It's all about the STORY!

Posts tagged ‘research’

Report Writing — 7 Tips

How to write an outstanding report — 7 tips — (Business not academic)

1) Know your audience(s)– if your report will only be seen by industry pros, do use appropriate industry-specific jargon. This will ensure clarity amongminorityreport your peers and a level of comfort and credibility will be bestowed to you because you are speaking the same language. However, if this is going out to other audiences who may be unfamiliar with your industry jargon (e.g. B2C marketing, stockholders/investors, etc.), kill the jargon and just tell the story.

2) Visuals are important– use charts, graphs and other descriptive images, but do make certain that these images directly correlate to the text, and make sure that the text you are referencing is nearby in the layout. Do not use images in place of text.

3) Words are part of your layout and design– love the text as much as the pretty pictures. Remember that visual balance is important, so don’t leave a lonely word hanging on one line or just a few sentences lingering on the final page. Make certain your text looks as good as it reads. Edit… which brings us to the next point…

4) Editing– I recommend putting everything including the kitchen sink into your first draft. That way, everything you might possibly need is there. You won’t have to look for it later when you decide that a particular piece of data or quote or whatever would be the greatest thing right now. Edit for content first, eloquence second, grammar and punctuation third and then the ever-present character count if needed. Subtract, tighten, refine, polish and delete your way to the final draft.

5) Organization and flow– Put first things first. It’s helpful, though not always necessary, to create an outline. If you’re having difficulty with organizing your report, ask yourself simple questions: What would I, as a reader, want to know first? Second, once I know that, what is the next question I want answered? Continue following this thought-pattern until all of your content for your report has been addressed.

6) Details count– added details will help your readers follow your content and add aesthetics to your report. These details might include a table of contents, text boxes that highlight quotes or facts/statistics, page numbers and references. If your report will be distributed and/or accessed electronically, consider providing an interactive table of contents and hyperlinks within texts and photos as appropriate.

7) Software– if you’re lucky, you can create the report in a professional Adobe InDesign or cloud program. However, many professionals are lucky if they even have an updated version of MS Word. It’s best if your end product is a PDF regardless of what software you used to create it. Not only will this elevate most problems with diverse software accessibility from your readers’ perspectives, but this also will help maintain the integrity of your content—not allowing it to be manipulated easily.

*BONUS– Have fun! Reports need not be stuffy. The most engaging, well-written and useful reports are generated by people who enjoy writing them. Use accurate data and statistics, collect accurate facts and quotes—this is most important. Next, enjoy the process of telling the story about the data, statistics, facts and quotes. The choice is yours—miserable people create miserable reports.

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Who is Daphne Street?

Daphne Street

About who I am:

Daphne Taylor Street is a freelance writer, blogger, grant/proposal writer, nonprofit development consultant, communications consultant, public speaker and internet radio personality in the Tampa Bay area. She has been a professional in the nonprofit industry for more than 18 years, spanning everything from fine and performing arts to substance abuse and mental health services. In the summer of 2011, Daphne left her full-time job as a grant writer to pursue her freelance writing and communications consulting business in full-force, and added her former employer as a client.

 

WHAT DOES DAPHNE DO? Daphne’s focus is on strengthening her local community and beyond through dynamic business strategies, creating value for businesses while helping to develop diverse revenue streams.

 

To further this goal, Daphne works hand in hand with small businesses, nonprofits and artists; armed with a background in communications, marketing, private sector funding procurement and nonprofit development; to help them amplify their branding and communications to increase overall business sustainability and growth.

 

RESULTS: Daphne’s grant and proposal writing services have resulted in millions of dollars of local, state, federal and foundation awards and private sector funding, spanning 14 years of experience.

 

Countless new business offerings, programs, products and services have come to life through Daphne’s visionary approach to matching a company’s mission and strengths with opportunities for growth, enhancement and expansion.

