For a bid proposal, annual or sustainability report, or any other key document, every word you communicate gives a vital message to the reader on your professionalism, competence and dependability.
Concise, error-free content shows your care and attention to your work. Any typos, grammatical mistakes, repetition or inconsistencies will almost certainly pose the question as to whether you will show the same level of carelessness in your product or service delivery.
Here are 4 rules to follow:
1. Don’t cut corners
Proofread and edit two, three or four times. The proofreading and editing process is the crafting stage where your content really takes shape. But don’t do the edits back-to-back. You will get the best results if you come back to the document with a fresh pair of eyes the following day, so give yourself enough time to develop the document properly. If you have more than one person within the organisation that can check over the copy, all the better.
2. Allocate the time
A rushed document will most likely not show its full potential. Plan well in advance and allocate the time to review stage-wise and thoroughly. There is too much noise out there and too many worthy competitors for you not to give it your very best shot and produce the best possible result. Leaving it to the last minute and going down to the wire – in the case of a bid deadline for example – isn’t going to do you any favours.
3. Pair down
Be concise. After editing, re-editing and re-editing again, you should whittle down the volume of the content by up to a third if you can. If you have increased the word count after an edit, you are working in the wrong direction.
4. Use graphic design
In previous blogs we have discussed the merits of graphic design as the biggest element of engagement. How you can use text boxes, infographics, pull-quotes and images as ways to engage visually. To draw the eye to facts, figures and other key points of interest. But just like written content, carelessness design mistakes will stick out like a sore thumb, even if it is subconsciously. Ensure consistency in all graphic design elements – use of fonts, brand colours, symmetry in borders and text box sizes/styles.