In doing the work that I do as a strategist, it can be difficult to take long and complex research sets and narrow them down into short, concise documents. I tend to think every little insight I discover is groundbreaking and should be carefully perused by everyone at every level at a company, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that nearly no one wants to read a long document full of analytic data. For some of these folks, looking at a long document full of important strategic findings is just about as interesting as reading your tax returns for the last ten years.
However, I’ve luckily found numerous ways to keep clients, as well as the team at our Florida ad agency, satisfied through presenting data in a much clearer and more engaging manner. The goal is to rely on an often-used phrase, “Keep it simple, stupid!” I promise I’m not calling anyone stupid, it’s just a great way to remember to simplify in every aspect of business where possible — including writing research reports. Here are some of the tips I’ve employed to keep people interested in the content so my memos don’t have to keep competing with stacks of other boring documents.
If you must write a long research report, offer a clear summary of findings on the first page of the report. For many people, and especially high-level executives, this will be the only part of the report they will actually read.
If it’s a Brief, Keep it Brief
There’s a reason they call it a brief, you know. Keeping it under two pages will make it more likely that people will read the entire thing, ensuring they won’t miss any important items.
Almost any type of image will add more interest to a page of text. A chart or graph can make for an excellent storytelling device, and a photo can offer a visual description of the content or inspire ideation. If nothing else, take a quote from the report, add some white space around it and highlight it, making it stand out on the page.
This may not be appropriate in all circumstances, but where it is, use it to your advantage. In presenting material using humor, you are more likely to keep the reader interested in the content, plus funny lines or quips will help them better remember the material. Even inserting a funny image of a LOLCat can help make an otherwise stale collection of data into something more interesting, which will also make you look like a star when people can’t stop talking about it in the break room. [quote]Remember, your content doesn’t have to be boring and stale, and in fact, making it more interesting will help people to better remember the content.[/quote]
I’ve already shared these tips with the team at our Orlando marketing agency, so I thought there was no better time than now to allow you to rip a few pages from our playbook. Contact us today for more information, and to unlock your own strategic approach!