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6 Business Writing Tips to Improve Your Content

6 Business Writing Tips to Improve Your Content

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No matter your industry, there's a high chance you've had to undergo some business writing. For example, you may have to compose daily emails, draft proposals, or create in-depth instruction manuals. Regardless of the material, business writing benefits from being as succinct and transparent as possible. Your respondents, whether clients or colleagues, likely have busy schedules. 

That's why it's best to learn top business writing tips. It's not only about improving grammar or having a professional tone, however. Learning to master business writing requires critical thinking about style, organization, and sentence structure. When done well, business writing skills can lead to more effective communication and a streamlined business overall.

Here are the best business writing practices and examples to inspire your content.

Types of Business Writing

Before getting to the business writing tips, it's critical to first understand the different types of business writing. Each type requires its own business writing style.

Instructional

The purpose of instructional business writing is to aid respondents in completing a specific task. Most often, this style involves writing instructions step-by-step in chronological order. The tone is more formal and neutral compared to other business writing styles.

Examples:

  • User manuals 
  • Memos
  • Specifications 

Informational

Informational business writing is common in all kinds of businesses. Here, your aim is to provide updates, create records for reference, or be compliant with legal obligations. All informational writing should be accurate, professional, and unbiased.

Examples:

  • Business reports
  • Financials 
  • Meeting minutes 

Persuasive

Persuasive business writing deviates from instructional and informational by being more informal. The end goal is to relay important information and convince the reader to take action. As a result, most persuasive writing is used in sales, marketing, or promotional pieces. 

Examples:

  • Sales pitches
  • Proposals
  • Press releases

Transactional 

Finally, there is transactional business writing or writing done on a day-to-day basis. Email makes up the majority of transactional writing, though official business documents also count. These include documents often completed by Human Resources staff, such as offer or dismissal letters. As such, transactional writing is usually used when sending out news.

Examples:

  • Emails
  • Invoices
  • Recommendation letters 

The Best Business Writing Tips

The following tips will help improve your correspondence with your intended audience. 

1. Anticipate Your Reader's Needs

While it's important to know your primary goal for writing, you should also understand your audience's needs. Doing so ensures you stick to the point and avoid giving unnecessary details. You can ask yourself some initial questions: 

  • Why should the reader care about the message? 
  • What questions may they have? 
  • What's their level of understanding of the subject matter? 

Moreover, think about the relationship you have with the recipient. If they are unfamiliar to you, your tone must remain professional. However, if you already have a rapport, you may benefit from being more informal. 

2. Be Concise 

Secondly, aim to be as concise as possible in your business writing. Long, winding sentences don't hold an individual's attention, particularly if they have a busy schedule. To be concise, use short, simple sentences. Avoid overly-technical jargon with those who may be unfamiliar with the subject. At the same time, if someone is well-versed in the subject, don't write out basic definitions. 

Additionally, leave out any fluff in your writing, such as unnecessary metaphors, analogies, adjectives, or adverbs. You want your writing skills in business to be easily digestible and to the point. 

3. Have Structure

One of the key points to remember when writing for business is structure. Organized messages frequently fair far better than unorganized ones. Plan out your piece ahead of time, outlining exactly what you need to say. 

In addition, strive for short blocks of text over long ones. Wordy paragraphs are easy to glaze over, and your message can easily be drowned out. You can separate text by using:

  • Headers and sub-headers
  • Paragraphs of 3-4 lines each
  • Color-coded information
  • Bolded text for important information
  • Line breaks 

4. Pay Attention to the Little Details

If you write a lot of emails, it can be tempting to cut and paste certain information to save time. However, this could lead to awkward mistakes. For instance, you may forget to change a recipient's name, title, or gender before sending your message. Doing so nullifies the rest of your message and could require sending an apology follow-up message.

Double-check your greetings and concluding statements to prevent yourself from making this mistake. In contrast, there may be occasions when you aren't sure of the reader's name, title, or gender. In these instances, it's best to go with neutral language. For instance, for gender, you can use the singular pronoun "they." It avoids the possibility of a pronoun mistake and allows the receiver to clarify who they are. 

5. Include a Strong Call to Action

Your call to action (CTA) will inform respondents what action they need to take next. Most business communication will include a CTA, and the key is to be as specific as possible. If you leave your audience guessing, they won't know or care about what to do next. This could lead to no action or follow-up messages asking for clarification that take more time. It's also a good idea to give your CTA a timeframe to encourage action. 

A good CTA looks like this:

"Please sign and return this document by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 22nd."

There's no confusion as to what needs to be done or when. 

6. Proofread Several Times

Once you've completed your work, it's time to proofread. Many successful business writers read their work out loud to check for awkward, repetitive, or unnecessary phrases. You can use online resources like Grammarly or Hemingway for grammar and punctuation checking. Grammarly checks for common grammatical errors and more advanced ones, like the use of passive voice. Hemingway does much of the same but also focuses on the reading level of your writing. This helps you better tailor your message to your ideal audience. 

You can also ask another person to look over your work. A fresh pair of eyes can spot mistakes you may have missed or provide a new perspective. 

Examples of Good Business Writing

To help bring the above business writing tips to life, you can look at the following best business writing examples. 

1) Press Release: Microsoft 

An example of a Microsoft press release. 


Microsoft, a multinational technology corporation, continues to dominate the market with billions made in net income every year. The company also handles numerous types of business writing and does so well. The above is an example of a press release regarding a new project developing in Atlanta, Georgia. Press releases are created to attract media and consumer attention and build credibility. 

Microsoft succeeds in its press release by:

  • Having proper formatting of title, location, and date written
  • Using short, descriptive, and professional paragraphs
  • Including bullet points to break up the text 
  • Incorporating a company description at the end
  • Providing access to contact information for both the community and the press 

2) Company Description: Tesla


Tesla's company description.


While Tesla produces innovative automobiles, it also succeeds in its brand positioning. The company is self-assured in its ability to change the future, and it gained a large fanbase as a result. It relays this through its company description on its website. Company descriptions are a popular type of persuasive business writing, as they bring in potential investors and partners.

Tesla succeeds in its company description by:

  • Explaining the history of the company
  • Describing its products and services
  • Including the location of the company
  • Outlining its current objectives
  • Expressing its overall mission statement 

3) Company Announcement Letter: Starbucks


Company announcement letter from Starbucks.


Starbucks differs from many coffee houses by offering employees an ownership stake in the company. This initiative was introduced in the 1990s and continues to this day. Howard Shultz, the former CEO at Starbucks, announced the news via a company announcement letter to employees. These informational pieces of business writing act to efficiently share big news with a large number of people. 

Starbucks succeeds in its company announcement letter by:

  • Addressing the reader directly
  • Reflecting on the company's value and mission
  • Voicing gratitude for its employees 
  • Concisely introducing changes
  • Including a sign-off 

Mastering Your Business Writing Over Time


While improving your business writing takes time, the efforts will pay off for yourself and others.

Business writing happens every day for many companies. While there are many different kinds of business communication, the goal is often the same: to be clear, concise, and organized. Following these business writing tips will make for impactful communications and deeper relations across the board.

Improving your business writing skills usually happens over time. However, there are resources available to help you along your journey. For instance, you can use grammar and editing services or hire expert business writers to achieve your goals. With the right research and guidance, you can provide business writing that leaves a mark. 

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