SUMMARY - Writing Without Bullshit_ Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean - Josh Bernoff



Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Passive voice and unnecessary jargon are common weaknesses in business writing but often go unrecognized by the writers themselves.

  • While many notice passive voice as a problem in others' writing, most don't see it in their own work. Having an editor mark up passive sentences is an effective way to increase awareness.

  • Passive voice distances the writer from responsibility for actions, obscures who performed an action, and can hide lack of evidence. It weakens writing.

  • Active voice is more direct, engaging for readers, and places accountability clearly. Software tools can help identify passive constructions for rewriting in active voice.

  • Bureaucratese, buzzwords and jargon alienate readers outside a particular industry or function. They make writing unclear and disagreeable to consume.

  • Editing for concision, clarity and reader focus - removing filler words, distancing language, bureaucratic terminology - improves communication quality and impacts careers positively.

The key takeaway is recognizing and addressing passive voice and unnecessary jargon through close editing improves business writing by making meaning and responsibility more direct and engaging for all audiences.

Here is a summary of the key points about tailoring writing for different audiences:

  • Writing should be tailored to the specific intended audience in terms of length, level of detail, and style. What works for senior managers may be too complex for staff or students.

  • To effectively write for an audience, it is important to visualize a representative person from that group. Understanding what would appeal and be comprehensible to them will guide content and tone.

  • Using a framework like ROAM (Readers, Objectives, Actions, Message) at the outset helps ensure the writing addresses the right audience's needs and desired outcomes. Revisiting it keeps the content aligned as the project evolves.

  • From the beginning, focus on elements like the title, introduction and outline to establish direction. Even without full research, this initial planning can generate momentum and prevent procrastination on long-form writing assignments.

  • Tailoring writing for its audience and carefully considering the readers' perspective through visualization and goal-setting frameworks leads to clear, effective communication across different reader groups.

    Here is a summary of the key points in the passage:

  • Effective marketing emails should have a short, descriptive subject line that focuses on the recipient's needs or problems the sender can help solve.

  • The email text should be very brief - no more than 3-5 lines that can be easily viewed on a mobile device without scrolling.

  • The writing should use a personal, conversational tone as if directly addressing the recipient from someone at the sending company.

  • Small, relevant graphics or images can be included if they enhance the message, but avoid generic images.

  • Most importantly, the email should clearly explain how the recipient will benefit from opening it. It's important to give the reader a useful reason to engage with the content.

The overall focus is on making the email easy and appealing for the recipient to read at a glance on any device, while directly addressing their needs and interests to motivate opening and engaging with the message. Brief, targeted and personalized content is emphasized.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Limit marketing emails to one per week unless recipients opt in for more frequent emails.

  • Focus on providing value to recipients rather than just selling. Give useful information to build trust.

  • Include a clear call to action if wanting recipients to click or purchase, along with relevant deadlines.

  • Keep email design simple and easy to scan on any device. Avoid long blocks of text or cluttered layouts.

  • Respect recipients' time by being briefly engaging and relevant in order to generate the desired response or action. The goal is useful, relevant communication that is respectful of recipients' attention.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Emerging career path of corporate social media strategists: This role focuses on intelligently promoting organizations through social media engagement and avenues like press releases. Social media has become a primary communication channel, so these strategists help navigate platforms and generate meaningful discussions.

  • Approaches for social media engagement: Experts recommend using a conversational, human tone rather than stiff marketing speak. Be authentic, transparent and helpful rather than solely promotional. Engage with followers by asking questions, being responsive and sharing valuable community-generated content.

  • Declining role of press releases: Google CEO Larry Page believes companies should communicate straightforwardly versus manipulating search rankings. Press releases are seen as less effective now than organic social engagement. Strategists focus more on discussion than one-way announcements.

  • Summary: Social media strategists are guiding organizations through important changes in how people receive information online. The approach is moving from outdated tactics like press releases, to more genuine conversations and communities developed through social platforms. Intelligent promotion balances transparent sharing with commercial goals.

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