Unfortunately, we’re living during a time when the business news is often bad. That means clients have assignments that require delivering bad news. I worked on two such projects in recent months, which got me thinking about important elements of “bad news” copy.
Here are three:
1) Be direct.
Get the bad news out early, quickly and completely. Don’t bury it. To borrow from Nike, “Just say it.”
2) Be clear.
This is a key element of all effective copy, but it’s especially important when you’re delivering bad news. This is no time to be fuzzy or cute. Your message needs to be crystal clear.
3) Be honest.
Don’t try to gloss over the bad news or give it a slick PR or marketing spin. I know it’s tempting, but don’t do it. You won’t fool many people. In fact, you could lose credibility. Once you get the bad news out, you can move on to the positives and any plans for overcoming difficulties.