Writers vs Journalists – Two Different Breeds

By Aulia R. Sungkar 

The writer is director of ALVEO 

Writing is this mesmeric process, which once you sink your teeth into, will grab hold of you fast, not wanting to let go until you are spent. It’s also an anathema many shy away from: How many high school or college students joyfully get immersed in the process of writing their paper, and not constantly glancing at the bottom of their screen to see if they’ve clocked in enough words to meet the requirement set by their teacher or lecturer? Highly probably not many. Nevertheless, the world is filled to the brim with writers.

Many want to earn the title a writer, or an author, seeing their name in print (On the cover of real printed books printed on real paper and available at posh bookstores is still most preferred in this age of paperless society). Hence, they write books and become writers. Many others aim at seeing their name printed every other day of the week under different glaring title and headlines. So, they write articles and become journalists. Both write, but how do they differ?

Creative writing and journalism are not one and the same. In fact, they can become different beasts altogether. Both creative writers and journalists need to have a knack for words, and a strong interest in what makes the world spin. Beyond that, it’s a whole different game.

Many creative writers choose to do the deed in private; many of them have been known to be reclusive (Thomas Pynchon came to mind). Yes, they will go out of their cave and meet people, but not as part of the writing process. We heard that some writers have some people do some research for them about things they want to include in their book; Stephen King is one example. If not asking his researcher to research a specific issue, he’s also known to go out himself and interview people having specific skills and working in specific fields to get information on how stuff work, so that he can inject realism into his fantasies, thus, engaging the readers more in his stories of the eerie and the fantastic. But, for the rest of the time, it is the writer and the word processor.

Journalists shine under the light; that’s pretty much what they’re after. They need to be at the center of things: To be the eye-witness of world-shaking events and write about it. To see their name in print they compete with other journalists, are there at the same time and the same place and try to shout the loudest and win the attention of all. Self promote themselves they will, to win interviews, to get the best place in a press conference and other media events. Journalists engage themselves in the events, crafty in their words to entice their sources to talk and then talk some more.

Creative writers want to create a world. The bigger the better. They inhabit it with characters big and small, living and dead, each having their own stories begging to be told and more conflicted than the previous one. They thrive on plot devices. Just remember: Plot device should move the plot forward, and not be used to prolong the story. Creative writers then shun deadlines as deadlines clog their vast and bottomless well of creativity. Thus, creative writing is complex and employs more styles than journalistic writing does.

When it comes to how much you can write, journalists are not so lucky. The number of words in their article are limited to how long their editor want the article to be. They also have deadlines. So, they need to keep things simple, concise, and practical. Imagination is never an option and facts are king, as even what sources insist on saying is true requires double or triple check, or as the tough-as-nail editor Snapper Carr character from Supergirl™ TV series says: “We believe everyone is lying until we can prove they’re not.”

Both professions, of course, can supplement each other, and there is a slew of creative writers-cum-journalists out there. Whatever they are, they are expected to be able to present tired centuries-old stories—corruption by those in power, tragic loss of one’s loved ones, love once surrendered regained, economic downturn following predictable misstep by the privileged few, or others—into something fresh, enticing and important. So, whatever you are interested in writing, when you write for a living, you are a writer. The important thing is what you write matters, or you know how to make it matter.

Copywriting vs. Creative Writing: What’s the Difference?

By Aulia R. Sungkar

The writer is director of ALVEO 

What distinguishes copywriting and creative writing? It’s the rhetoric that most people seem to have; even writers are sometimes confused about the differences between those two.

Copywriter and creative writer are two different professions with different goals and target markets. To put it, copywriting deals with advertising and marketing like writing brochures, websites and press releases.

Creative writing, on the other hand, is broader; this profession also includes the work of copywriter as well as other types of writing such as scriptwriting, article writing, poems and writing non-fiction or fiction books.

Another difference is copywriters mostly deal with clients and sometimes these clients dictate the kind of content they want and things they want to promote. The goal is to convince readers to buy a specific product or service through their writing. Creative writers tend to be more independent, they can write whatever they want, and their main focus is to engage with the readers and make them interested in their writing.

