Good communication is the life blood of business. Whether you’re planning your business or launching it, managing it or growing it, effective oral, nonverbal or written communication skills are essential to building trust and brand awareness with consumers, vendors and partners. But if you really want to outperform your competitors, add some pizazz to your business writing.
Communication in today’s business world is less about face-to-face communication and more often occurs through the written word. Businesses today build credibility, brand awareness, and reputational capital through instant messages, emails, websites, newsletters, bulletins, news releases, online advertisements, and social media blogs and articles, in addition to the more traditional business plan, business proposal, contracts, and brochures and flyers.
This means that written communication is fast becoming the most important and the most effective of any mode of business communication. And too much of it is meh. It feels like anyone could have written it. So what can you do to better connect with your target audience and make your voice heard? Add spark to your business writing so it’s not boring. Be creative!
The Business of Creativity
Digital communication makes it easier to communicate, but it also requires creative writing skills. You may be thinking: but isn’t business writing something serious and creative writing something just for fun? Not anymore! People much prefer learning about your product or service by reading something that sparks their imagination and enjoyment than a boring corporate pitch.
Writing for business not only has to relay matter-of-fact information and state benefits in a clear, concise and convincing manner. It also has to be enticing and compel the reader to want more, to say yes, to make a purchase, or to approve a loan or invest. Although it still aims to be minimalist, effective business writing can no longer “make it” by being one-dimensional and super formal in its wording (although always correct grammatically).
If you want to connect with your audience and make your voice heard, you have to be more creative. Business writing today is about establishing a two-way relationship between you and your audience. The goal is not just to relay information and state facts. It’s about taking the reader on a journey.
How to Make Business Writing More Creative
Creativity is not for a chosen few. So here are some tips to get your creative juices started:
- When putting words to paper, keep in mind the reader’s thoughts and emotions in relation to the message you want to give them.
- Embrace your reader. Don’t keep him/her at arms-length with facts. Avoid generic words and use details that will help the reader visualize your words. For example: “I enjoy long hikes with my dog on weekends” could have more pizazz if rewritten as: “Every Saturday morning I set out on a new hiking adventure with my tireless Labrador, Jazz”.
- Draw in your reader by choosing words that are familiar and descriptive. For example: “We provide small business development training and coaching” could have more pizazz if rewritten as: “Our workshops help you grow your full business potential.”
- Use metaphors to add muscle to your content by connecting two unrelated topics. For example: Planning your business is like preparing for a hiking trip. First, you define your trip style (solo, in partnership or as a joint venture?) and your itinerary; you assess your (financial and business savviness) fitness level, create a plan to ensure you are fit for your chosen trip and train for it. Then you determine what travel-smart gear, gadgets and equipment you need to ensure the trip doesn’t wear you out or kill you. Finally, make sure your business fits comfortably in your life and is designed with enough room for personal first aid and emergency gear for unexpected circumstances”.
- Add personality to your writing by using words that are slightly more unusual or that are emotional or sensory. Using a Thesaurus is allowed!
- Create an enriching experience. Even if it’s just 50 words, elicit emotions, feelings and thoughts. Think of your audience as the protagonist of a story you’re writing. What does the protagonist want? What significant action/s has your protagonist taken towards that goal? What unexpected consequences of your story (business product or service) relate to that goal and can ramp up their emotional energy? What details can help you make your story stand out?
Effective business communication can make or break your business at any stage, because it’s at the heart of your bottom line. It’s all about helping your potential customers discover your organization or company and its product or service, and then building customer loyalty. Quality content is a must to build credibility, raise brand awareness and differentiate you and your business from others. But if you really want to influence, inspire or motivate others to even consider your business, you need to creatively angle your message to their specific needs.
So if you don’t want to be humdrum and boring, add some sparkle and pizazz to your business writing. Be creative! It’ll make all the difference.