Solving Your Biggest Business Writing Problems

Here’s how to approach some of the challenges in business writing:

  • Do you have something that will work already done in some form? (That can be altered, edited? – don’t reinvent the wheel every time). Many pieces can have new life in slightly different forms, such as the case study that becomes a shorter blog post, or the corporate speech that becomes multiple blog posts.
  • Identifying the best person to author your specific prose. Save time and money by ensuring you have the best author on board, someone who knows your company and the subject well enough so you don’t end up doing all the rewrites yourself.
  • Deciding on what form the message/communication should take. Here again, strategy is a key issue. What is the desired outcome or call to action the piece of writing is meant for? What forms of communication are most appropriate to your particular audience?
  • Distributing the message/communication to the correct audience. The best piece of writing in the world does little good if it doesn’t reach the appropriate target(s). That needs to be defined before the piece gets written.
  • Distributing your message using the correct tool/tools. How does your target audience prefer to receive a message or a piece of writing? There’s so much variety here—video, print, online, mobile apps? Where are they most likely to find what they need from you?
  • Ridding your piece of jargon and slang. At the end of the day, nobody wants to have to circle back and re-edit a piece to ensure top-of mind strategic synergy, now do they?
  • Finding your consistent business voice. All companies should have a tone that’s consistent and appropriate for their business “personality.” A disrupter in the used automobile space will have a very different voice than, say, Bloomingdales.
  • Overcoming the scheduling demon – by this I mean—why is it always late? Maybe it’s because it’s the workload of an afterthought. How about contracting it out to someone who only does that one thing, which is to create B2B writing products?

Business Communications: Misconceptions?

 

 

 

 

Do you ever have the experience of reading a company’s boilerplate description—that all-important paragraph or two that explains who they are and what they do—and coming away from it like you’ve just been shackled to a day-old word salad bar?

It seems like startups must think that the longer and more undecipherable a description is, the higher its value. As if by making the reader go over it twice or more times to figure out what they really mean by those words inflates the company’s importance.

I would argue no. It doesn’t. All it does is annoy the reader. Here’s a few other misconceptions about business communication:

  • It has to use language only insiders understand. Closely related to the point above, I suspect, to give the piece “authority.” Business communications are not always directed at peers, however, and if you’re going to use terms not widely understood, define them clearly the first time they appear. Throw that lifeline!
  • It has to be lengthy to be worthwhile. If it’s long it must have gravitas. Here business communication can take a cue from its distant cousin journalism: explain what the reader needs to know clearly and briefly. She’s likely busy. As in so many areas of our lives, less is more.
  • It has to be rare, as in acceptable norms and intervals. Why? Somebody somewhere invented what we now see as normal when it filled a need. Innovation has the added bonus of excitement, thus, a multiplier effect.
  • Related to rare, it has to limit itself to accepted forms (i.e., yawner powerpoints). The world increasingly wants visuals, video and photos. Social media use tells us that the younger generations of users prefer visual-based platforms (such as Instagram and Snapchat) over text-based ones (Facebook, Twitter). At the very least, include it more. (By the way, I write scripts.)