How Research-Driven Organizations Become Thought Leaders

Insights

Cultivating Better Writing Skills: What Research-Based Organizations Should Do

How can individual researchers assess their writing strengths and weaknesses (and improve on those weaknesses)? Last week I gave you four ideas.

How can research-driven organizations/institutions help with that assessment and improvement? In many of the same ways:

  • Hire a staff editor with some domain expertise to work with its researchers;
  • Hire a professional writing coach to evaluate manuscripts and the strengths and weaknesses the researchers are displaying in those manuscripts;
  • Put on two- or three-day writing workshops for its researchers, led by a scientific writing coach and scientists who write well (the manuscripts might be peer-reviewed papers, pieces for non-specialists, or a mix of both);
  • Develop an internal communications platform where researchers can get candid, supportive feedback on their writing from their peers;
  • Develop an external-facing platform (OK, a blog) where researchers can publish at low stakes.
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Why Marketers & Scientists Hate Each Other (It’s the Papers)

I’ve worked for more than 20 years with researchers as a communications and marketing professional. I’ve heard every complaint both sides could make about the other — and probably so have you. For me, the usual stereotypes (marketers are fluffy idiots, scientists are literal idiots) stopped being amusing years ago.…

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Assessing Your Writing Skills

A list member writes:

This morning while working on a proposal with some super collaborators I found myself thinking that my writing skills could use some work. I know they always can, for everyone, but then I wondered:

How can I assess my writing skills to highlight current strengths and weaknesses without going back to college?

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Don’t Play Numbers Games

Among my top-five most-hated science communications tactics: let’s write a letter to X journal and get Y number of people to sign it. That’ll get their attention and change things!

Sadly: while Y might get their attention (briefly), it’s never nearly enough to change things.…

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The Coming Agitation

The Agitator, a must-read newsletter on fundraising trends and strategy for non-profits, last week posted a series on audience building amidst the ever-shifting sands of Google and Facebook. (In two words: treacherous.) Some takeaways:

  • More than half of all Google searches now end in no clicks (because Google is dominating many searches with its own information boxes — and because people on mobile don’t click as much);
  • Organic reach on Facebook has dried up — clickthroughs are now all ad-driven, and those ads are getting and will get more and more expensive.
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