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Is writing worth the investment?

Posted by Sarah Mitchell on 22nd June , 2021 in The Write Fit
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This is an excerpt from the 46th edition of The Write Fit, a fortnightly newsletter about writing, editing and proofreading, content marketing and good editorial practices for business, from Sarah Mitchell and Dan Hatch at Typeset.

 

If you had asked me last week if writing was the worth the investment, I’d have given a resounding ‘NO’. After working on a project all afternoon, I was certain the extended effort resulted in drivel. And that was the most charitable thing I could say about my work.

I sent it to my long-suffering proofreader, aka Super Grammar writer Wendy Wood, and tried not to think about how much time I’d wasted spent trying to hit the right tone of voice, in the prescribed word count, and still make it informative AND entertaining.

I slept poorly, tortured by what should have been a two-hour investment.

“Mainly it has to do with your choice of words.”

When I opened the proofread document the next morning, I was surprised at the impact a few small changes made. The document was good. The writing was persuasive. I’d nailed the tone. Maybe it was the pre-dawn chill or the promise of a new day but my opinion of the effort changed, too. The writing was worth it.

Most writers I know suffer from a variation of this theme. It’s why I think writing has to be a team sport, if only to save us from ourselves. (Where would Woodward be without Bernstein, right?) In State of Writing 2021 we wanted to sidestep the natural angst that comes with a creative process and get to the bottom of what type of writing is worth it.

Follow the money

When we asked business communicators what they thought was worth the investment, case studies topped the list.

 

 

But what surprised us is less than half (49%) of businesses use customer success stories. We found a similar situation with original research. Only 25% of respondents use it even though most that do (76%) say it’s worth the investment.

 

 

Great case study resources

There’s no doubt, case studies are hard. It can be tough to get permission from a customer to feature them in your marketing. Even when they agree, the approvals process can be difficult. But that investment pays off and can deliver value for years to come.

I’m a big fan of case studies, especially since I read Casey Hibbard’s Stories that Sell. Buy the book, read her blog and sign up for her newsletter. You won’t be sorry.

Where to find help if you want to do your own research

Original research comes with its own challenges, especially because it’s a lengthy project requiring specific expertise. But I agree with our results; it’s definitely worth the investment.

If you’re interested in doing your own research, check out the Data Chronicles newsletter from Michele Linn and Clare McDermott at Mantis Research. It’s chock full of practical advice and tips on how to do your own research project. While you’re there, make sure to visit the blog.

I’ve recovered from the self-inflicted drama of Tuesday night. It’s not lost on me it was a case study that was getting the better of me. Knowing they’re worth the investment made me stick with it. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward felt the Watergate project was worth it. I hope you do the same with your own writing projects.

Sarah Mitchell
22 June 2021

 

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