Once upon a time, written communication skills were limited pretty much to organizing thoughts and ideas into written format.
Satisfied with the organization and flow of their written content, writers simply passed their work on to editors, who guided the written material though the publication process.
Whether writing a 700-word column for a newspaper or a 1000-word article for a magazine, the sense of relief was the same: ah, someone else will do the editing, formatting and distribution. As a writer, my work was done.
The Publishing Process
Once we launch a website, blog or even a social media account, we take on the added responsibilities of a publisher. As a result, as writers or content producers, our written communication skills now include those tasks usually the responsibility of publishers.
This means that it’s now up to content-producers to edit their work. Few writers do a really good job of editing their work, a new addition to written communication skills.
Ever think of yourself as graphic designer? Well, that’s essentially what you are doing when formatting your work as a web page, blog post or even a social media posting. Audio, video, images and graphics all add to the overall effectiveness of written communications, both online and off.
Finally, after some more revisions and final tweaking, the written price is good to go. Click, “publish”, “share” or whatever other appropriate button and bingo…your work is now out there, ready for the world to find and enjoy. But as publisher, there is still one last responsibility: to maximize readership and distribution of the piece. This is where all those online and internet marketing tools come into play—to get the newly published piece before as many eyes as possible.
Pure Written Communication Skills—Or the Enhanced Version
As a writer, I much prefer what could be considered the purer version of written communication skills. That’s the version in which I hand off the completed version my work to an editor who will guide my work through the publication process. Once I have completed a piece of work, especially something like a book, I am usually so tired of the project that I don’t want to spend any more time on it. And besides with more people assisting on the project, the finished product will be of better quality and more useful to the ultimate reader.
On the other hand this is a time consuming and typically costly approach, which limits the number of people who can have their written work published.
The ease with which many people can self-publish their work on websites, blogs and social media posts, dramatically expands the number of people who can have their say to their own worlds or to the world at large. And much of this material is really quite good.
As a consumer of content, which approach do you prefer? The more traditional approach in which writers just write and other people perform the publishing tasks? Both have powerful advantages…which do you like best?