A New Year, a New Writing Style for US Builders Review
Almost one year ago we completely revamped our magazine design. We created a new website with simple navigation and space to highlight our top stories. We also upgraded our marketing and customer service initiatives. What we didn’t do was improve our writing.
Starting with our first edition of the New Year, that’s changing too. Below, you’ll find a letter from our recently appointed managing editor, Blake Davis, which explains (in our new writing style, of course) how and why we are changing.
So go on, give it a read and see what 2017 will bring to you, our features and readers, and our staff:
How do you renovate one of America’s busiest and most beautiful places? You get some friends to help, of course.
That’s the opening sentence for one of the stories in this edition, yet its significance is greater than its high-up placement in a story. That sentence matters because it captures a new style of writing being explored by US Builders Review. For years, the magazine has embraced the style of writing that characterizes so many trade magazines: language that is correct but impersonal; terms that are unfamiliar to many readers; stories that are factual but lack the buoyancy and vitality of the people staff interview. No more.
As the new managing editor, this winter edition marks my efforts—and that of a team of new, hungry writers—to help the magazine write with much greater personality and clarity. Like the first sentence I give as an example, these stories are more casual and more personal than the old ones. They include humor, anecdotes, colorful quotes and analogies you wouldn’t encounter in the “About Us” section of a Web page or the pages of other more conservative magazines with a similar focus.
The purpose of changing the style is to capture the people who bleed and sweat to make their companies work in full color, to make their stories more accessible and more widely read.
The purpose of changing the style is not just my preference. Instead, it is to capture the people who bleed and sweat to make their companies work in full color, to make their stories more accessible and more widely read. It is to employ the perspective US Builders Review staff have acquired through speaking to thousands of brilliant executives and broadcast it through stories that are more specific, provide greater context and are far more enjoyable than stories of the past or stories by other trade magazines.
That first sentence, by the way, refers to an architectural firm whose general manager says it would have been impossible to renovate facilities around Niagara Falls State Park without the help of its longtime business partner. Could you imagine doing construction around this iconic park with visitors wandering into construction areas, with oversight by state departments and the great pressure of not messing up such a beautiful place? I can’t. You should read the story.