Writing for Business - It does not need to be that hard
Sitting down to write a sales letter or a web update can seem too big a job - especially when you’ve got clients in your ear. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Here are a few tips to make it easier to get started and, most importantly, to finish with something useful.
1. Start with a brief.
Before you put pen to paper (or finger to keys) write yourself a brief. Clarifying things first will make the actual writing part much faster. Jot down the answers to these questions: who am I writing this for? What is the one, most important thing that this needs to say? What are the other points or pieces of information I need to include?
2. Say it straight, then say it great.
It’s easy to let yourself get side tracked by the funny or interesting bits.
A great technique for making sure your point is absolutely clear is to start your writing like you’re an eight-year-old: “this article is about making writing for business easier. ” Of course you’ll eventually amend it to sound more professional, or wittier, or whatever, but in the meantime you’ve set your piece on the right track.
3. Always finish with a call to action.
If you’re writing for business, you ultimately want the reader to do something: call you, go to your website, or buy something. What ever you want them to do, make sure you spell it out for them in a single, urgent sentence: a ‘call to action’. It must also remind people why they should do as you ask: “Call me now to learn more about making writing easier”.
Your first draft is the easy bit. Going back over your own work will make it great. Challenge each sentence against your brief: does this need to be in there? Is this adding something important? Will my reader care about that? You’ll find you can shorten your writing by as much as a third.
Three top tips:
- If there’s a simpler, more common word, use it. No point making your writing sound smart if people can’t be bothered reading it.
- Edit a lot – go through your text over and over.
- Read everything aloud. If a sentence is hard to say, it will be even harder to read.
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