There are plenty of job opportunities available for both professions, people with these skills can either work as a freelancer, promoting their works on social media or via freelancer websites; or they can work for a creative agency. Creative agencies are currently on the rise, especially those that offer digital services such as web development and social media marketing. Most often than not, these firms are looking for skilled writers who can do both. They can write great articles as well as writing a catchy ad copy.

How to Market your Newsletters

Newsletter is a great tool for marketers and publications to engage with their current customers and even attract new potential subscribers. By definition, newsletter is information or report that is delivered regularly by email to employees and subscribers.

But with so many emails, and spam messages, that people tend to get every single day, it’s important to make your newsletters stand out from the rest and avoid them from getting unsubscribed.

Listed below are several tips on how to make great newsletters that will catch the subscriber’s attention.

Make it Catchy

When people scroll down their inbox page, the first thing that they will see is subject line. Create titles that are going to grab their attention, avoid using generic ones such as “Our Newsletter for this Month” and instead take an interesting topic from the newsletter and use it as the subject, such as “Beauty blogger Z shares her favorite lipstick products.” Also, make the subject as short as possible and avoid using slang words and acronyms because that will come across as unprofessional.

Short and Easy-to-Read

The golden rule of newsletters is less is more, divide your newsletters into sections to make them look more organized and don’t put an entire article or lengthy information into the newsletters. Publish the article on your official website and include the article link in the newsletter along with the title and a maybe a short paragraph describing what the article is about, with this strategy you can also help boost the website’s traffic.

Good Visuals

Human beings are visual beings. Pictures, design and graphics are processed faster and remembered longer by humans than just a plain text. Include some photos or interesting graphics in the newsletter to make them attractive, however that doesn’t mean that you are going to stuff them all with only pictures because that could be marked as a spam email and will go directly into the spam folder. Another thing, your newsletter design is also equally important. Make one simple design template and stick to it every time you send out a newsletter, a consistent design helps readers to identify your brand.

Frequency

Always be consistent with the time to send the newsletters, the frequency can be varied from daily, biweekly or monthly but choose one and stick to it. By having a regular schedule, your subscribers know exactly when to expect an email from you and it also gives you a timeline on when to finish creating the next newsletter. Here’s another tip, the more frequent your newsletter is, the shorter the content should be because no one likes to read a lengthy email every day.

Give Incentives

As an effort to attract new subscribers and maintain the existing ones, giving incentives is a great way to do it. They don’t have to be big or pricey, a small discount or free samples will do just fine. By doing this, they will more likely to stay loyal to your company and maybe even ask their peers to subscribe to your newsletters.

 

To Ghostwrite or Not to Ghostwrite


Ghostwriting has its niche in the world of writing. The service of ghostwriting helps those with great ideas for a book, or an article, but unable to put them down on paper. A ghostwriter, then, is bound by a non-disclosure agreement to deliver a piece of writing as per order, sans a byline.

But, what makes a good ghostwriting? Below are some points to consider.

Have Contract, Will Travel

Before getting to write the client and the ghostwriter need to iron out all the wrinkles regarding the work. Sometimes, the ghostwriter may need to consult a lawyer to make sure nothing goes amiss, and he won’t suffer any loss. Thus, the contract will consist of details regarding the confidentiality agreement, the payment, and due date terms, the project specification, and so on and so forth. When it comes to payment, a ghostwriter may set the term bases on the project. A ghostwriter may ask for a deposit, especially for a long project or a book project. Why? Sometimes, a project may drag on or the client is busy with other engagement that the project is put on a backburner. Another possibility, however remote, is the client does an about face, thinking the project is not worth continuing. So, with a deposit, the ghostwriter is confident that he’s not working for nothing even if the project meets its untimely end.

Close Encounter of the Ghostly Kind

A ghostwriter and his client need to meet, notably for a long project. Direct encounter reveals more information than any indirect ones ever could, even with today’s communication technology. A ghostwriter can learn about the way the client expresses himself, his perspective on various issues are, and other subtle things that make the finished product truly a piece that reflects the client. A ghostwriter and the client, however, need to maintain a distance, keeping things professional. Sometimes, though, a ghostwriter may ask a client whether he can use the client’s name as a referral as the ghostwriter needs to build his portfolio and look for other jobs and clients. It is up to the client whether it’s okay for the ghostwriter to refer his name or check again the confidentiality clause in the contract to avoid any legal—and ethical—issues.

