Writing with Impact

There’s no such thing as generic “good” writing. Writing quality—and impact—comes from how well it fits its purpose. This course shows how to give all your writing more impact, regardless of its purpose. Writer and journalist Tom Geller helps you find your own reasons for writing, demonstrating how to use those reasons to drive the words you choose and the tone you take. Plus, he shares how to leverage your understanding of grammar and sentence structure to write nearly anything with maximum impact. Upon completing this course, you’ll be equipped with practical tips for making your prose clear, concise, and right for its specific purpose.

Writing White Papers

White papers were originally produced by governments, but now serve a vital purpose in marketing departments worldwide. A white paper is a deep dive into a concept, initiative, or product, designed to educate and persuade by framing issues in a clear way. In this course, corporate communications pro Tom Geller leads you through the format, purposes, and uses of white papers; helps you define what you want your paper to be; and then helps you make it a reality. You’ll finish this course with information about where white papers fit in the greater business ecosystem—and how to make your paper the best it can be.

Writing Case Studies

Screenshot from "Writing Case Studies"

Another in a series of “genre writing” courses. Previous ones are Writing Formal Business Letters and Emails and Writing Articles. Available on Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning.

Course description as published:

If you have helped a customer achieve success, you can document it in a case study, which is how you tell the world about it. In this course, learn about typical types of case studies, which fit both online and print formats. Explore strategies for making a compelling case study. Find out how to avoid some common pitfalls.

Topics include:

  • Benefits of case studies
  • Examples of case studies
  • Examining who reads case studies
  • Narrowing your audience
  • Appealing to different audiences
  • Formatting and style
  • Inspiring empathy while interviewing the customer
  • Gaining buy-in and getting the customer to tell your story
  • Extracting and organizing quotes
  • Writing a case study
  • Incorporating additional media
  • Avoiding common pitfalls

Sujan Pandey

I found your Writing Articles course on Lynda.com and it provided me with all the things I needed to get started now. I simply wanted to express gratitude and let you know how much I got out of the course. Thank you.

Writing Formal Business Letters and Emails

Learn how to write formal business letters and emails that are short, clear, and to the point. This course teaches you how to get results and build better relationships with clients, colleagues, and customers. Writer and journalist Tom Geller helps you clarify your goals, research your topic and intended audience, and structure your correspondence. Plus, get tips about writing for accessibility—making your writing comprehensible, concise, and appropriate for all readers—and following up on communication.

Topics include:

  • Defining your goals
  • Conducting research
  • Setting the tone
  • Writing for accessibility
  • Sending reminders
  • Continuing the conversation

Twitter, 140 characters, and effective writing

Twitter’s 140-character limit puts the burden of clarity on the writer, where it belongs.

Why is Twitter so influential among the famous and powerful?

It’s the platform of choice not only for politicians and celebrities, but for us ordinary schmos trying to reach them. And we succeed: Bill Gates and Lady Gaga regularly answer, retweet, and give shouts-out. (Hey, I even got a response from BoJack Horseman!)

Twitter’s popularity certainly plays a part, as the world’s 13th most-visited website. But that can’t be the only reason. Reddit and Facebook rank higher, yet they rarely enjoy the same kind of engagement. Why?

To understand, change your perspective. Pretend you’re the star (or the star’s staff), getting up in the morning and scrolling through your social media. How long does it take to read and understand each message? Now multiply that by thousands (or tens of thousands) and you see the problem. Messages on Facebook et al. can be any length, so writers don’t exercise discipline. More, they wrongly think, is better.

Twitter’s 140-character limit puts the burden of clarity on the writer, where it belongs. It’s a form of what writing students call constrained writing, and it’s an incredibly effective technique for sparking both creativity and precision. So not only are tweets faster to read than Facebook posts — they’re easier to read, too.

Concise messages win on other platforms, too. It’s a point I make in my just-released LinkedIn Learning / Lynda.com course, Writing Formal Business Letters and Emails. Brief messages appeal not only to busy people, but also to those with visual impairments, and those who don’t read your language well. (I know this as an American living in The Netherlands: I can read Dutch, but skip long social-media posts in the language. Who needs the struggle?)

Twitter is now testing double-length tweets, through which it hopes to relieve “a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English”. I think this is a mistake: As with highways and prisons, people will find excuses to fill available space. And all those famous and powerful people you want to reach will stop reading.

In its announcement, Twitter nailed it by saying that “Twitter is about brevity. … Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter.” But then: “That is something we will never change.” I’m sorry, Twitter, you can’t have it both ways. If you make the change to 280 characters, the point will get delayed and buried.

For proof, here are the latest (as I write this) two tweets from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. First, 105 characters:

https://twitter.com/jack/status/930640144155099136

Now, 273 characters:

https://twitter.com/jack/status/928658511311097856

Which did you actually read? Which did you understand?

As for me, I’ve taken the #140pledge to keep my tweets under the old limit. Follow suit if you want your tweets to get seen, read, and understood. Brevity pays off.

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Bonus for reading this far: Here’s a free, unlocked video from my new course. 🙂

Tom Geller is the author/presenter of several video courses available through Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning, including Writing Articles and Writing Formal Business Letters and Emails. He’s at tomgeller.com and tgprods.com, and on Twitter as tgeller.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/twitter-140-characters-effective-writing-tom-geller

Public relations services

Logo of the Grey Group

After four years in technology journalism, I “jumped the fence” to become a Senior Account Executive at GCI Group (now part of Grey Global Group). I specialized in high-tech clients, including Sun, Qualcomm, Globalstar, and Penguin Computing. Later founded Silicon Valley P.R. (sold in 2002).

Miftahul Zannat

Thank you for your outstanding contribution to the world of writers through LinkedIn Learning. I must say, it inspired me to keep writing.

Clay Andres, Account Director, Studio B

Tom’s become a key ‘go-to’ guy for us when we need the highest-quality work delivered on time, and he’s always a pleasure to work with. I give him my highest recommendation.

Rik Myslewski, Media Producer, MacLife

Finding knowledgeable, evenhanded writers is hard enough. But finding one whose writing is as clean, precise, on-time, and well-crafted as Tom’s is almost unheard of. A keeper!