Write like a journalist to succeed in business

Hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist Paul Tudor Jones says executives should take lessons from news reporters to learn to organise their thoughts and communicate effectively

Newspaper journalists are so rarely held up as aspirational figures – usually they’re jostling with traffic wardens at the top of the world’s most hated list – that it is a jaw-dropping surprise to read of a billionaire hedge fund manager and philanthropist advising business people to learn from them.

Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investment which manages $14 billion of assets, told Bloomberg News that he recommends staff take an introductory newspaper writing course to improve the way they write memos and reports.

“Today, in business, time is money,” he told Bloomberg. “When you’ve got hundreds of decisions to make every week – dozens every day – being able to see, think and understand what the issue is in the first couple of paragraphs is actually paramount to being efficient at what you do.”

And woe betide staff members who ignore this advice and opt for a leisurely magazine style instead, saving the best for last. “Every time I get a memo from someone written magazine style, I literally tear it up, throw it away and make them take an online newspaper writing course,” says Mr Jones.

What does all this have to do with content marketing? Simply that your internal audience is as important as your external one. Yours is certainly not the only report cluttering up the boss’s desk today, so you want to grab those eyeballs and keep them focused on your work for as long as possible. Do this by being clear, concise and interesting.

Taking your audience with you is what newspapers try to do every day – if readers get bored there are a world of other papers, websites, TV or radio stations they can choose instead, many of which they can get for free.

Mr Jones’s point about learning to organise your thoughts is a very good one. As experienced news editors get very bored of telling young reporters ‘if you don’t understand what you’re on about, sure as hell no one else does either’. Similarly in a corporate environment, your staff or your superior have plenty of better things to do than wade through reams of waffle, trying to find your point for you.

So, to the point: good journalism is needed at every level of your organisation if you want your audience, internal or external, to come on your journey with you.

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