Succeeding at Business Writing
Following are my top nine tips for business writing. I’m admittedly a bit set in my ways after 30 years of this, but perhaps you can glean a few nuggets that may inspire your B2B marketing efforts. To learn more, visit us here for a free download of our guide to the best writing practices.
Tip 1: Know your audience
The best advice I can give with regard to business writing is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Think of what they need, not what you want to convey.
Tip 2: The English language is vast – use it!
There are over 150,000 words in common use in the English language. But to read most white papers and blogs out there, you would think there are only about 1000 words in existence. Take advantage of the variety of the English language to help you communicate useful information.
Tip 3: Inform, don’t sell
Because this is the crux of content marketing, this may be obvious. However, I see a lot of overt marketing, promotion, and selling in what I read. It is absolutely proven that providing useful content to your audience (rather than trying to sell them) helps them trust and admire you, and ultimately, buy your stuff.
Tip 4: Get organized
Writing is a creative process, yes, but it also requires some organizational skills. You have two sides of your brain, so use both of them. Organize your document in a way that a reader can easily follow. Write linearly; don’t write in a circle. Find out more about document organization here.
Tip 5: Incorporate metaphors and examples
People better comprehend complex concepts when they can latch onto an easy-to-understand metaphor or example. Use this approach shamelessly – it works.
Tip 6: Use interesting visuals
Words are crucial, but many of us are visually stimulated. For this reason, be sure to include interesting, yet useful visuals. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Tip 7: Be clear and concise
Tip 8: Be accurate
Check your facts. One factual error in your piece can bring into question your entire premise.
Tip 9: Be original
People want to read original material, not regurgitated blather. But when you use third-party information to support your story, be sure to abide by acceptable use and referencing practices.
What do you think of my top nine list? What’s number ten? I welcome your comments.
For the last 30 years, Hoffman Marketing Communications has created white papers, collateral, and more recently multimedia, on complex business issues and technologies. Get your free copy of our Mother of all White Papers to learn the ten best practices for creating effective white papers.