3 Rules for Writing Effective Business Content
Posted: Fri 27th Sep 2013
Ever think, "I wish I'd written that"? Ever been given the task of writing copy for a product or service when you haven't a Scooby Doo (Ed. note: clue!) where to begin? If so, you're not alone, and this post is for you.
Lola Bailey (@ihubbusiness) is a copywriter based in London and author of the Enterprise Nation book The Small Business Guide to Online Marketing Although few read business copy for pleasure, it should be a pleasure to read. Effective business writing captures interest and prompts action. It's been said that learning to write fluently is a bit like learning to fly. Once you experience the heady feeling of being airborne and solo, you feel you can conquer the skies. Barrel rolls, loops, Immelmann turns, the lot. But even the most experienced flyer can have a bad air day. To make sure you don't come down to earth with a crash (there I go again!), below are three fundamentals of business writing. These rules will make it easier for you to focus your mind on what you are aiming to achieve, and for your reader to work out what you're after and why they should care. The clearer your message, the easier it will be understood.
What do you want your reader to know? Â What do they need to know? Let's say you're after investment for a service - for example, an IT support service. Some of the things you may want your potential investors to know about include the size of your team, the circumstances in which you are currently operating, the cost of not getting any funding - in terms of losses to the customer and the company - the investment needed and the benefits of investing in your IT service.
What do you want your reader to think?Â Sticking with the above example, you may want your audience to think that your proposal represents terribly good value for money. You may want them to think that you are capable of delivering the benefits you mention. You may want them to think that you your priceless IT support service is worth the investment.
What do you want your reader to do? Â Â Now this bit has to be really clear, and if you're writing a proposal, it needs to be explicit.Â What you want your reader to do is usually referred to as a "call to action", and it must be included in your copy at the relevant point(s). Remember that even if your job means you never meet a customer, it could be argued that your business copy still needs to sell. This is because business writing has to be persuasive. Your call to action could be to ask people to sign up to attend a presentation. It could be, as with our IT example, to ask for funding.
That's it - those are the three rules. So, before you next embark on writing copy, remember to focus on the things you want your audience to know, think and do. Decide what these might be first - then begin writing.
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