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Developing proficient business writing skills is crucial for effectively conveying your message and persuasively presenting your concepts.
Within this blog, you will gain insights into various forms of corporate writing and discover how to employ them skilfully to captivate your readership. Additionally, you will receive a complimentary 22-point checklist to verify the quality of your content before its publication.
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What Is Business Writing All About?
Business writing serves as a purposeful and effective means of conveying information to a professional audience. Its goal is to provide clear and concise messaging regarding business ideas and concepts.
This type of writing encompasses various formats, including:
To achieve effectiveness, successful business writing revolves around two key aspects:
In essence, business writing hones in on essential information and delivers it with precision and conciseness. Ensuring readers are well-informed and equipped with clear guidance, facilitates a decisive understanding of the next steps to be taken.
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Business writing encompasses four main types: Instructional, Informational, Persuasive and Transactional. The choice of which type to use depends on how you want to engage your audience and achieve your communication goals.
Let’s explore each type in detail:
Instructional Business Writing: Instructional writing aims to educate and guide the reader on how to perform a specific task or use a product effectively. It provides clear, step-by-step instructions in a neutral and knowledgeable tone.
For instance, Shopify’s guide on setting up an ecommerce website offers detailed instructions on adding the first product. It considers the audience’s expertise level, breaks down instructions into simple steps and even includes a video tutorial for visual learners.
Informational Business Writing: Informational writing provides valuable and relevant information to the reader. It may include industry reports, market analysis, research findings or informative articles.
The goal is to convey information clearly and concisely, enabling readers to gain insights and make informed decisions. For example, a white paper discussing the benefits of implementing a specific business strategy serves as informational business writing.
Persuasive Business Writing: Persuasive writing aims to convince and influence the reader’s thoughts, actions or opinions. It employs persuasive techniques and compelling arguments to support a specific point of view or to encourage the reader to take a desired action.
This type of writing is commonly used in sales pitches, marketing materials, proposals and persuasive essays. Its purpose is to engage the reader emotionally and intellectually, motivating them to align with the writer’s perspective.
Transactional Business Writing: Transactional writing involves the exchange of information between parties to initiate or complete a business transaction. It includes emails, memos, business letters, contracts and invoices.
Transactional writing should be concise, clear, and professional, focusing on the specific details and actions required to move the business process forward. Accuracy, clarity and professionalism are paramount in this type of writing.
By understanding the different types of business writing, you can effectively engage your audience based on your specific communication goals.
Whether you need to educate, inform, persuade or facilitate transactions, choosing the appropriate writing style will enhance your communication effectiveness and achieve the desired outcomes.
To improve your business writing and ensure it meets the required standards of clarity, effectiveness and impact, consider incorporating the following suggestions:
Determine Your Message: Before you begin crafting your content, it’s crucial to establish the purpose behind your writing. Developing a clear understanding of your thoughts beforehand can help you avoid unnecessary tangents, maintain a solid structure, and prevent repetitive content. By knowing what you want to convey right from the start, you can stay focused and effectively deliver your message.
What To Do?
Think about the following: What is the primary objective of my communication? What do I want my audience to learn or take away from their reading experience? Try to succinctly summarise the purpose in one or two sentences. If you find it challenging to clarify your goal swiftly, take a step back. Allow yourself some time for contemplation before moving forward. The result will be more impactful.
Establish Clarity of Purpose from the Beginning: Once you have determined the purpose behind your writing, ensure it is communicated right from the start. Let your readers know what they can expect to gain from your content and then deliver on that promise.
By doing so, you help your audience understand the relevance and significance of what they are about to read. It prevents them from wasting their time on content that may not apply to their needs or interests.
What To Do?
After completing your initial draft, revisit the opening paragraph. Does it effectively define the purpose? If the “what” and “why” are not crystal clear, revise your introduction to provide readers with the necessary context. This way, they can determine whether to continue reading or not.
Write In Active Voice: Utilise active voice for clear communication. In the realm of writing, there exist two grammatical voices: active voice and passive voice. Unless there is a specific reason to employ passive voice, it is advisable to adhere to active voice.
What To Do?
