Business writing is a term with a broad meaning that refers to any text related to running a business and earning money. It can be correspondence with some other businesses or interactions with clients. Many companies today understand the importance of effective business writing for running a thriving company.
What is business writing?
Business writing has a very formal tone and must stick to a strict format. You must write briefly, concisely, and to the point when writing such texts as a business proposal, and control your own writing style so as to fit the professional setting.
The business writing format exists to communicate information within a company or between different companies. Good business writing skills also help to provide an official and written record of events that take place in the course of a company or organization.
You may encounter this style in business magazines, official company communications, business letters, press releases, company profiles, the content of corporate websites, and other written material intended for and created by business owners, executives, and managers.
While written business communication is similar to other forms of formal writing like academic writing, it has its own requirements. In this article, we will present best practices of instructional business writing, various types of business writing, and how to effectively create a clear and concise text which conveys relevant information.
What are the main types of business writing?
There are many types of business writing – we can divide them into fairly broad categories.
This type of business writing is intended to be helpful and to explain how tasks should be carried out, step by step. This could be, for example, a new user’s manual or an email to all employees explaining new procedures. If you are hiring new employees or using a new tool, you need to provide accurate and relevant information, describing, step-by-step, exactly how to use it. Instructional business writing is closer to technical writing in many respects.
Business information writing is all about correctly and consistently documenting the information that your company processes. It’s business reporting and recording business information accurately that lets you document growth, plan strategy, and note any legal issues and challenges. It’s all the company financial accounts, business meeting minutes, and especially memos. The business memo is a very important element of good business writing that is often overlooked by amateurs.
The aim of persuasive business writing is to convince the reader – in this case, often an executive. This type of business communication provides vital information to convince the owners of other businesses that your product, service, company, or partnership will provide the greatest value. Typically, this type of writing involves marketing and sales. This can include business proposals, business letters, press releases, and announcements.
This category covers day-to-day communication in the workplace. This communication mainly consists of emails, but also letters, forms, and bills. It is the basis of most business communications in a company. Even though it’s commonly used, it still has to adhere to the formal sentence structure and present content in a professional setting.
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Publuu’s business proposal example
View more business proposal examples
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Effective business writing
The most important thing in business writing is the right tone of communication. Formal documents should be prepared in a professional, formal and respectful tone. Contrary to some style guides, you can use contractions. Many style guides recommend avoiding the passive side, but it is fine in formal text. Whatever your intended audience and the subject of your message, you need to choose the most appropriate style and maintain a consistent tone throughout.
The second important factor is clarity and precision. Your message will be difficult to read if it is not clear what you are trying to convey to your audience. This is why it is worth considering certain industry-specific buzzwords. When addressing specialists, such a word conveys relevant information and helps maintain concise language. But if the text is addressed to someone outside the industry, these words can stand out in professional communication.
Persuasive business writing
First, you need to identify your target audience. A company may create a particular business document for its customers, other companies, or employees. Since all business focuses on the target customer, as a rule, business writing is also intended for the customer – B2B or B2C. Business proposals, professional letters, thank-you letters, etc., for example, are very often prepared for other companies and must have a formal tone.
The most important thing in good business writing is precisely to adapt the language to the recipient. In this case, you don’t need to force the positive language of benefits – but you do need to discuss the exact advantages of your company in a simple and obvious way.
Transactional business writing
Everyday business communication is all about transactional business writing. These are mostly emails, but also bills and memos. It is advisable to write them in a formal style to make them very understandable. They are also used to convey both positive and negative messages, whicareis commonly associated with human resources activities.
A transactional one might be an email from a boss to an employee, but also a social media response to a customer complaint. Another example is a letter of dismissal for specific reasons, given in a neutral tone, or simple sales letters documenting that a sale has been made. They need to stay clear and well-understood by the readers.
The key to good business writing is to be concise. If you need to inform your employees of new procedures, simply start by saying hello, and then simply write what procedures are in place. You don’t need to explain why or what the change means – a simple brief is enough for your business document.
Your texts must resemble academic writing. Also, eliminate any rambling thoughts, you need to be general at least in this respect. Remove unnecessary words – one ‘please’ and thank you is enough. Instead of ‘could you kindly learn’ you can write ‘you are asked to’.
If you want to be polite, write a quick greeting or ending, but a minimum of politeness will suffice. ‘Bob, please send me the file’ sounds better than ‘Send me the file’ and reflects the uncluttered writing style in the business world.
Business writing – 7 best practices
To communicate effectively in business, you need to understand your audience. You will write in a different style to specialists, and differently to customers who are simply interested in the final service. You choose your business language for your customers – not for yourself.
In addition to your customers, you also need to know your objectives. Do you simply want to provide information, explain a problem, or perhaps present your services or products? Your company’s marketing policy and business style also depend on this.
Effective writing requires you to mention some seemingly obvious things. For example, many software companies do not write whether their software is suitable for Windows, macOS, or Linux. When describing your business ideas in your texts, stick to the five journalistic questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Business writing requires brevity. Take the unnecessary adjectives out of your text. All inventions are novel, the solution is always for the reader. Similarly, take care with common phrases – don’t ‘recycle the solution’ but simply “solve”. Don’t write “we are in the process of working” but “we are working”. Never write ‘utilize’ in your business document when ‘use’ is sufficient.
Busy people, like business executives, often scan the text for relevant details. Make their lives easier. Underlining and bolding comes in very handy. Also, use lists and diagrams and divide the text into short paragraphs and add specific titles.
Avoid abbreviations – especially not very formal ones like ‘&’ instead of and. Write formally – you can use contractions, like ‘isn’t’ or ‘won’t’ but avoid forms like ain’t or gonna.
And before you send an e-mail, double-check it. Recently, you should have to take a glance at least at Word spell-check, but these days you can find AI tools online that can help you in business writing, even helping you with sentence structure.
Business writing examples
So what exactly is business writing? As you can guess, the most common business document that can be called transactional business writing is a simple business letter or business e-mail. It can be used in many ways, whether to contact a superior, a worker, a prospect or a customer. Cover letters are how you start an adventure with a company.
Official letters have a specific format to follow:
Provide the address and a form of back-communication.
Start with the subject.
Begin with the main idea and expand each issue in each paragraph.
End the text politely with a query for an answer.
Another good example of business writing is press releases. They’re written by business writers for the press or potential customers and describe something noteworthy about your company. They can be an official statement issued by a company regarding a specific issue.
Business reports provide information on specific tasks or projects to the authorities or other professional entities. It must contain well-researched data and present them in an effective manner.
User manuals and guides are somewhere between business writing and technical writing. The main point here is to provide instructions for the user, which can be a business customer.
Business memos are notes or quick messages to the selected readers. It’s a note to another worker or even to yourself. You can write a note after an event to document it. Another reader can read it with a cursory glance to understand it better.
Longer meeting agendas are another example of business writing. Some are written before the meeting to provide a guideline for a long event, but some might document what happened, so in this respect business writing is closer to report writing.
It’s not just that large companies understand the importance of business writing. The larger the company and the more diverse it is, the more it values a clear, neutral style and simple sentence structure.
In line with the forms of business writing described above, it is worth using the right tone to ensure a professional attitude. Of course, small companies don’t have to stick to this in order to maintain good contact with partners. But effective communication increases professionalism and conversion rates. That’s why we advise you to create business documents with business writing standards.
Use appropriate language and punctuation when creating business texts so that you can ensure optimal communication with your customers.
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