: “How do you define an exceptional content experience?” My response was “I don’t deal with front-end experience. I make the content sing and dance by managing it behind the scenes. A front-end strategist tells me what’s needed, and I develop the back-end strategy to support those needs.”

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Gardens, Not Graves

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The stream—that great glut of ideas, opinions, updates, and ephemera that pours through us every day—is the dominant way we organize content. It makes sense; the stream’s popularity springs from the days of the early social web, when a huge number of users posted all types of content on unpredictable schedules. The simplest way to show updates to new readers focused on reverse chronology and small, discrete chunks, as sorting by newness called for content quick to both produce and digest. This approach saw wide adoption in blogs, social networks, notification systems, etc., and ever since we’ve flitted from one stream to another like sugar-starved hummingbirds.

Problem is, the stream’s emphasis on the new above all else imposes a short lifespan on content.

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UX and Content Strategy: How They Are Related and Why You Should Care

by ARMEN GHAZARIAN

What is more important: User experience or content?

I hate this type of question and to me they don’t make sense. It’s like asking a kid who he loves more — mom or dad. Or even worse, trying to figure out which came first — the chicken or the egg? But unlike the age old causality dilemma, this question has an answer.

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Writing Is Thinking

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Writing is intimidating. There’s this expectation of artful precision, mercurial grammatical rules, and the weird angst that comes with writing for other people. You start with a tidy nugget of an idea, but as you try to string it into language, it feels more like you’re pulling out your own intestines…

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Stop Talking So Much

by LISA O

Most of us believe that the more we use words, the more we’ll be understood. It’s communication, right? And we’re always told to over-communicate because repeating using lot of words helps you to be understood. Here’s the problem: At some point, people stop listening.

I’m not talking about those critical things that businesses communicate internally, such as a change in strategy or business model. Those really do need to be heard several times before most of us get it. I’m referring to content that is ultimately consumed by your target audience. Websites, newsletters, print materials, and the lot.

If you think your audience is going to stick around and read a wall of grey text because you think it’s so gosh darn INFORMATIVE, then you’re doing it all wrong. Let me share a few mind-blowing statistics that will change your mind:

  • 48% of a website’s words are read when they’re 111 words or less.
  • 17% of people spend 4 seconds or less on websites. 4% spend 10 minutes.
  • Our overall attention span was a paltry 8 seconds in 2013, down from 12 seconds in 2000. For comparison, a goldfish can last 9.

So what should you do with these statistics? Stop talking so much. Stop thinking that the more words you throw at your audience, the more they’ll listen.

What you need is the right content, boiled down and condensed to it’s thick goopy goodness. Hire a talented content professional who can tease out that solid message, who can break up your walls of grey text into easily digestible bits of information. Your audience, and their attention spans, will love you for it.

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