Mum’s the Word

A ghostwriter understands that the work will not be his. A professional ghostwriter is used to this, going to sleep at night, knowing his name won’t be on the cover of the book, or be printed as a byline of the article, he wrote. He knows that coming forward and saying he was the one true writer of the piece of writing is a breach of contract and can land him on a legal hot spot. A ghostwriter also knows the client will want to have his say on the tone of the book, for example. The client, on the other hand, needs to realize a professional ghostwriter knows more about how the words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters should go on the pages, so that be written and unfold. So, a compromise is the name of the game.

Scaling the Limit

A ghostwriter usually has a professional website where he offers his service. Prospective clients can check out the writing samples provided on the website and decide whether the style fits their need. Some ghostwriters specialize on certain areas, some others are ready to tackle more diverse topics. This doesn’t mean the quality of those who specialize on certain topics is better than the others, but prospective clients need to be aware of this and consider this aspect when looking for a professional ghostwriter. On the other hand, a ghostwriter may decide to turn down a project if he believes he is not the right person for the job or is otherwise engaged with different projects.

Tips for Writing Appealing Advertorial

 


Before we proceed with some of the tips and tricks to help boost the chance of an advertorial getting a decent attention-time, let us, first, get one thing out of the way, namely, understanding what advertorial is. Advertorial comes from the words ‘advertising’ and ‘editorial.’ So, an advertorial is a piece of writing that aims at selling something—a product or a service, done in the style of an editorial. Now, in this era of TL; DR culture, what can we do to make an advertorial engaging?

Know Your Readers

The phrase ‘different stroke for different folks’ applies in this case. How you write your advertorial to be published in an economic newspaper or news website differs from one written for a lifestyle magazine or website. The difference is evident right out of the gate, meaning, when formulating the headline or title, you should already put this into consideration. World Readying Itself for Internet of Things. More Awesomeness Awaits with Revved Up Internet. These two titles, which lead to an article about the same subject serve better if used for different types of websites.

Lighten Things Up

Avoid heavy jargons. Even when the advertorial is to appear on a technology website, for example, keep the language simple, for not all visitors/readers are tech savvy individuals who are interested in the amount of ‘data per microsecond the latest North-bridge spiraled-shaped composite laser-etched component board’ can deliver. Connect the readers to the product or the service on a personal and emotional level. This means the advertorial should focus on benefits. Of course, describing the features of the product or service is important, but how the product or service can genuinely benefit the readers should be the priority.

Capture their Attention

Include photos, quotes, or testimonials. Rather than relying on barrage of words, include pictures, quotes and testimonials. Photos help readers get informed about the product or service; it also gives them reprieve from reading the advertorial. Quotes and testimonials add authenticity to the material as the readers see that they’re reading something that comes out of multiple persons. For a website, nowadays quite often we see a video inclusion. This surely has its merit, as it can add more information regarding the subject the advertorial is presenting. It may, however, distract the readers from the text because some people will choose to immediately play the video, and don’t bother to read the text. So, be wise about this.

Incite Readers to Act

A suggestion for call to action, or CTA, should not be too in-your-face; stick to the soft selling approach (even with the inclusion of photos and/or videos). Tell them what they need to do—clicking a link, sending an email, making a call, or placing an order—but try to make it sound conversational. Furthermore, the CTA should be sprinkled throughout the advertorial, not just at the closing. They may sound like these sentences: That said, this link should help you get started with your kickstart project; or, The government’s plan to subsidize fishermen is currently being drafted, and the department is inviting suggestions to ensure the draft covers all the bases.

Make it Readable

Remember that you are writing an editorial, so make sure that you use proper sentence structure, and that all rules of grammar are observed. Hence, editing is essential in this case. Read and reread the advertorial after you’re done writing it. You may want to get someone else to do it for you, or better get a professional editor to do it.

