One of the top internal hurdles for Federal agencies and private companies alike is the tedious task of writing reports and marketing materials. Technical reports, annual documents and marketing material updates can often be difficult to find the time to write — especially at the end of the fiscal year when agencies are often too busy to devote internal resources for writing and editing of these documents.
Circuit Media has been writing for clients for more than 15 years. With our combined experience, we’ve come up with a list of tips to help anyone formulate a streamlined writing plan. Here’s our best advice for anyone with a large writing project looming on the horizon.
If you’re writing an annual report, our best tip is to stay on top of the data collection throughout the year. Add your documents, reference materials and any other collateral into a shared team folder as you get them. This will help you strategize a writing approach as your deadline nears.
If your team is too busy to write this report each year, you can also compile the data and hand it off to a qualified technical writer. As an example, the CM Team has worked collaboratively with the Small Business Administration’s Office of the National Ombudsman for the last three years to produce its Annual Report to Congress.
Case studies are the bane of many marketing departments. They’re cumbersome to put together and require a significant amount of time to write from scratch each time.
If your team gives a collective groan when you greenlight a case study effort, it may be time to start considering your writing process. Think about the following first:
- Are you using templates?
- Are all of your cases current?
- Do you have a database or document that makes pulling data, general information and collateral easy for your team?
- Are the people who performed the work available to be interviewed?
- Could your team be overloaded or experiencing burnout?
If you’re unsure about any of the points above, get together with your team to talk about refining your case study process. It may also be easier for you to contract out some case study writing so your team can redirect more focus and resources into your largest contracting or client efforts instead. You can look into hiring a technical writer to build overflow support into your existing staff, or Circuit Media can assist with any case study writing and report layout needs you have.
Technical reports can be the most challenging to write. They’re wordy, contain a vast amount of jargon and require many comprehensive compliance and quality control checks.
If writing these reports is devouring your team’s resources, look into creating a template bank with prewritten technical approaches, which can be tweaked as needed to fit each report’s scope. This will save you an enormous amount of time when you need to write one of these.
Another good practice is writing a plain language version of your technical approaches, removing any jargon or unnecessarily complex language. This will reduce your page count in addition to drastically lowering your editing and QC review time. Circuit Media is also a qualified plain language writer and editor — feel free to contact us if you’d like some help getting started making these reports a breeze for your technical team.