A successful white paper needs careful planning if it’s to achieve your business goals. Here we outline eight key steps to pain-free white paper copywriting.
If you’re writing a strategic report, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with advice from your auditors, design agency, lawyers and others. Most of the advice we’ve seen rehashes the FRC’s draft guidance, without really stepping back and considering what’s important. In this post, we’ve picked out the key things you need to think about, so you can decide what – if anything – you want to do.
The best Alex cartoons skewer the City’s hypocrisy like nothing else. This cynical and outdated dig at sustainability isn’t one of them – not by a long shot. Even so, it does contain four excellent lessons for any company wanting to improve its sustainability reporting.
UPDATE: if you want advice on how to implement the new regulations, go to our post on writing a strategic report.
Last November, the government published its proposals to reform narrative reporting for UK quoted companies. The new regulations to bring this into force were finally laid before Parliament last week and were pretty much as expected, except they now include requirements to report greenhouse gas emissions which had been subject to a separate consultation process.
Pie charts are everywhere. If you’ve ever had to present numbers, you’ve used them. They’re easy to create, look (superficially) smart and fill lots of empty space in your presentation or paper. I’ve used a ton of them, right up to the point that I found out they suck.
This revelation came courtesy of Randall Bolten’s Painting with Numbers. Bolten, an experienced Silicon Valley CFO, lists what he calls the deadly sins of presenting numbers.
It’s an inescapable fact that financial copywriting involves numbers, so I was intrigued to come across Painting with Numbers by Randall Bolten. As the subtitle says, it’s a practical guide to ‘presenting financials and other numbers so people will understand you’.
Although the book focuses on internal communication, there’s plenty for financial copywriters and investor relations professionals to chew on.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published the latest instalment in its narrative reporting proposals. This is a set of draft regulations which will amend the Companies Act and come into force for financial years ending after 1 October 2013. This means that the 2013 December year ends will be among the first who have to implement them.
The Future of Narrative Reporting – what’s new?
BIS’s original proposal to split annual reports into two – a strategic report and an online annual directors’ statement – has been abandoned. The strategic report will be a requirement but annual reports will remain one document, as now.
One of the great things about being a copywriter is learning from your clients. The following was shared with me by Cindy Barnes at Futurecurve. It explains the process buyers go through when they’re deciding what to buy and – crucially from a copywriting perspective – what influences them at each stage.
This information can help copywriters guide clients through the materials they need to convince their customers. It’s also helpful for copywriters, when considering how to persuade potential clients to use our services.
Tautology – saying the same thing twice or more – is one of the standout features of business writing. There are three main reasons that it’s so prevalent: it’s often used for emphasis, it’s easier than rewriting or finding a better word, and it’s a sure sign that the writer hasn’t thought hard about what they’re saying.
In the last year or so, I’ve had a couple of clients tell me that they wanted annual report copywriting that was upbeat and inspiring.
That’s fantastic, in principle. There’s every reason to aim high and it’s a good way to make your company stand out.
But here’s the problem. If you want to inspire, you need a great story.