 

Daphne is regularly published as an author through a variety of media and has ghost-written, co-authored and written published articles on behalf of many clients, further positioning them as experts in their field. Daphne currently has two books under development, co-authored with a client.

 

Daphne’s copywriting and graphic design skills are engaging and action-oriented, amplifying brands from diverse industries.

 

Combined, these strategies have generated revenue; lead to procuring private investments, grants and contracts; and helped businesses survive and grow.

You can visit Daphne on her blog: www.daphnestreet.wordpress.com; check her out on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/daphnestreet; or contact her directly via email: dts.streetmedia@gmail.com.
A link to some published articles:
Services:
  • Freelance Writing: articles, blogging, grants, proposals, books, business writing, press releases, business plans, strategic plans, communications plans, marketing plans, white papers, copywriting, research, editing
  • Communications Consulting: strategy, implementation, collaborations/community partnerships, media relations, new media/social networking, crisis management
  • Training/Public Speaking: writing for dollars, winning proposals, winning presentations, media literacy, freelance writing, grants/nonprofit development, communications/marketing, community development, personal branding, internet safety, social marketing
  • Design: photo journalism & graphic design: logos, multi-media presentations/PowerPoint, posters, brochures, web design

Please feel free to contact me directly at dts.streetmedia@gmail.com

Dare to be great!  –Daphne

Daphne’s List of 7 (Part 2): Values-Centered Branding

 Daphne’s List of Seven–VALUES-CENTERED BRANDING STRATEGY For Visionary professionals 

DEFINITION: Values-Centered Branding is when your brand directly and clearly reflects the values of your public. Your brand goes beyond marketing products & services–you are marketing the values of your customers–your public–by amping up the image of these values and reflecting them back to your public. Your brand is about representing and mirroring values that your public holds dear.

 

E.G. Nike doesn’t market shoesThe company markets values. Oh, and by the way, you can buy a really expensive pair of athletic shoes that show the world that you are all about those same values: “Just do it,” “Pledge your heart to the game,” all about endurance, character, commitment, perseverance, etc. McDonald’s doesn’t market hamburgers. Coca-Cola doesn’t market soda. The list goes on… These companies market experiences, emotions and VALUES.

(hint: they should be the same)

2. Who is your public–your customers/clients? What do they value? If you’re not sure, ask them. I promise, they will tell you.

3. Values match: Do your values match theirs? If not, work on this so that they do match.

(hint: sometimes a very progressive visionary company is in a position to attempt to amplify the existing values of its public, usually by increasing the visioning capacity of its public. Imagine a more compassionate, resourceful, sustainable and collaborative culture. Imagine homes, food and clothing for all. Imagine art and creativity is as valued in education as math and reading. Imagine teachers are paid their worth.)

4. Create the image: Imagine the future is already here–what does this picture look like? If the values your business represents become a large part of the culture, what will change? Define the image of that change.

(hint: This is not your logo. This is an image that can speak louder than words–can be a video, a photograph or something more creative. It is at least visual or at most multi-sensory)

5. Tie this into your communications strategies: key messages, elevator speeches, ad campaigns, media relations, blog and Twitter posts, etc.

6. Get feedback/research: Ask your public if they feel your brand is representing the targeted values well? Ask if these values are representative of the public’s values?

(hint: your overall business operations and practices must also mirror the values you promote. Your communications strategy must be woven into your business culture. In other words, you can’t claim to be a champion for valuing diverse voices and devalue the voices of some staff members. hypocrisy will be revealed sooner or later.)

7. Communicate: Respond to the individuals who took their time to give you feedback. Thank them for participating in surveys or answering questionnaires, etc. Most importantly, let them know you’re listening by taking action based on their responses. Be authentic, responsive, transparent and accountable. Think of creative ways to make sure this happens.

Want to know more? How can I help you? Please contact me daphnestreet@daphnestreet.com Web: www.daphnestreet.com

YOUR Brand = Identity

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