Writing impacts your business on a daily basis whether you realize it or not. Effective copywriting makes your ads successful. Strong PR writing is what convinces members of the media to pick up your news story from your press release. Your web copy convinces visitors to become customers.
Think about it for a minute. Business writing is involved in many aspects of your business, such as:
- investor reports;
- sales letters;
- help desk content;
- product descriptions;
- your company blog;
- email communication with customers;
- video scripts;
- internal memos;
- and so much more.
There’s no question about it. Business writing is vital to your company’s success. So today I’d like to share five tips for better business writing, whether you choose to hire a pro or do it yourself.
1.Use templates and style guides.
When it comes to business writing, consistency is important.
Your writing style and formatting shouldn’t change drastically on different pages of your website.
For example, if you tend to publish serious B2B white papers and reports targeting high-level executives, more light-hearted pieces on your company blog might not cut it with that same audience. Consider creating a company style guide your staff and freelance writers can follow.
If you know you’ll create the same types of documents repeatedly — white papers, press releases, newsletters, etc. — consider creating templates to help you keep things consistent from one project to the next.
2. Avoid jargon.
Using industry jargon and buzzwords doesn’t make you look smart. It doesn’t make you look “in the know.”
If anything, jargon can frustrate your readers. Write in a way that your readers will understand and relate to. And don’t try to use fancy terms or complicated language that speak down to them.
3. Proofread thoroughly.
After you’ve written any kind of business document, read it. Then read it again. Then read it aloud. Take some time away from it, come back later, and read it with fresh eyes. Then have someone else read it.
Unless you’re working with a dedicated business writer or proofreader, finding errors falls on you. Errors in your copy can be costly, whether they result in a financial hit because you advertised the wrong price for something or in a hit to your reputation because of sloppy work.
4. Know your audience.
Not everything you write is meant for the same audience. Sometimes your business writing will communicate with customers. At other times it might focus on prospects, colleagues, board members, employees, or members of the community.
Always know who your writing is meant to reach and what they expect from it. Formal language might be fine with members of your board for example. But it might be completely inappropriate for your customers.
5. Focus on them, not you.
It’s not enough to know who your audience is when you jump into a business writing project. You have to remember to keep the focus on them. It’s not about you. It’s about what you can do for them.
For example, take a look at my homepage on this site. You’ll notice I don’t use words like “me” or “I” or “my” often. The bulk of the marketing copy on that page is about them — or in this case you.
Do you have business writing questions that go beyond these tips? Leave a comment below and I might answer it for you in a future blog post. Not sure you want to take on all of your company’s business writing on your own? Contact me with your project details and let’s see how I can help.