I have a pretty cool day job where I get to share best practices in SEO, public relations, and marketing to the public. I do a webinar about once a month and write for my company’s blog. I’m blessed to work with great people who have taken me under their wings and showed me the ropes of how to create content and educate others.
Of all the wisdom that they’ve imparted, one of the most important skills that has helped me in my business writing is to loosen up on those old, stuffy academic/business rules and just write business content as I would creative content.
Here are 6 business writing tips that I use, and hopefully they can help you too.
Get it out of your head
The best advice I can give for business writing is exactly the same advice that I give to creative writers. Write. You can work on outlining first, if you’d like, but once the outline is done, some people still have no idea where to start or what to write. Make the choice to start somewhere, anywhere, and start putting thoughts down on paper. Move forward and don’t look back.
For the love of God, please stop using so much jargon. The stodgy academic approach to writing can be coma-inducing to a reader. If the idea is to impart knowledge on your reader, why not make it at least a little bit fun? Make your writing human-centric. Remember, it’s a person who’s reading it on the other side, not some AMA snob.
Don’t edit the first draft
The first pass isn’t going to be pretty. That’s okay. You’re just trying to get knowledge out of your head and down on paper. Usually the content is too short to find a “flow” like you can with creative writing, but sometimes you’ll catch a wave of creativity and ride it through to the end of the piece. If you don’t catch that wave, just keep trudging through the mud, you’ll get to the end soon enough.
The biggest trap here is to get in an editing loop. Ever started writing something, erased it, wrote something else, erased that, and then gave up entirely? Yeah, me too. Don’t edit; just write. You’ll have plenty of time for editing after you have a first draft done.
Once the ideas are down, it’s time to go back and edit. This is exactly what I do with creative writing as well. Organize your thoughts, clean up sentences, and add some nice breaks to make it easier to read.
Cut the crap
If you’re a little long-winded in places, cut it.
Add supporting materials
If you’re making a pretty broad claim, it’s probably worth adding some supporting material into your content. It’s like adding extra details into a creative story to explain a character’s actions. In both cases, this helps give credibility to your story.
What about you? Do you wear two hats in your writing: professional and creative?