25th May 2018 Claire Hawes

Common business writing fails and how to fix them

There’s a reason people are not acting on your business information and reports. And it might not be what you think…

What if you could get readers to hear you and be interested in what you say in your business writing?

Think about this for a moment. Every day you’re tasked with writing some form of business communication. Be it a report, instructional document or transactional email.

It’s the words you choose that determine whether your message is heard, understood and acted on.

With compelling business writing you can:

  • Convey professionalism
  • Inspire confidence
  • Establish your credibility

There’s no doubt about it.

But all too often, business writers make these common mistakes. They:

  • Bury ideas under a brain dump
  • Try too hard with overcomplicated words and jargon
  • Do not give the reader a clear sense of direction, so they’re left thinking: ‘I’ll ignore this for now, as you’ve not told me what I need to do with this information.”

Unfortunately for the writer, one thing’s for sure, tedious, repetitious and aimless writing causes confusion and delays.

To make matters worse, it leaves a poor impression of your business.

So what’s the answer to writing business communications that get people interested in what you have to say and compel people to read and take action?

The answer might surprise you.

No matter how complex the topic, all you need to do is give your copy a thorough edit.

Strip out unnecessary words and use a structure that helps readers find the essential points.

If you write in plain English, and present information in a clear and concise way, you’ll see immediate improvements in your writing.

For example:

Informational business writing such as reports and meeting minutes

Don’t use two words when one will do. For example:

‘It takes time to write.’
‘Writing takes time.’

Also, try to use language you would use when you speak. For example, replace a word such as ‘purchase’ with the word ‘buy’.

Make sure your information is easy to grasp and gives readers the information they need to make a decision.

Instructional business writing such as user manuals

First off, make your copy engaging and easy to comprehend by writing in an active voice. For example,

Passive voice: Your account needs to be secured with a password
Active voice: Secure your account with a password

Then break down steps and guide readers with easy to follow instructions.

Persuasive writing for business proposals and sales and marketing

Avoid hyperbole such as ‘We are the leading provider of ’ and replace it with reliable facts and testimonials. Furthermore, appeal to your reader’s emotions and answer the question ‘what’s in it for me?”

That’s all there is to it.

To sum up

To get readers interested in what you say in your business writing, get to the point quickly and make sure your words are easy to read and understand.

Better still, write from your reader’s perspective and have an end goal in mind.

It’s all in your edit.

And finally

If you would like help with copy editing, then drop me a line to get information about pricing.

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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