7 more ways to write during the pandemic
Here are 7 more tips on writing during the Covid-19 pandemic — or any other crisis communications.
1 . Don’t We-We on your readers.
- 14 references to IMTS, the organization
- 0 references to members
- 1 reference to We
- 4 references to You
That’s a 15:4 ratio. I’d say, Dear Reader, that you’re doing a little We-We-ing on your audience.
Whether you’re writing crisis communications or not, to write compassionately, write to and about your readers. Don’t write about Us and our stuff.
Instead of We-We-ing on the reader:
To the IMTS Community
Leadership from AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and operates IMTS, discusses the current health crisis, its impact on manufacturing, and IMTS 2020.
Write to and about the reader:
How’s Covid-19 affecting the industry?
How will the current health crisis hit manufacturing’s bottom line this year? What pitfalls can you avoid — and what hidden opportunities can you take advantage of — during the pandemic? Get insights from The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and operates IMTS.
How could you turn these items around from organization-centric to reader-centric copy?
Your IMTS Team is Still Here for You
Hello IMTS community, you are inspiring! We are encouraged by the actions you are taking to help the world conquer the coronavirus crisis. Your IMTS team continues to work, each from his or her home, via a secure network, to support you by sharing relevant information.
AMT’s new resource page for manufacturers offers updates on government actions, business strategies to manage the pandemic, and opportunities to help the world fight this pandemic.
Learn how to make all of your communications more compassionate by Thinking Like a Reader at our Catch Your Readers Master Class.
2. Write like Andrew Cuomo.
It’s time to steal from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Writing tips, that is.
Check out Cuomo’s Twitter feed. You’ll find tweets like this:
- Short paragraphs. Important information gets lost in long paragraphs. So hit return more often — even on Twitter.
- List lists. Make essential information stand out with bullets, numbers — or, here, dashes.
- You. Speak directly to the reader, using the second person. It gets more attention and is easier to understand.
- Active voice. Don’t try to avoid giving commands by using the passive voice: Masks must be worn … Instead, clearly and fearlessly instruct with the active voice: You must wear a mask …
Learn to make every message you write easier to read and understand at our Rev Up Readability Master Class.
3. It’s time to tell your good-news stories.
Good news is trending — and no wonder, given the state of today’s regular news headlines.
So what heart-warming, awe-inspiring stories can you tell right now? This is the time to pull out patient profiles and other human-interest stories — even case studies and client success stories, especially if your clients have overcome an obstacle during the pandemic.
For those of you who have been asking: I think this is the way to go — rather than silly humor or cat photos or photo contests — to add entertainment to your messages in these times.
Need help? Learn how to tell awe-inspiring stories at our Master the Art of Storytelling Master Class.
4. Is your writing process showing?
Feeling distracted? Procrastinating? Suffering from writer’s block? Got a case of blank-page syndrome?
It could just be the pandemic lifestyle. Churning out reams of Covid-19 copy (or dialing, dialing, dialing for unemployment benefits) while brokering peace between the kids on Day 28 of sheltering in place is enough to burn anyone out.
But your writing process should support you — especially during these times when it’s hardest to write.
Learn more about a writing process that works with — instead of against — your brain.
Or polish your process at our How to Write Better, Easier & Faster Master Class.
5. Resources for communicating during the pandemic
Here are more places to score Covid-19 communications resources:
- “How to Write During Covid-19” — a webinar from PRSA and me — is now available on demand. Watch it free with coupon code WYLIE420.
- IABC shares these Covid-19 resources.
- PR News offers tips like “Is it safe to pitch stories during a pandemic?” in its daily updates.
- PRSA shares these crisis communications resources.
6. Want to bring your team together?
Team feeling isolated and burned out?
Why not bring them together for an online, in-house writing workshop?
7. How are you spending your time at home?
I talked to a friend last week who’s participating in “9 million Insta dance classes a day” — in her teeny West Village apartment. Way to make sitting on the couch with the remote in one hand and jar of Cheez Whiz in the other look lame, Ellen Walterscheid!
Are you doing anything to make sheltering in place more fun and productive? In between teaching online classes and filing for SBA loans, I’ve been:
- Attending Brian Benson’s Daily Write at noon Pacific. 45 minutes of talking about narrative nonfiction, reading it and writing it — all with other writers. Free. Here’s the Zoom link. Password: dailywrite
- Planning to attend National Theater Live and other online theatrical events.
- Learning online with programs like The New York Times’ Be More Productive in 90 Days.
What about you?
What do you need from me during the pandemic? Please send me your questions, examples and ideas. I’ll try to address them in the next issue.
In the meantime, stay happy, stay healthy and stay sane!