We've all heard the phrase, "The pen is mightier than the sword." In the world of marketing, this...
5 Ways to be a More Effective Business Writer
In the business sector, writing is unavoidable. We write all day, every day. Whether it be marketing proposals, press releases, blog posts or something as simple as an email, there is always something that needs to be written.
For some people, writing is second nature. It’s simple. It’s easy.
If you excelled in English courses throughout your life, you probably enjoy the task of writing. But for others, writing—and especially business or technical writing—can be a true nightmare. If you dislike writing, it can be challenging to articulate your ideas in a clear, factual manner that doesn’t come off in a disinterested or flowery way.
Our writers at The Impact Group have tested many tried and true methods of writing in an effort to impress and excite our clients. Here are our five top tips from to improve your business writing:
Know Your Purpose/Audience
Before you even begin writing, you need to know a few things about the content you plan to create. First and foremost, know your intended audience of the piece.
- Does your audience have a specialized knowledge/profession, or is the content meant for the general public?
- What is the age range of your audience?
- Is the content meant to read as an internal memo for your colleagues or a press release for consumers?
Once you understand your audience and their buyer personas, you should evaluate your purpose. What are you hoping to achieve? How do you want your audience to respond?
Understanding who you are writing to and why you are writing is key to establishing the tone and content of your piece. For example, if you are writing for medical professionals, you can use technical language; if you are writing to a wider, general audience, you should use simpler language.
Use Details and Check Your Accuracy
The more specific your writing, the better. If you are writing about an event, it is important to include particular details, like the time, place and date. Call on the “Five W’s” of journalism:Who, What, Where, When and Why.
If you are writing about people, make sure you are using correct names and titles. If you are using statistics, make sure they are accurate and cite your sources.
Adding details will make your writing more relevant to your audience. The last thing you want is to publish is irrelevant “fluff” that wastes your reader’s time.
While adding details to your writing is effective, adding incorrect or inaccurate details can completely destroy the credibility of both your writing and your business. Check and double-check all factual information before you publish content.
Producing a thorough and well-developed product will be more time consuming, but it will save you from any potential embarrassment later.
Use Active Voice
Using active, rather than passive, voice will make your writing much more succinct. Active voice leads to content that is more pointed and concise, avoiding unnecessary words that don’t add anything to your writing.
For example, the sentence: “The man baked the bread.” is much clearer than the sentence “The bread was baked by the man.” By making the subject act upon the verb, rather than the other way around, you can make your writing flow in a more energized way.
Even the most experienced writers struggle to maintain an active voice. To practice using the active voice, visit Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab for additional examples and strategies.
Perhaps the most common mistake writers make when they begin a career involving writing is using unnecessary, flowery language. In a professional setting, business writing does not have to consist of beautifully written prose. In fact, it shouldn’t be prosaic whatsoever.
People with busy schedules in the age of shortened attention spans don’t have time for wordiness. Readers like to gather information as quickly as possible; they don’t want to be bogged down by “fluff.”
Don’t digress from your point, and strive to eliminate redundancy. To be a truly effective writer, you need to learn how to balance brevity with precision. Content should be long enough that it conveys the message and details, but not so long that the reader clicks off the piece before finishing it.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
If you take away one thing from this post, it should be this: you must proofread everything you write before sending it to anyone else.
Once you’ve proofread your writing, give it to someone else to proofread.
It is often hard to see our own mistakes. In fact, research by the University of Sheffield has shown that our brains are scientifically unable to catch many of our typos.
“We don’t catch every detail; we’re not like computers or NSA databases,” said psychology professor Tom Stafford. “Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.”
A pair of fresh eyes will catch mistakes that we are incapable of seeing. Don’t let a stray key stroke or typo ruin your company’s reputation.
Whether you like it or not, writing in the business sector is unavoidable. If you follow these steps and stay focused on your process, you will be able to improve your business writing—and maybe you’ll even enjoy it!
At The Impact Group, we specialize in drafting comprehensive and flawless content for our diverse clients. Whether you need a press release for your school district, a slogan for your campaign or an e-blast for your new product, we understand that writing isn’t everyone’s favorite part of their job. Fortunately, it’s ours. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you!