Welcome back to the eighteenth episode of The Logophile’s Lounge (#TLL)… Your one-stop source for all content and digital marketing particulars.
Moving ahead in this journey, we now take this opportunity to introduce you to the concepts of Business Writing and how to master business writing skills.
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Here’s a video for you to quickly go through Business Writing and how to master business writing skills
For a deep understanding of business writing, keep reading.
What is business writing
Business is all about making things happen and getting things done, so when you write to make things happen and get things done you engage in business communication. It is one of the most exciting writing applications.
Whenever you are writing to generate a response to any business, you are involved in the process of business writing. It is entirely purposeful and aims to provide relevant information to the reader who either wants to do something or learn something. The key characteristics of business writing are clear and concise, accurate, and easy to examine.
Business writing is simply a professional communication that follows specific standards, is concise, direct, and organized.
Following are some of the forms that business writings may take:
- Case studies
- Executive summary
- Business Plan
- Business Reports
- Press Release
- Blogs & Articles
- SEO writing
- Company Profile
- Business Proposals
Let’s quickly go through each form of business writing
Memo or Memorandum is a document type that facilitates communication within an organization. It is a short message of at most one page and may be used for informal reports.
- Case Studies:
It is marketing collateral that showcases how your customers overcame a particular problem using your products or services. It is an example of selling through storytelling. It is an example of selling through storytelling.
- Executive Summary:
An executive summary is a write-up that summarizes a business plan and communicates key findings from the research and offers a course of action.
- Business Plan:
A business plan is a roadmap/blueprint that aims to direct a business towards its goal. The idea is to assist a business figure out how it is going to achieve the set milestones.
It is a concept paper that describes a particular concept (usually a new tech innovation) and how businesses can use it to solve a problem or improve efficiency.
- Business Reports:
These documents are communication tools that are used to retain as well as share decisions and information.
The primary purpose of an email is to communicate with stakeholders, that is the employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, etc.
- Business Proposals:
These are a sales pitch that aims at selling products or services of a business. This is just like a sales page for a potential customer who expresses interest in the product.
- Press Release:
A piece of official news or announcement by the company.
- Blogs & Articles:
This is a piece of content written to address a particular concern of the target audience. Businesses publish blogs and articles on their official website so that they can address a particular concern of their target audience and attract more visitors to their website.
- SEO Writing:
It is a write-up that aims to optimize online content so that it appears on the first page of Google for relevant keywords.
- Company Profile:
Just as the name suggests, it is a document that explains the details of a company and what are its objectives. The document is available to everyone and hence while writing it one must avoid giving out confidential information.
- Business Reports:
It is an account of what has happened in the past year in business.
Every business write-up starts with an outline.
- Establishment of objectives:
Any business writing has an ultimate goal that needs to be established in the beginning.
- Understanding the target audiences:
Just like every business has a specific target audience, similarly, when involved in the activity of business writing, it is important to understand the customer and then develop a write-up that meets the requirements.
When you write simply to express and not just to impress, you are drafting a business writing. One of the most famous quotes on writing is by Blaise Pascal. He wrote, “I apologize for the length of this letter. I did not have time to make it shorter.”
Writing long sentences comes naturally but writing short and crisp sentences requires skills. Concision is one major challenge that writers face in business writing. It is important to acknowledge that the longer the write-up, the less important it will be given.
Best way to learn Business Writing
Practice the following to hone your business writing skills
- Write direct sentences-
Use the minimum number of words to convey a message.
- Use strong verbs-
Make your content action-oriented.
- Minimize the usage of adjectives.
- Start with the key message
- Respect readers’ time and add value to the reader through your content.
The end goal of a business write-up is transactional. It is important to note that business writing contents are directly related to a specific business organization. However, oftentimes it is found that a business write-up is clearly a steadfast transaction between the readers and writers. As per Brant W. Knapp, the author of ‘A Project Manager’s Guide to Passing the Project Management Exam’ the best practice of business writing can be better understood while reading it out loud. The idea is to help you create a well-planned, clear, concise and simple piece.
Certain writing goals
- Convey Information:
In an organization, thousands of information move around to keep everyone updated on the projects and work. For the dissemination of such information, research reports, memos, and emails are written.
- Deliver News:
Organizations frequently involve in the activity of sharing business performance to its audience. They also publicize recent events and achievements to its external environment which help them stay connected with its customers. This, in turn, increases customer engagement.
- Call to Action:
Any business’s goal is to generate revenue and bring in more profit. To achieve this purpose, business professionals write emails, reports, etc. The write-up attempt to influence readers on building positive perception for the offered merchandise/service.
- Explain or Justify an Action:
Miscommunication is part and parcel of any organization. To ensure the smooth flow of information and at times to justify certain decisions, management is involved in the business writing action.
Business writing knowledge comes handy to everyone in the organizational hierarchy. Here are some tips that will help you build a foundation for business writing.
- State directly your purpose of writing:
In an organizational structure, it is appreciated when you state the purpose of writing upfront to the correspondent. However, try to ignore being extremely direct while writing sales letters. One widely accepted way to start a business write-up is by briefing the recipient about the last meeting, or the last conversation that aims in the direction of current writing.
- Use common words:
You are advised to use common everyday words such as ‘about’ instead of ‘concerning’, ‘expect’ in place of ‘anticipate’, ‘piece’ for ‘component’, etc. Using hi-fi words in business writing is not accepted.
- Know the Audience:
Every business writing has a goal and a specific set of recipients. It is of utmost importance to understand how to approach your audience and better deliver the content. In case of writing a piece for industry-specific people, avoid using too many technical jargons that people may not be familiar with. However, if it is important to add technical jargon, explain a bit about it in a line or two. Also, avoid writing anything that may raise questions on authority. Omit the use of derogatory words and try to remain neutral through a business writing activity.
- Active over Passive:
It is advisable to write active sentences as many times as possible and avoid passive voice. Active verbs help readers perceive, understand, and comprehend the content better than passive verbs.
- Mould rules, if required:
Even though it is advised to stick to rules, oftentimes exceptions are made to achieve the desired result. As already stated how important it is to understand your audience, so if you believe certain twist and turns in write-up will help you get better results, go for it. It is okay to end a few sentences with prepositions if it adds flow and consistency to the entire write-up. Every business, in years, develops its unique in-house guides for writing, this should be kept in check.
- Simple Font choices are entertained:
Arial, 11, 1.5 spacing or Times New Roman, 12, 1.5 spacing are standard font choices for business writing. These font choices are easy to read and do not strain the eyes.
- Add Visuals:
Visuals speak volumes. You must add infographics or any other visual that explains your content better. However, keep it below 25% of the entire content as too many visuals can create confusion. One or two visuals that clearly explain the motto leaves a better impression.
Top institutes where you can learn business writing
Education and Career Times (ECT):Recognized by the Government of India, ECT is the only training institute that offers a Content Writing Course, offline and online, including Business Writing. This 13-week course aims at introducing students with best writing practices. At ECT, one gets 40 hours of classroom/live training, 8 assignments, and 4 live projects from international clients. Whether a fresher or a working professional, whether you are starting from scratch or scaling up your knowledge, ECT helps you excel at writing and smartly handle all types of projects. Certification included.
City, University of London:The university offers a course ‘Writing for Business’. It includes 10 weekly classes and aims to provide students with the ability to write confidently, clearly, and consistently. High quality is required at various levels and students here learn how to tailor writing styles for a wide range of audiences. The course includes how to write marketing texts, conduct interviews, edit documents, write speeches, write online, press releases, mission statements, etc.