In my years of writing advertising and marketing content, I’ve found that organizations that maintain high standards for writing quality achieve and maintain greater market success.
That’s a bold statement, I know, and there are exceptions. Some well-known and widely hated companies hold onto market position through monopolies. And some companies are better at writing than product development. But I have yet to see an organization with bad or sloppy writing that is widely considered the best in its field.
Chicken or egg?
The link between writing and market position is no coincidence. It’s true that successful companies can afford better writers, but there’s a chicken-or-egg argument at play. From what I’ve seen, a passion for quality shapes the foundation of great companies. Every channel moving out from that essence holds to a standard of excellence.
Great organizations—whether we’re talking about locally owned bakeries, city agencies, regional grocery store chains, or multinational technology brands—sincerely care about producing the finest products and delivering outstanding service. They also care about their customers, employees, vendors, and the greater community. As a result, they work harder on every aspect of what it takes to be and stay great.
Demanding is good
I’ve worked with several such organizations in my career, and I can tell you they are both my favorite clients and my most demanding. By demanding, I don’t mean the clients who nitpick to maintain client-vendor dominance, make changes for ego’s sake, or perpetuate myths like never ending a sentence with a preposition. I’m talking about the clients who know great writing and challenge me to deliver my best.
While demand for writing excellence is what I witness when I read eloquent content or work with great companies, written communication is just one of many channels leading out from a company’s intrinsic nature. For me, it’s a signal of what lies at the company’s core.
Try this at home
Test my theory for yourself. Take a moment to look at the websites of three large companies you believe deliver top-quality products or services. If you’re stuck for ideas, try go-to standards like Apple (the MacBook Pro page reads like poetry), Tesla, Google’s “About” site, Starbucks, or Nordstrom. You’ll notice that home pages feature very little writing, but what’s there is flat brilliant. If you dig down or visit the corporate section where more content appears, you’ll see that writing quality hovers at lofty on every page.
Keep those examples in mind the next time you’re evaluating a company, product, or service. Pay attention to the writing quality of brochures, web pages, email blasts, etc. If you see worn-out corporate speak, grammar goofs, punctuation errors, misspellings, or typos, ask yourself what that laziness could be signaling.