Define Your Audience and Goals
Identify whether your audience is internal (ASDA staff and members) or external (school deans, speakers, vendors, exhibitors, etc.). When crafting your communications, consider what your reader wants. Anticipate questions and provide necessary information and context up front.
The team should agree what the goal is for the communication. Are you trying to get members to register for something? Trying to get exhibitors to sign a contract? The key message should be decided upfront to avoid confusing the audience. It should be included in your opening sentence or paragraph.
What are you trying to accomplish?
What tone do you need to take?
- Maintain a professional tone in your communications.
What does the recipient need to know?
Principles for Clear Writing
Lead with the most important information. Summarize important points in your opening sentence or lead paragraph. Start with the goal (call to action or providing information) and build on from there. If you don’t capture the reader’s interest upfront, he or she is not likely to read on.
Less is more
Reader comprehension goes down as your sentence length increases. Limit sentence length to 10-15 words. Keep it short and simple. If you can’t read a sentence aloud without taking a breath, it’s too long. Stay away from long paragraphs.
Keep it simple
Use strong verbs and avoid empty words like “very.” There’s a word to describe “very happy.” Don’t use jargon. Make it easy for the reader to understand. Know your audience, but don’t assume they know all the insider terms or acronyms that you may know.
The credibility of ASDA depends on the reliability of the information presented in outbound emails, on our website and in our publications. If readers recognize inaccurate information, they will have little faith in what you are presenting.
Respond within 24 hours
It is ASDA policy to respond to emails within 24 hours. Even if your reply is, “Sorry, I’ll have to look into that,” at least your correspondent won’t be waiting in vain for your reply.
Use CC and BCC with purpose
- Use CC only to keep someone “in the loop” if the person is not required to respond
- Use BCC instead of CC when sending sensitive information to large groups
Before submitting text for an e-newsletter, the ASDA website or for a design piece, every author should review content on three levels: global (is the text doing what it should?), local (does it have good structure?) and line-by-line (a detailed review).
1. Global Review
- Does this fulfill the assignment?
- Are there any holes in the message?
- Are there questions left unanswered?
2. Local Review
- Is there an obvious leade or purpose (who, what, when, where, why)?
- Where’s the nut graf (why write this story now/why is it newsworthy)?
- Does the body include supporting information?
- Is the ending strong and succinct?
3. Line-by-line Review
- Sentence length (10-15 words)
- Proper punctuation
- ASDA style
Take your time! Check out these common mistakes made by proofing in a hurry
- Phone numbers, addresses or websites are printed incorrectly
- Dates and times are wrong
- Names are misspelled
- Sentences are incomplete or run ons
- Spelling and punctuation errors
- ASDA style isn’t followed (or is inconsistent)