The business world is one that is filled with communication, and this has always been true. Excellent communication skills are what can make or break a person’s ability to make a sale, get hired, or even show their intelligence to someone who is looking to promote them to a manager level.
To be a great communicator takes more than just a good speaking ability; you have to write well, too. After all, what you write about your company will change the way that people see your business. Attorneys know this best, since their writing can help clients avoid lawsuits, win cases, and even help them find new clients for their services.
Writing for business is tricky. You want to walk the fines line between authoritative, commercial and still human. It’s difficult, but always doable. If you’re new to the art, these tips will help you get the most out of your commercial writing.
- Keep technical to a minimum—but keep your writing detailed. One of the most difficult things for many businesspeople to grasp is the fact that technical words don’t impress most clients. Sounding technical may be good if you’re writing tech papers or white papers, but if you’re writing advertising copy or trying to write for your site, keeping things short, sweet, and simple is key.
- Make sure you say what you mean. Imagine going to a store that claims to be a “dollar store,” only to have everything cost upwards of a dollar. You would probably feel angry about it, right? That’s why it’s crucial to be honest in your writing, and to ensure that you say what you really want to say as part of your copy.
“The devil’s really in the details,” says David Schwartz, a New York City attorney. “Even if you’re not a lawyer, it’s crucial not to get your message mixed up.”
- Even if you’re a writing master, have someone else look at it. It’s very tempting to try to ignore the need for an editor in hopes of saving money, but don’t do it. Even the best writers can make a mistake, and it only takes a single typo to make a bad impression.
- Avoid negativity, unless what you’re selling is fear. There are certain businesses that tend to work best by getting people scared or angry. However, they are not the majority of businesses.
Most people tend to want to buy things that make them feel good about buying, or at the very least, make them feel a little bit happier about the world they’re living in. By eliminating negative speech, you will make your product more approachable.
- Remember who your audience is. Every business has a certain type of audience that they want to pursue. Some tend to go for the elite wealthy, while others may choose to pursue the less affluent. You need to match the tone of voice of your content to the people who will be reading it.
A good rule of thumb, when you’re writing to mainstream individuals, is to keep things simple and conversational.
- Use white space. White space is your friend when it comes to keeping people engages and also providing visually appealing work. The “wall of text” look often dissuades people from reading your full message.
- Remind yourself that it’s not about you. In a lot of ways, writing for business is a lot like talking to people. People do not like a braggart, and they also dislike people who constantly talk about themselves. The same can be said about businesses.
While businesses should talk about themselves, there’s a fine line between advertising the benefits of your products and talking about yourself as CEO. People who get a cult following do so after success, with a lot of specialty PR involved. Don’t try this on your own!
When in doubt, the best thing that you can do is hire a professional with years of experience in business writing. After all, if you’re a CEO who has a lot on his or her plate, the last thing you should be thinking about is your company’s writing.