Active voice conveys the actions performed by a person or entity. It is direct, confident, and promotes readability. Avoid writing in the passive voice as I have the potential to make sentences lengthy and monotonous. Ensure that the reader can easily identify the doer of the action. Establish an active connection between the subject and the verb.
No Use of Jargon: Jargon refers to specific words or phrases that are commonly used within a particular industry or group but may be unfamiliar to those outside of it. To improve your business writing skills, make sure you do not use such specialised language as it can pose difficulties for individuals who are not already well-versed in the subject.
However, Jargon is prevalent in the business realm as it facilitates communication among colleagues who share a common knowledge base. Consequently, it is easy for jargon to find its way into your writing.
What To Do?
To assist in identifying complex terms in your content, consider utilising tools. Keep in mind that the language used should align with the intended audience’s understanding. Your writing should be tailored to your specific audience. When in doubt about whether a word or phrase might cause confusion, opt for the simplest and most widely comprehensible version.
Keep The Content Simple: When engaging in business writing, adopting a “less is more” approach is often the most effective strategy. The essence of good business writing lies in delivering your message with clarity. This entails eliminating anything that does not contribute to your message. In other words, avoid the use of 50 words when just 10 will suffice.
What To Do?
Using simple words and constructing concise sentences allows us to quickly process information and fosters a more positive reception. By simply removing the word “then” from the sentence, its impact becomes stronger.
Practice refining your content by including only the essential words necessary to convey your message. This will result in more impactful writing.
Include Storytelling: Incorporating storytelling into your business writing can significantly enhance its impact. Because our brains are wired to respond to stories. Utilise storytelling to create an emotional connection that resonates with your audience and reinforces your message.
What To Do?
To incorporate storytelling into your business writing, construct a hero’s journey. This storytelling framework captivates readers by introducing a relatable situation and problem. It then guides them through the solution (e.g., your product or service) and illustrates how it improves their lives.
To document this journey, address the following questions:
By embracing storytelling in your business writing, you can create a compelling narrative that engages your audience on both emotional and intellectual levels.
Incorporate Visual Elements: To capture and maintain readers’ attention, it’s crucial to make your business writing easily scannable and visually engaging. Readers often make quick decisions about where to invest their time, so it’s important to convey the value of your content efficiently. Follow these guidelines to make your business writing visually appealing and reader-friendly:
What To Do?
Keep paragraphs concise, limiting them to three sentences. While occasional one-sentence paragraphs can be effective, use them sparingly to maintain the flow of your text. Strive for a balance between long and short sentences.
When presenting lists of three or more items, such as statistics, facts or examples, use bullet points. Select a font that is easy to read and accessible for all readers and break up your content into sections using headings and subheadings.
Add A Clear CTA: To guide readers and prompt them to take specific actions, it’s essential to include a call to action (CTA) in your writing. The CTA informs readers of the desired next steps and encourages them to follow through on your instructions.
What To Do?
Ensure the effectiveness of your CTAs by limiting them to one or two per message. Moreover, it’s important to make each CTA specific and actionable, avoiding vague or abstract language. Provide explicit directions to increase the likelihood of your instructions being followed correctly.
Thorough Editing and Proofreading: All business writing articles must be thoroughly reviewed and edited before they are published. Even seemingly minor typos and grammatical errors can have a significant impact on people’s perceptions.
A study conducted by the customer service platform Tidio revealed the following insights:
What To Do?
Take a break from your writing for 24 to 48 hours and then read your work aloud: Ask yourself whether the writing reflects your personal/business style, maintains a consistent tone, and features clear sentences. Utilise built-in spell-checkers in tools to identify simple mistakes. Seek another person’s proofreading assistance.
If you are publishing writing intended for a significant audience, following these simple tips can help you ensures that your best work is presented.
While implementing the tips can significantly improve your business writing, having access to helpful tools and courses can provide an additional boost to your skills. Consider utilizing the following resources to take your work to the next level:
Business Writing Tools
Business Writing Courses
By utilising these tools and enrolling in relevant courses, you can further refine your business writing skills and produce professional-quality content.
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Effective communication in business relies on clear, concise and purposeful writing that is easily understandable and actionable. To ensure your message resonates with your audience, adopt their perspective and consider what they need to learn or achieve from your business writing skills.