Have you ever read a report or article that was full of figures and lengthy text to explain these figures? Did you abandon the report or article mid-way, that is, if it was not required reading for you as part of school work or work assignment? Or perhaps, you read the report or article to the end, though, truth be told, you had disengaged at some point. Maybe, you are even guilty of writing such.
Still, we cannot just wish away figures in our reports or articles. After all, these figures tell a story. Then again, if we have to get our intended audiences to engage, we have to jazz these articles and reports. Basically, this means that we have to spice them so that they stop being dry and get to be read. How do we accomplish this?
“Lose the jargon.” – I refer to this as the cardinal rule of writing articles or reports. As things stand, every industry or profession has its jargon; journalese for media practitioners, legalese for the legal profession, and so forth. Then again, such jargon adds up daily such that it may even lose those who should be intimately acquainted with it. Which follows that your report or article might be all Greek or Hebrew to those outside your industry or profession. Then again, these are the very people you may be trying to reach out to as stakeholders for their action.
Writing plainly and keeping jargon to a minimum – and thoroughly breaking it down when you use it – will definitely keep your audiences fully engaged with your writing. As it were, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Which means that your report or article can only be considered as a success if it is read and understood. And if you are lucky, acted on.
The proof of the pudding may be in the eating; then again, you have to get your customers interested in the pudding in the first place. Which means that your report or article has to be packaged attractively to interest your readers to delve into it. Granted, you may have invested in the latest publishing software to cut down on costs. Still, if you lack the appropriate know-how to use such software and use it effectively, your efforts may come to naught. As the saying goes, “A camera does not a photographer make.” Which means that it is always a good idea to engage a professional to package your content in an accessible and visually appealing format.
Think of imagery as the foundation upon which language is built. From colouring books, to picture books to comic books… then to the village photographer to smart phones bought on the strength of their cameras functionality for that perfect Instagram photo… our obsession with photos never just goes way. Which is to say that your report or article will definitely benefit from the inclusion of imagery in it.
Such imagery includes photos, illustrations and infographics. Photos and illustrations enhance your content as they provide for a breather after engaging with a lengthy chunk of text. On the other hand, infographics enable your figures to be interesting enough to be read as well as help break down complex concepts into easily digested information.
Consider the finish of your article or report as the interior designing and landscaping of a building. Granted, you can still inhabit a house minus the painting and other finishing. Yet, it is such details that help turn your house into a home, aided, of course, with love from all members of your household. And so, it is with your report, more so, if it is to be printed out. The wrong finishing may just discredit the whole report and all the work that went into it. On the other hand, the right finishing may just be the dealmaker and which gets your report read over others. And which is why it helps to always employ a professional who is able to recommend the appropriate finishing for your published work.