Bad writing costs businesses billions. Badly written business plans, proposals, emails, social media posts, and other written types of communication is at the heart of business failure. It wastes time, effort and money and negatively affects your business reputation, brand and presence. In other words, bad writing puts a drag on your business and saps your profits.
If you want to successfully establish, launch, grow or sell your business, you need effective well-written business documents. In an age of instant global connection, it’s how you get business done. But being able to use creative skills in your business writing is the key to doing business with success, because it’s how you can best differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace.
Creative writing skills are not just for nonfiction and poetry. They make all the difference for launching, positioning and growing your business. Well-crafted written messages convey information and requests clearly and are persuasive. But it is creatively enhanced written messages that build trust and motivate change in the reader.
In today’s collaborative and networked business landscape, written communication is about building relationships by conveying messages that are clear, persuasive and creative in some way. Whether you’re writing a business plan, project proposal or preparing your presentation to pitch it; writing your business launch emails and social media posts or writing a letter or an article; writing sales materials or preparing presentation slides, every type and form of business document requires that you be able to creatively angle your message to specific needs. That’s how you build profit.
Using creative writing skills in your written business communication is about eliciting certain emotions, feelings and thoughts to motivate the reader to change. It’s about taking creative license to convey your ideas and message in a purposeful and strategic way to make things happen in the direction of your business results. Here are six tips to improve your business writing:
- Who is your audience? Whatever the type of document, it targets a specifically intended reader. Construct an image of your target reader by asking yourself: Who is my ideal reader? What does this reader look like and think like?
- What is the message you want to convey? Every written business document has a purpose. It’s not just about conveying facts and writing pretty sentences. It’s about building a platform for connecting and amplifying the voice of your business. So your message must have meaning and ensure connection with the reader. This can be achieved through a dramatic fact or situation, an entertaining or humorous story, or a subject or emotion that your target audience is dealing with or wants to learn about.
- Do your research to fully understand your buyer/client personas. Make sure you have a full understanding of the facts supporting your story so you can angle your writing correctly. Analyze the data so you can better understand your target audience’s demographics and interests. Even if you’re drawing from your own experience, you need to know what the background, details and setting are today. This will lend greater credibility to your document.
- What language do you want to use? Words have power. Every word you use counts. Every word and every connotation carries weight. So use them concisely and precisely. Avoid using pretentious or grandiose adjectives or adverbs, unless absolutely necessary for information. And no weak or mushy clichés! Using an online thesaurus is a great way to expand your word choice.
- Grammar is important! Pay attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling. They make a big difference! The reader will miss your point if your document is spotted with incorrect grammar or syntax. Use a style guide to keep in mind the do’s and don’ts for things like punctuation, capitalization, and word choice.
- Pre-write, rewrite and edit to hone your message and tighten it. Begin by outlining your document. Pre-writing it is the first step in the writing process: you define the main idea and organize your message. Then write a first draft, let it rest, and then come back to it with a fresh eye. As you reread your draft, look for unnecessary or redundant information and explanation. What is the sentence really saying? Is this really what I mean? How it can be misinterpreted? Rewrite sentences that are too long. Get rid of clunky descriptions or clumsy images that don’t work. Make sure you haven’t forgotten any important details or that can add interest. Maybe you need a better opening or closing line. Put essential information at the beginning. Smooth out any awkward words, phrases or sentences. Ensure they create reading rhythm. And remember: show, don’t tell, by creating visual images.
Business writing and creative writing are, of course, not the same thing. Business writing is based on facts, seeks to share information and usually has a call to action. Creative writing takes the reader on a journey to anywhere. But if you want to connect your business to success in a world of instant messaging where you’re competing head-to-head to differentiate yourself, your writing needs to act as a catalyst.
Business writing today is about creating memorable content. It is no longer a one-dimensional way of dictating information in a style characterized by the use of formal wording or tone. Sure, a cordial tone is always necessary, as is the need to be clear and concise and relay facts correctly. But the purpose of any business document is to build trust and not alienate the reader.
The goal is to create an experience and convince the reader to do something. To do this, you have to take into account the reader’s experience and keep their thoughts and emotions in mind when crafting your message. You need to be able to share information in a compelling manner that in some way draws out the reader’s emotions and feelings. You need to create content that is original in some way and gives context and meaning to the facts being presented. Your messages have to be able to whisk the reader away on a journey of experience and memorable content by using metaphors and similes, comparison and contrast, rhythm and flow.
Not everyone is a writer or wants to be one. But even if you’re not, to successfully build your business, you need to be creative in how you approach written communication. It will make you more credible and perceived as reliable and trustworthy. It will help you influence others to achieve your business goals. It will build a solid online presence. It will also ensure your business doesn’t bleed from bad writing. You can always hire a business content writing service.
The bottom line is that creative writing skills are one of your most valuable assets for your business success.