Go with the Pro

If you are not yet confident with your own writing, you can always opt for outsourcing the work to professional writers or a marketing firm that specializes in this kind of content writing. They are familiar with ways to iron out the kinks to ensure the advertorial serves its purpose.

 

 

Tips Menyusun Laporan Tahunan yang Menarik

Oleh: Aulia R. Sungkar

Penulis adalah direktur ALVEO

Annual Report atau Laporan Tahunan merupakan laporan perkembangan dan pencapaian yang berhasil diraih perusahaan atau organisasi dalam satu tahun. Laporan Tahunan memiliki beberapa fungsi, diantaranya sebagai sumber informasi mengenai perkembangan perusahaan atau organisasi, dan pencapaian yang telah berhasil dilakukan. Laporan Tahunan juga dapat dipergunakan sebagai media pemasaran dan promosi untuk meningkatkan daya tarik perusahaan di mata pemegang saham dan pemangku kepentingan.

Sangat penting bagi perusahaan untuk mengetahui cara membuat Annual Report sesuai kriteria Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK). Lalu, bagaimana menyusun Laporan Tahunan Perusahaan berdasarkan kriteria-kriteria tersebut?

  1. Umum

Kriteria ini mengenai penggunaan bahasa yang dipakai dalam Laporan Tahunan. Disarankan untuk menggunakan dua bahasa, baik dalam satu atau dalam dua buku terpisah, yakni versi Bahasa Indonesia dan versi Bahasa Inggris.

Penggunaan jenis dan ukuran huruf yang mudah terbaca juga merupakan hal mendasar yang harus diperhatikan, dan Laporan Tahunan harus dicetak dengan kualitas yang baik.

  1. Ikhtisar Data Keuangan Penting

Ikhtisar Data Keuangan Penting merujuk kepada penyajian informasi mengenai posisi keuangan, hasil usaha dan rasio keuangan dari perusahaan sesuai dengan standar industri yang berlaku. Informasi tersebut dapat disajikan dalam bentuk perbandingan 3 tahun atau 5 tahun, dengan tampilan desain yang menarik.

  1. Laporan Dewan Komisaris dan Direksi

Laporan Dewan Komisaris dan Direksi adalah pernyataan tertulis dari Dewan Komisaris dan Direksi mengenai kinerja perusahaan. Sesuai kriteria OJK, perusahaan harus mencantumkan pandangan atas prospek usaha perusahaan, dan juga perubahan komposisi.

  1. Profil Perusahaan

Bab Profil Perusahaan menghadirkan informasi mengenai sejarah dan perkembangan perusahaan. Informasi lain di bab ini adalah nama perusahaan dan bidang usaha perusahaan, riwayat singkat mengenai sejarah dan milestone perusahaan, profil Dewan Komisaris dan Direksi beserta komite-komitenya, informasi mengenai pemegang saham, penyertaan saham atau grup perusahaan, struktur organisasi, penghargaan dan sertifikasi yang dimiliki oleh perusahaan dan lain sebagainya. Untuk menyempurnakan Laporan Tahunan, tampilkan Informasi Umum dan Profil Perusahaan di dalam satu bab untuk memudahkan proses penjurian.

  1. Analisa dan Pembahasan Manajemen Atas Kinerja Perusahaan

Bab Analisa dan Pembahasan Manajemen Atas Kinerja Perusahaan ini merupakan salah satu sumber yang sangat penting. Bab ini terdiri dari berbagai sub-bab, diantaranya Analisa Makro Ekonomi, Tinjauan Bisnis dan Tinjauan Per Segmen Operasi.

Yang paling utama dalam bab ini adalah Tinjauan Keuangan yang menampilkan informasi mengenai kinerja keuangan perusahaan, realisasi kinerja keuangan tersebut atas target yang telah ditetapkan pada awal tahun, aspek permodalan, dan aspek prospek usaha perusahaan.

