Not all business writing requires the help of a professional writer. Being one, that’s tough to say. But it’s the truth.
Some business communication is quite simple — an email to a vendor or colleague, a memo to your employees, a quick social media update (as opposed to a broader campaign). And sometimes you need to get something out before you could find, hire, and work with a professional writer (we can be a busy lot).
Today’s tips are for those times — when you want to tackle a small business writing project yourself, but you’re still not a confident writer. Here are three easy ways you can make sure your own business writing won’t miss the mark:
1. Write with purpose.
If you’re going to write to someone — an employee, a customer, a vendor, a partner, a distributor, etc. — know why you’re writing. Save the long screeds about how great your company is for your next company-wide meeting (no, don’t really do that). And save the rambling letters for your lover.
In business writing, there should always be a purpose. And that involves action. For example, you might want to:
- Inform someone of something important (like letting employees know about changes to a launch event so they’re prepared with up-to-date information if they’re asked about it).
- Get someone to agree to a meeting or call time.
- Ask a question if you need someone’s help.
- Solve a problem if someone requested your help.
Make it clear what you want or expect the reader to do.
2. Keep it short.
You’re a business owner or manager, so your time is valuable, right? So is your recipient’s.
Look. Not all business writing is best in short-form — sales letters, landing pages, and white papers can all be good examples of long-form copy. But you’re probably not going to tackle those kinds of business writing projects on your own unless you’re already confident in your writing ability.
For most projects you’ll take the DIY approach with, keep your copy short. Don’t make anything more complicated than it needs to be. Your clients, partners, and employees will thank you for getting to the point quickly.
Want a meeting? Don’t initiate a long back-and-forth by asking when is good for them. State a date and time that are good for you and simply seek confirmation. If it’s a problem for them, they’ll let you know.
Want to let your customers know about your upcoming product? Don’t try to draft a long update for your favorite social network. Keep it short. Share a photo. Entice them to click a link to get more info on your own website. Leave the longer updates to your social media team or copywriter.
3. Make it (a little) personal.
By “personal” I don’t mean write in an overly-casual way. What I mean is personalization — writing to someone and not at an audience.
Whether your business writing is intended for one person or a group, every reader should feel like your words are speaking to them. If it sounds like you’re on a box with a megaphone shouting at people, that’s not going to work very often. Your readers are people, just like you. Treat them as such.
This might seem like a simple thing, but it makes a big difference in getting people to like you, trust you, and act on what you say (including buying what you’re trying to sell them).
I hope these tips help you improve your next DIY business writing project. If you still feel overwhelmed or have a bigger project you’d rather not tackle yourself, it might be time to bring in a pro. Feel free to contact me and send me details, and I’ll let you know how I can help.