The moment you know you know you can write

I’m fascinated by language. I love the idea that in English, it’s quite possible to use the word ‘had’ eleven times in a row (James, while John had had “had,” had had “had had”; “had had” had had a better effect on the teacher). I puzzled over David Bowie’s lyric ‘the moment you know you know you know’ for quite a while before realising that it does work. I even run a music website where commenters throw in words like hermeneutics and nobody bats an eyelid.

But you don’t need to be a grammar nerd like me to be able to write. Some would say my writing style proves that it doesn’t help at all. Although most of your marketing writing is selling, it’s usually not an unrequested sales pitch. Your readers want to find something useful in it. Clarity is the key, not cleverness.

Now, as someone whose company offers a writing service, you might expect me to be trying to sow the seeds of doubt about your ability to create written content. Far from it. Most marketing managers of my acquaintance seem to underestimate their own abilities when it comes to writing. You have the source material in-house, and the instant facility to get what you’ve written fact-checked. Journalists would love to have it so easy.

I’d love to see companies produce more background articles and better product descriptions. As buyers, the more we have to read, the more informed our decisions can be. Where we’re targeting our own writing service is in supporting companies where there just isn’t time to get any writing done, rather than a lack of ability.

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