On Message: Precision Communication for the Digital Age

T Theobald, Kogan Page, 2013, 200pp, £14.99 (pbk), ISBN 978 0 7494 6487 5

Reviewed by Sara Hulse

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If you have no interest in blogging or using social media in any way, then this book is probably of little interest. But even if you're not planning to tweet, there's still some useful material on making sure what you want to say is incisive, relevant and delivered in a way that can't be ignored. The fact that we now communicate digitally doesn't reduce the need to understand your audience, nor replace the need to develop relationships with your clients.

This book promises to provide expert guidance to help you keep up with the demands of the newest of new media, build a community and compete with big players. As well as examples and practical help, it includes templates, simple formulae for better messaging, practice exercises, review techniques, tips on writing, and communication strategies.

The author makes the point that we're bombarded by more and more messages every day, and that the old adage 'content is king' is still true, but now it's not just what we say that matters but also how we say it, when and to whom.

As editorial freelancers trying to market ourselves and our businesses, we face the challenges of harnessing the power of social media, taking advantage of more informal means of communication and getting messages across in short and impactful sentences. When I first read the blurb and introduction to this book, I thought it could potentially provide some answers, and it did to a certain extent.

The book is very well written, although the diagrams were somewhat boring and didn't add greatly to the text. I would have liked more emphasis on a B2B (business to business) perspective – all of the examples and exercises concentrate on B2C (business to customer). There is a lot on developing a brand and segmenting an audience that is way beyond what we as editorial freelancers need, but there is a section on the nuts and bolts of better writing that I found useful, although perhaps a bit simplistic for experienced writers and editors.

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