  1. Tata Kelola Perusahaan

Bab Tata Kelola Perusahaan merupakan bab yang paling penting karena memberikan uraian tentang prinsip dasar penerapan Tata Kelola Perusahaan (Good Corporate Governance) di sebuah perusahaan. Bab ini memuat uraian mengenai organ perusahaan yang terdiri dari Rapat Umum Pemegang Saham (RUPS), Dewan Komisaris, dan Direksi, serta peran-peran dari organ-organ ini dalam merumuskan berbagai macam strategi Perusahaan dan arah kebijakan perusahaan. Selain itu, bab ini juga menjabarkan organ pendukung Dewan Komisaris dan Direksi seperti Sekretariat Dewan Komisaris, Komite Audit, Komite Nominasi dan Remunerasi, dan komite-komite lainnya, serta Sekretaris Perusahaan, Audit Internal dan Akuntan Publik. 

  1. Informasi Keuangan

Informasi Keuangan sesuai kriteria Annual Report adalah Laporan Keuangan yang telah diaudit oleh Kantor Akuntan Publik.

Untuk menyempurnakan penyusunan Laporan Tahunan, pihak perusahaan sebaiknya juga memperhatikan keselarasan antara design, layout, dan content. Hal ini bertujuan agar Laporan Tahunan benar-benar memenuhi perannya sebagai media komunikasi yang merepresentasikan suatu perusahaan dengan didukung oleh tampilan desain yang dapat menggambarkan perusahaan, dan disesuaikan dengan corporate identityperusahaan tersebut.

Tips for Preparing Compelling Annual Report

By Aulia R. Sungkar

The writer is director of ALVEO

Annual Report is development and performance report which a company makes every year. Annual Report serves several functions, including as the source of information regarding the growth a company or an organization, and performances it has delivered. Annual Report is also a medium for promotion and marketing, increasing the appeal of the company in the eyes of the shareholders and the stakeholders.

It is important for a company to know how to create an Annual Report that refers to the criteria of the Financial Services Authority (OJK). So, how should a company prepare its Annual Report based on these criteria?

General

These criteria deal with the languages in Annual Report. It is advisable that the report is written in two languages (Indonesian and English) , either in one book or in separate books.

The use of fonts and the readable font size are other basic elements to be considered, and the Annual Report must be printed on high quality materials.

Highlights of Important Financial Data

The Highlights of Important Financial Data refer to the information disclosure regarding the financial position, company results, and financial ratios based on the standards of the industry. This information is presented in the form of comparison with those three to five years prior using an interesting design aesthetic.

Board of Commissioners and Board of Directors Reports

The reports of the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Directors are written statement from the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Directors regarding the company’s performance. Based on OJK criteria, a company is required to include the company’s opinion and business prospects, and any changes in the composition of the organization.

Company Profile

The Company Profile chapter presents information on the history and development of the company. Other pieces of information in this chapter include the name of the company, its field of business, its history in a condensed form and milestones, profiles of members of the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Directors and their supporting committees. The chapter only presents information about the company’s shareholders or group of companies, organizational structure, awards and certifications the company has won and/or received. To complete the report, the company should also include General Information and Company Profile in one chapter to help with the judging process.

Management Discussion and Analysis on the Company Performance

The Management Discussion and Analysis chapter is one of the crucial parts. The chapter consists of several sub-chapters, including Macroeconomic Analysis, Business Review and Review per Segment of Operations.

The highlight of the chapter is Financial Review which presents the information on financial performance, realization of the financial performance, the realization of the financial performance over targets set at the beginning of the year, the capital aspect, and business prospects.

Corporate Governance

The Corporate Governance chapter is the most important one, as it elaborates on the implementation of Good Corporate Governance (GCG) in a company. This chapter describes corporate organs, namely the General Meeting of Shareholders (GMS), the Board of Commissioners, the Board of Directors, as well as their roles in formulating various corporate strategies and policies. In addition, the chapter also elaborates on Board of Commissioners and Board of Directors’ supporting organs such as secretariat of the Board of Commissioners, the Audit Committee, the Nomination and Remuneration Committee, and other committees, as well as the Corporate Secretary, the Internal Audit and Public Accountants.

Financial Information

The Financial Information according to Annual Report criteria is one that has been audited by a public accounting firm.

To complete the report, the company should pay attention to how the design, layout and content are brought together. This is intended so that the Annual Report serves its function as the communication medium which represents the company, and supported with a visual design which describes the company and reflects its corporate identity.