10 bitesized tips for better business writing
Check out my top ten quick and dirty writing tips, for clever copy and compelling content that gets your business noticed for all the right reasons.
Attract attention by summarising the key points of your message up front. You can do this using a benefit-led headline, or an introductory paragraph that summarises the who, what, when, where, why and how of your message.
Keep it short
These days we’re all overloaded with information. Your writing needs to cut through the communication chatter. Keep it brief. Use short, punchy sentences and paragraphs, and avoid filler words that add nothing.
Keep it simple
Communicate your message clearly using simple language and plain English. Avoid business speak, buzzwords and jargon. See my plain English cheat sheet.
Know your audience
It helps to have a good understanding of who you’re writing for. Once you know your reader, thinking of your writing as a conversation with your audience will help you get the tone right.
Be professional, not formal
Business writing doesn’t need to be formal or stuffy. Aim for a professional and informative tone to keep your audience engaged and interested.
Focus your writing on the benefits to your audience – the “what’s in it for me?”. Engage your readers by talking about benefits, not features (remember, Canon don’t sell cameras, they sell memories).
Include a call to action
Your communication should aim to inform, entertain or inspire action. Be clear about your goal: what action do you want your reader to take as a result? This could be signing up for email updates, buying a new product or attending a meeting.
Check, check and check again
Don’t undo your good work by spelling your boss’s name wrong, or including the wrong date for your event. Check your language, spelling and punctuation. Get a colleague to read it, or hire a professional proofreader – a fresh pair of eyes will spot things you’ve overlooked. And never rely on your spellchecker as a substitute for proofreading.
Say it loud
When I finish any copywriting job there’s one thing I do, without fail, before sending my work to the client – I read it out loud. Reading aloud makes it easier to identify repetition and inconsistency than reading on screen or in your head. I don’t know why this works, I just know it does. Try it!
Sleep on it
If you have time in your schedule, review what you’ve written the following morning. You’ll be surprised what you’ll spot when you reread your document after some time away.