Simple Writing is Best for Business.
As we do ever more of our business on the internet, often our first point of contact with our customers is via our website or social media. Being engaging, informative and more importantly compelling in a world already full of information is vital.
As our websites are mainly text based, being able to write about our businesses effectively is key to making our selves noticeable.
This guest post from my friend and Third Sector business expert Mandy Naylor from Latent Promise explains how you can improve your writing with these simple steps.
I’m currently working with someone who is one of the most inspiring people you could hope to come across. When she describes her business concept, you want to bang the table and shout ‘Yes! That’s a fantastic idea!’ It’s simple, smart and very appealing.
Recently she sent me a four page summary of what she does, that she planned to send to a potential purchaser as background prior to a meeting.
I didn’t recognise her business.
Her brilliant concept had been turned into what I would politely call ‘business gobbledygook’. It was full of words like ‘ameliorate’, ‘facilitative’ and ‘synchronous’; had lengthy sentences with no clear purpose and it conveyed nothing of what made her approach unique.
I can’t ever imagine her talking like that – so why did she think this was the best way to describe her business in writing?
This is a really common issue, and I believe there are three key challenges to over come to create really effective business writing:
Lack of Experience
If you’ve never had to produce the written word for outside scrutiny, you might not instinctively know how to do it perfectly at first.
If this is you, try the following:
- Observe: Look at other writing. Check out company websites (local or national); look at other people’s marketing materials, read newspaper articles. What do you like, or not like, about them? What types of writing do you warm towards?
- Practice: Write something – a 100 word summary of your business, a description of your key product or service, a blog post. Put it aside for a few days, then go back and revise it. This helps you see it with fresh eyes and pick up mistakes.
- Get Feedback: Ask someone else to read it. Everyone cringes at this, but getting feedback now will hopefully help you avoid mistakes at the critical stage – in front of your customer.
- Learn: What are your common problem areas – is it spelling, grammar, or a tendency to waffle? Discover them, hunt for them in your writing, and double check them before completing a piece.
Some people believe that the business world has its own style of language and that you have to write in a particular way to be taken seriously.
This may possibly be true for some sectors – legal and financial sectors spring to mind, although many are now actively trying to be more accessible. However, for the vast majority of businesses there is nothing to lose by communicating clearly and effectively.
Think about who your audience is, and write for them and their needs. They are the only ones that matter.
Lack of Confidence
This can underpin both the above points…when I see people taking refuge in long sentences and fuzzy vocabulary, it nearly always relates back to a basic lack of confidence, in themselves or their business idea.
What is it exactly that is scaring you?
For many people it’s often that step of exposing their ideas to wider scrutiny. Just take your time. Be prepared to do a few redrafts, show your text to others you trust, and you’ll be amazed at what you can produce.
What writing have you been putting off and why? How can you use the above techniques to get the ball rolling again?