We know that good writing matters, as good writing pays dividends in terms of generating more sales, yielding happier customers, impressing the right people, creating a more informed and educated audience, and more. In turn, poor writing can cause disasters that range from lost sales to public relations nightmares. It’s a no-brainer to want to improve the quality of writing at your organization, especially if your team’s writing isn’t meeting the objectives of the business.
But when facing potential writing-related problems, how do you find the right solution to fix your writing-related challenges?
It starts with knowing there’s a problem in the first place, which is sometimes easier said than done.
Indeed, if writing output has been an issue for a while, you may not even realize it’s the writing. You might accept underperformance as the norm, not realizing what good writing output could be achieving.
Even if you do notice problems, you might be aware only of symptoms. For example, you might notice that teams are spending too much time writing or editing, or perhaps you’re facing complaints related to unclear or confusing documents. Can you identify the underlying cause behind the symptoms, though?
Once you know you have a problem – and at least some sense it may be related to written documents – it’s time to dive deeper to better understand what’s going on. A writing strategist or consultant can be invaluable here because it can be hard to accurately diagnose underlying problems, especially if your organization’s writing isn’t noticeably terrible. In these cases, underlying causes can be really challenging to identify:
- The organization’s communication strategy is not working or is misaligned with its objectives.
- Writers lack the necessary writing skills to produce well-written documents.
- Editors and reviewers lack the skills they need to ensure that the documents they review are noticeably better after their review and that writers can incorporate those comments in multiple documents .
- Writing as an output is organizationally devalued, leading to rushed and subpar work.
- There are communication breakdowns within the organization.
Self-diagnosis is sometimes possible but be aware that it comes with pitfalls, as an inexpert diagnosis is often a wrong one. You may find yourself cycling through possible solutions – an academic writing course here, an AI tool there – spending precious time and money only to learn those attempted solutions don’t actually resolve anything.
Once the underlying problem has been diagnosed, it’s time to address it. Once again, writing strategists or consultants can play a key role in prescribing the right medicine.
One thing to remember: the criteria by which to judge solutions is effectiveness. Solutions that seem cheaper, simpler, faster, or less disruptive can be tempting. Sometimes they might even work, if only temporarily. Mostly they don’t work at all, however; they just add unnecessary delays and expense to getting your written content where it needs to be.
Solution-seeking can be particularly challenging if you’ve been burned by an ineffective solution before. You made an investment, and not only did it not work, it might have even backfired, which can increase resistance to solutions that do work. Once again, a dose of expert insight can pay dividends here. Just be sure it comes from a source that understands the exact kind of writing you need, be it business, technical, or some other form of writing.
For more help, Contact Hurley Write for a consultation to assess, diagnose, and resolve your writing challenges.