Too Many Writers Spoil the Content

I can always tell when too many writers and reviewers have handled marketing or technical content.

  • The content is inconsistent, with changes in product names, punctuation, spelling (startup or start-up or start up?) and messages from page to page.
  • Sentences and paragraphs begin with one thought in mind and end up with another–no one checks to see if the two halves make sense together.
  • The format changes from one section to the next, and the table of contents (if any) differs from the actual contents. Cross-references go nowhere.
  • The verb tense shifts from present to past to some version of perfect progressive.
  • The main points are buried deep in the content.
  • Numbers are inconsistent both in amounts and in the ways they are presented ($5M or $5 million or five million dollars?).
  • Prepositions disappear (“we are delighted hear your interest”).
  • No one asks: Whom are we writing to?
  • No one asks: Do we really need this? How does it fit in with our other technical or marketing materials?
  • The project sits on someone’s desk for months. Then it sits on someone else’s desk.
  • The writers and reviewers start shouting at each other.

Especially in the case of technical proposals and technical marketing collateral, multiple writers and reviewers are often necessary; for example, an engineer, project manager, sales/marketing person and executive may all need to sign off on a technical proposal before it is sent to the customer. Problems arise when no one is assigned to make sure that the original document and all the changes are consistent and fulfill the main function of the document–to communicate clearly and accurately with the customer.

In other situations, the multiple levels of review are not merely unnecessary but harmful, and often caused by reluctance to delegate. Reducing the number of people who write and review the document will actually improve its chances of delivering a focused message to the right audience at the right time.

TWP Marketing & Technical Communications provides the oversight and reassurance that companies need when many writers and reviewers contribute to a single document. Contact us today for more information.