Little Book of Confusables

10 bitesized tips for better business writing

Want to write clever copy and compelling content that gets your business noticed for all the right reasons?

Here are 10 bitesized tips to boost your business writing brilliance.

1  Get noticed

Attract attention by summarising the key points of your message upfront.

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.

2  Keep it short

Your reader is overloaded with information – and 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.

3  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.

4  Know your audience

It helps to have a good understanding of who you’re writing for, so get clear on your target client and their needs.

Think of your writing as a conversation with one individual – not a group of people – to create a connection with your reader.

5  Be more human

Business writing doesn’t need to be formal or stuffy. Remember: you’re a person communicating with another person.

Switch robotic business speak and jargon for human language – real words, real people really use.


Focus your writing on the outcome for 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).

7  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 an event.

8  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.

Ask a colleague to read it over, or hire a professional proofreader. A fresh pair of eyes will spot things you’ve missed.

Never rely on your spellchecker as a substitute for proofreading.

9  Say it loud

Using your computer’s read-aloud feature will help you spot mistakes and repetition far more easily than reading on screen, or a printout.

I don’t know why this works – I just know it does.

Try it!

10  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 with fresh eyes.

That’s it! 10 bitesized tips to boost your business writing brilliance.

Which is your favourite?

The Little Book of Confusables by Sarah Townsend

No more confusing words!

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