I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

Refer to older posts…

Blogging services

HCI chat


Effective content starts with a draft

Good content starts as an idea that is drafted onto paper or screen and gets developed through editing and revisions.

I once had a conversation with another business person we’ll call Mel:

Tash: Just get the ideas onto the page. It doesn’t matter about spelling, grammar, proper sentences or even the order. Just get things down to get started – it’s the best cure to writer’s block or procrastination.”

Mel: {laughs} Just don’t tell YOUR clients that’s what you do!

Sometime later, I am still wondering about why Mel said that.

checking draft spellingAdmittedly, not many of my first drafts are that rough (I spell and use grammar instinctively so even drafts read ok) but that’s not the point.

There is nothing wrong with a first (or twentieth if need be!) draft, nor with a first draft being an awful mess. No one else would ever see a rough first draft but it serves a purpose to why not admit to creating rough drafts?

I don’t expect a designer to instantly produce me a perfect web page or eBook layout – I know I’ll see drafts so I can confirm what I do and don’t like to get a finished product that suits my need.

I don’t think any writing client would be upset that I have drafts – it helps them get a better final result. And if they’re paying for the finished wording, they really don’t care how many drafts it takes me!

Do you relate to what Mel said? Would you hide the fact you started with a rough draft in order to produce something professionally?

Check presentation

I often mention checking the details, expression and grammar of your business communications. It is also very important to check the presentation as well as that is one of the first things people notice before they even read a word.

Checking means in the final form as well as in drafts, too.

I know I have prepared something carefully on my computer, checked everything carefully and then uploaded it the internet to find it does not present properly live. Sometimes it was something simple like a bad image reference, but other times I couldn’t find a fault, only a solution!

This is why good printers and designers will provide you with proofs before printing starts, just to be sure nothing has moved or changed colour during the preparation process. When checking proofs, you have to be very focused and detail orientated.

I followed a link to a website recently. The entire site was a blog (and we’ll leave having a blog as your business website for another discussion) and I read through a few pages of it. One page was an article listing 10 points that literally looked like:

  1. 1. this is our first point
  2. 2. and our second point…
  3. 3. and so on…
    11. closing paragraph one
    12. closing paragraph two

To give her the benefit of the doubt, I assume she had the article written elsewhere with one set of numbers, added it to her blog and selected numbered list again. Human error, probably; carelessness to not check the final result, definitely.

What is possibly worse are the sites you visit to find little red crosses instead of images, even when you visit again months later. It certainly gives the impression that they never look at their own site or pay attention to details – which is probably not a good impression to give prospective clients.

In my next post, I will cover some of the details I always check for in a final presentation draft.