Would you like to know how to write purposefully, authentically and effectively in your business? Understanding how to best communicate with your stakeholders can improve business, build credibility and foster excellent relationships. I have plucked a handful of key steps you can take to guarantee an improvement in your writing skills.
Identify a purpose
What is the purpose of your content? Is it internal or external communications? Is it marketing or informative? There is no point spending hours and resources creating content if you don’t know why you are creating it. There are many reasons you might choose to create content, and taking the time to nut out exactly why you want this content will be invaluable to you. It will save time in the long run and will help inform where you want to use the content.
Know where you want to publish your content
Deciding where you want to publish your content should absolutely affect what you produce. Is this content for the web? Is it an annual report for board members? Is it an article for print? Is it an email to a client or colleague? You should take a different approach for each platform. Know ahead of time where you want to publish your content and use that to guide your approach.
Generally speaking, writing for business requires a professional and approachable tone. Be direct, be simple and be clear. If your business has a style guide, you can follow that guide for the right approach.
Identify your call to action
Once you know the desired outcome of your content you have identified your call to action. Make that call clear. Identify it early and always return to it. If any content that you’ve created does not support your call to action – is it necessary?
Know your style
Designing a consistent voice for your business is vital. If you haven’t already, engage a communications specialist, either internally or externally and create a style guide now. This document will help you and your colleagues create consistent, on point, on-brand content for every platform.
Remember to create a guide that includes all the platforms on which you will be conducting business including but not limited to:
- Reports (external and internal)
- Blog or online articles
- Social Media
- Overall printed style
- Overall digital style
Save your templates
If you have written a great email, or you’re particularly proud of a report you’ve produced, save it. Ensure that you design templates as part of your style guide. This will save time and guarantee a degree of consistency.
Many people do no have experience writing, yet their jobs require writing. Make it easier for them and yourself. Design templates that are easy to follow and save them.
You’ve gotta accentuate the positive
Starting a piece of content with something you can’t do just reminds people what you can’t do. Where possible always lead the focus back to what you can do. Using optimistic language engages your reader on a confident and positive level. Leading with what you can do intrinsically instills your reader with confidence in your ability to do what you need to.
Use the active voice wherever possible. It saves time. It is more direct. It gets your point across in the most efficient way. Unless you are making a specific point, there is no place for a passive voice in business writing.
Get rid of your jargon
When you’re in an industry full of jargon, it’s often difficult to simplify your language and create engaging and clear content. Read my earlier blog for tips on how you can KISS your jargon-filled copy goodbye.
Check it once then check it again.
Pay particular attention to names, titles, gender and dates. By making a mistake this simple you can almost certainly lose a degree of credibility from your reader. Check your facts and then check them again.
Make sure you haven’t made any silly and obvious spelling or grammatical errors. You can refer back to this spelling and grammar checklist for some tips. Don’t just rely on the internet to check your work. Check your content and then check it again.
Ask someone to proofread your content.
Check it one more time.
Ask for help
If you’re still unsure, ask for help. If you don’t have a communications specialist in-house, consider engaging someone like me to help you with your business content.