Writing well

One of my few daily subscriptions is the newsletter from mighty CB Insights.

Today, they sent a gem on the importance of copywriting skills and writing emails well:

I’m surprised that copywriting isn’t a more prominently taught skill in business.
Given the sheer number of emails everyone sends to colleagues, customers, prospective customers, partners, etc, it should be.
A high percentage of emails everyone sends for work are “marketing.”
You’re trying to convince somebody (a colleague, your boss, a customer) of something.
There is an excellent article in The Blurb today by Pete Boyle on the power of precision writing. If you send emails that need to convince people of anything, read it just for the beginning alone (excerpt below).

The original article argues that language always needs to be concise. And that there’s a secret to it:

So What’s the Secret to Concise, Kick-Ass Copy?
Thorough editing.
That’s it. No big secret or hidden method. Comprehensive editing is the only way to achieve concise copy that hits the mark.

At Tunapanda Institute, a lot of our work involves using our brains. Our clients then want us to write it down. These skills are important — and not just here. There are people, called copywriters, who earn their income by writing for businesses. If you can afford copywriters, then you’ll save money by writing your ideas better before bringing them in. If you can’t afford copywriters, and still want to operate a digital business or perform knowledge work, then you need to focus on growing your writing and editing skills every day.

Also from the linked article:

We talk a lot about how to pitch, negotiate and set rates. These are all important aspects of your business, but if you can’t back these up with solid writing you’re going to get nowhere.
I don’t care what kind of writer you are, your success hinges on your ability to create concise copy. You need to spend as much time on the business side of your career as improving your skills as a writer.
One without the other leads nowhere.

You’re not a digital entrepreneur or freelancer if you’re not selling your products or services. You’re not going to be able to sell if you can’t write. Let me break the advice in this article by repeating the line I quoted above from CB Insights:

A high percentage of emails everyone sends for work are “marketing.”
You’re trying to convince somebody (a colleague, your boss, a customer) of something.