While much has ground to a halt, reporting on the performance of investments, funds and markets continues.
This task is rarely viewed with enthusiasm by writers, editors and those who provide the performance updates. But there are ways to make it easier on all involved. And, most importantly, to keep readers happy.
Everyone starts the process with good intentions, but these can sometimes be swept aside in the hustle and bustle of getting the job done.
So, here’s a reminder of seven easy ways to run a smooth reporting process:
1. The person/people providing the draft content need a clear brief. So, be specific about the content you’re looking for in each section and let them know the word count you’re after for each.
2. Set realistic deadlines and make everyone in the process aware of these well in advance, and on a regular basis.
3. Provide writing guidelines – for instance, discourage jargon, shorthand and writing in bullet points. This can be hard for writers and editors to decipher and it’s also time consuming to turn it into the clear English that readers want. If you don’t have a style guide or use a reputable version such as the BBC’s, it might be a good time to create one.
4. Make sure everyone is focused on delivering content that prioritises what readers want to know.
5. Proofread. Then proofread again. Everything should be reviewed by two people, for the highest levels of accuracy.
6. Celebrate the end of the reporting process and acknowledge a good job well done.
7. Improve the process again. Look at what worked particularly well and where things could have gone better. Make any necessary changes.
It can be hard to stick to the above ‘rules’, especially when they’re first introduced. Understandably, change is often resisted, when people are busy and focused on other priorities and progress can be gradual.
But saving time, effort and energy wherever possible in the process means it can be directed elsewhere – and used more productively. So, it’s well worth persevering.
Fiona Nicolson is a Director at Continuous Communications. Visit the website here.