Our writing teams work on large, complex projects every day, so we excel at managing deadline-sensitive documents with multiple stakeholders. Many of our writers come from corporate backgrounds, meaning we understand the business world, we’re comfortable talking to time-stressed leaders, and we know how to use precious interview minutes wisely. We also understand and protect confidentiality.

ANNUAL REPORTS

Writing an annual report or investor presentation can be a daunting task. Wading through background information. Trying to get inside the president’s head so you can draft his letter. Conducting interviews with busy executives. Organizing content into a focused message. And when you do all that just once a year, the pressure can seem overwhelming.

That’s where we come in. We can create clutter-free content that keeps shareholders well-informed, expresses your vision, and balances where you’ve been with where you’re going.

In other words, we can take you out of the communications pressure cooker.

You will work with a core team that includes a writer, editor, and project manager, but your team can draw on other qualified personnel to help meet tight deadlines.

INVESTOR PRESENTATIONS

Let’s face it: Business is business. Your investors don’t shell out money just because they like you; they invest because they believe in the profitability of your products and services. They expect to see a return on their investment.

The Writers For Hire can take your complex financial information and create a winning report that boosts confidence among your stakeholders. They’ve entrusted you with the funds to launch (or maintain or grow) your product and service offerings, and we’ll make sure that your presentation furthers that trust.

Once you’ve landed the investors, you also know that your work isn’t done. Your backers want constant updates to be assured that their investments are being handled wisely – and profitably. We also help create financial reports with explanations that promote peace of mind.

A Team Effort

Our writers bring insights from various companies and projects to their work, enabling them to write well-crafted, information-rich materials – annual reports, quarterly reports, and shareholder letters. Each project is meticulously managed:

  • Concept development. We’ll collaborate with you to develop the right approach, message, and tone for your audience.
  • Interviews. Our writers know how to ask the right questions to get the best responses.
  • Project management. A dedicated project manager will see that all the moving parts fall into place, on time.
  • Editing and review. We know there’s no room for error. Our editors will improve clarity, flow, and organization, and ensure there are no mistakes, factual or otherwise.
  • Proofreading. Always completed by a previously uninvolved proofreading resource to ensure perfection.

Although your core team is responsible for almost all your copy, you may occasionally have a deliverable outside of their core competencies. No problem. With our on-call team of writers covering over 100 specialties, your core team can draw on other team members with experience in anything from press releases to Power Points.

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Hyphenated or Non-hyphenated?

Some punctuation rules are pretty clear. You know that a period belongs at the end of a sentence. Quotation marks go around direct quotes. Exclamation points, in general, don’t belong anywhere in your copy.

But hyphen rules are not so clear cut (or is it clear-cut?). It seems that everybody has their own in-house “rules” for hyphen use – and usually, those rules vary wildly from publication to publication. But what are the actual rules?

These are our proposed rules for everyone — world English change! I mean if you look at a lot of guides and some newspaper guidelines…they have pages upon pages of one-instance hyphen rules because things have gotten so complicated, and these things have just built up over time.

To The Writers for Hire, the in-house hyphen rules change all that. They simplify things, and the rules are always the same. You can always apply them in any instance and I, personally, have never ever had to look up a hyphen as long as you follow them.

Here are the rules as we see them:

Rule 1: Hyphens are always used when two adjectives modify each other and NOT the noun.

Example (maybe not the best example, but you get the point):

She is a nice fat fish. No hyphen because you can take out the word “fat” and it still makes sense. That is, both words modify fish.

Don’t play the short-stick game with Fred. Use a hyphen because short is referring to the stick, not to the game, so short-stick is hyphenated.

Rule 2: We do not hyphenate adverb/adjective combinations. So you wouldn’t say, for example, “Go to the fully-stocked bar.”

Rule 3: If there are two instances in a document of a potential hyphenation, but one is used as a noun and the other as an adjective, you only hyphenate the adjective. You don’t need it for the noun.

Example: When I wanted to install the set-up software, I had a heck of a time with the set up!

See? Simple. Three rules to explain away every hyphen question you ever had. You never need an exception, ever. And if anyone can think of one, I would love to hear of it.

Copywriting 101: Features vs. Benefits

A good copywriter can instantly identify the difference between a feature and a benefit. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for that difference to get a bit fuzzy in web copy. So, how do features differ from benefits.

Features physically describe what your product or service entails. It might mean a watertight seal, 24-hour service, or 8 GB of RAM. Whatever the case may be, features are the things that make your product or service unique.

Benefits, on the other hand, explain how the feature is useful or beneficial to the customer. Your copy about benefits should help potential customers answer questions like “why do I need 8 GB of RAM?” or “how will your 24-hour service help my business?”

So, when you’re writing, which do you want to put more emphasis on? The answer is that both features and benefits are very important, but you need to spend more time explaining your benefits.

By explaining benefits – and how each benefit affects your customers – you are essentially educating and persuading your customer at the same time. Basically, a feature without a benefit is nothing. When explaining the benefit of your feature, your copy needs to be targeted to your specific audience, to clearly and concisely give readers major insights into the product.

One way I like to explain a feature in copy is to lay it out plain and simple. For example: “Company X’s widget has a glow-in-the-dark dial (FEATURE). This means that our widget is perfect to use at night and to take with you on camping trips (BENEFIT).” One of my favorite phrases to use is “this means that,” because it lets you directly translate the benefit of your feature.

Another way to help separate features and benefits is to use a chart. You can do this as a preliminary brainstorming exercise to organize your thoughts before you write, or just paste it up on your website as a great visual aid:

Feature
On-call industry experts

Benefit
With over 70 years of combined experience, our expert advice helps you solve software issues in minutes.

Feature
24-hour service

Benefit
No matter what time it is or where you are in the world, there’s always someone available to help you troubleshoot technical issues.

Effective copy will clearly outline the features and benefits of whatever you’re selling – and it will convince the customer to buy at the same time. Rev up your homepage, brochure, sales emails, and other marketing collateral by making sure that both your features AND benefits are clearly oriented toward your customers.

And, if you’ve got any tips or thoughts about features and benefits, leave a comment and let me know!

Redundant and Repetitive

There is a lot to be said of brevity. Shakespeare wrote somewhat ironically through the mouthpiece of the long-winded Polonius in Hamlet that “brevity is the soul of wit.”

And William Strunk reminds us in Elements of Style that “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

Excellent copywriting should be brief and vibrant; take care to remove any unneeded “filler” words and phrases. It is important to look for these filler words that drag your copy down, making them dull and redundant.

One example of redundancy that rings clear in my mind comes from my elementary school grammar class: “I was home alone, all by myself.” Unless you’re using this sentence to create a character or style specific to your work, this is poor writing. To say that “I was home alone” necessarily implies that I am “all by myself,” making the second half of this sentence useless from a copywriter’s standpoint.

But what about those common phrases that can be easy to overlook – is something “absolutely essential,” or is it simply “essential?” “Basic fundamentals” are either “basics” or “fundamentals,” both able to stand alone quite nicely. Now consider “past experience,” “new innovations,” “qualified expert,” and “postpone until later” – there are better, briefer alternatives to all of these phrases.

A little hard-nosed editing will rid your copy of these superfluous filler verbs. In summarizing this already much-too-long blog about brevity, remember the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”