Few professions are as tough as business writing. Covering everything from corporate strategy to marketing and sales, you will see a lot of strategic and tactical writing across industries. But despite the difficulty, there is still a lot to learn from business writing. Here are just a few tips on how to become a better business writer!
Know Your Audience
Above all else, you need to understand who you are writing for. Start by asking yourself questions about the decision-makers behind the numbers. People have various skills, experiences, and knowledge bases that can influence their behavior. When writing for executives, you will be responsible for making them understand and act on your messages through the use of persuasive language and logical arguments.
For example, if you are a marketer and your boss asks you to present marketing strategy in a report to the board, your first draft may begin as follows:–>
- Strategy for the 2018 fiscal year
- Overall marketing objective
- Themes and approach for the next advertising campaign
- The cost associated with the new campaign
When presenting this type of content to your boss, you will want to ensure that you have taken the time to understand what she is looking for. To start with, you might add some more details about the decision-makers and the issues you are confronting. Then, you can go back and forth with your boss to ensure that the content is just right. Writing for the business entity as a whole doesn’t mean that you have to write for each and every department or functional area. For maximum effect, you should write for the decision-makers that can hire or fire you.
On the other hand, if you are writing for a specific audience such as marketing people or senior executives, you will want to tailor your writing to their specific information needs. Otherwise, the content may seem irrelevant to them. For instance, if you are writing a sales strategy marketing plan for a sales manager, you will want to include information about the target audience, the problems they face, and how your product can help solve these problems. You might begin your content with something like:–>
- Target audience: Target Audience
- Problems: The top three problems the company faces
- The solution: How your product can help solve these problems
- The results of a recent survey conducted on the company’s customers
- The forecast for 2018
This content may seem a bit dry, but it is better to be exhaustive than to leave out any details. Your readers will thank you for this detail, especially if you have used it effectively to back up a particular point you are making.
Create A Prototype
Before you start writing, you should have a clear idea of what you are aiming for. This will help you determine what information should be included and how you should present it. You can always come back and revise the content as you go along, but the key is to start with a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve.
Therefore, before you start drafting your content, create a prototype that corresponds to what you are aiming for. Start by identifying the main points you want to make and the evidence you will use to prove those points. As you develop your idea, you can add sub-points and examples to support your arguments. The prototype will also help you identify any weaknesses in your plan and what you should change before you start drafting.
Writing a marketing plan is similar to creating a business case; you must prove the objective you have set out and justify the resources required to achieve it. To create a marketing plan that will engage your readers, begin by listing the main points you will make. Then, you can add details that support your thesis. For example, you might propose a marketing campaign that will help the company grow by gaining new customers in the UK. You will then want to give some background information about the UK market. This could include demographics such as age, gender, and household income.
Continuing with the example, you might then want to cite some research that indicates people are more attracted to offers that relate to their personal circumstances. To verify this theory, you could cite a study that shows those who viewed an advertisement for financial planning services also applied for these products. Your prototype will guide your entire content-writing process because it will help you identify the types of information you need to include and present in a clear and concise manner. It will also assist you in avoiding irrelevant information and bloated paragraphs.
Organize Your Ideas
To achieve effective communication, information must be accessible. This means it needs to be easily found and easily understood. To achieve this, you should have a clear idea of how the information will be used and by whom. To keep things organized, you should then arrange your ideas in a logical order, using tables, graphs, or other visual aids where appropriate.
For example, the marketing manager for a company called A&E Supply Co. wants to create a new marketing campaign for 2018. As you can see from the example above, she has listed the problems she is facing and the objectives she wishes to achieve through the new campaign. After creating the list, she can arrange her thoughts and ideas in order to create a solid proposal for her senior management.
A&E Supply is in the business of building and maintaining power stations for hospitals, so they have a fairly specific idea of what they are looking for. However, they might not have considered the implications of their decision on existing customers. To address this, the marketing manager could include a section at the beginning of her proposal to explain how the new marketing campaign will affect existing customer relationships.
“Given XYZ Company’s size and customer base, the decision to launch a new product or campaign will have an impact on existing customers. To ensure these users continue to receive the quality of service they are used to, we propose a new product or campaign to improve customer experience as follows,” the marketing manager’s proposal could begin.
With this approach, you will want to consider what is feasible, what is desirable, and what is possible. By creating this three-way alignment, you can ensure that your proposal is as effective as possible. Creating a vision for the future and defining metrics to measure your success is a critical part of any business or marketing plan. Having a clear idea of what you are aiming for takes the stress out of the process, and helps you define key performance indicators to track your progress along the way.
Curate Keywords And Thesaurus
When writing, you will want to utilize keywords and thesaurus to find the most relevant words and concepts. This will help you improve the accessibility of your content and ensure that your readers find what they are looking for easily. To find relevant keywords and thesaurus for your content, you can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner or Thesaurus.com.
As a business writer, you will regularly come across words and phrases that you do not know the meaning of. These are called jargon terms, and they are used to describe concepts or products in a specific industry. For example, if you are writing about accounting, you will come across terms like accrual, asset, and equity.
Jargon also appears in nomenclature, and this is when you find words that have been created specifically to describe a concept or product. For example, if you are writing for the pharmaceutical industry, you will come across words such as ATC CODE, API, and BLA to describe active pharmaceutical ingredients, APIs, and biological materials.
Jargon is a form of specialised language that is used by those in a particular industry or field. As a business writer, you will need to be familiar with this terminology if you are to produce content that can be easily accessed by those in your target audience. To ensure this, you should develop a thesaurus and add relevant keywords to it. As you add more words and merge synonyms, your thesaurus will become more comprehensive and easier to use.
Use Present Tense
When writing, you should use the present tense to refer to things that happen now. For example, you should write “The marketing manager for ABC Company has decided to…” not “The marketing manager of ABC Company decided to…”. The first version is positive and implies that someone is acting at the moment. The second version is more passive and suggests that the decision was made previously and is already effective.