Think about all the places your business lives, in real space and online. Your storefront, your website, social media, advertisements, flyers, FAQs, marketing campaigns, emails both internal and external: in all of these places, people have a chance to be influenced by the distinct voice and tone that makes you who you are. The language we use can influence, inform, persuade, or even shock people. When writing for business, consider the following key ideas that will help you sharpen your copy and connect with your desired audience.
It’s up to your small business to decide on the language that works best in terms of reaching your customers with engaging messages. A law firm, for example, might have different lexical and tonal approaches to creating a voice for itself than, say, a restaurant. However, in order to develop trust and recognition as well as a relationship between your voice and your customers, consider that consistency is key. Once you’ve established that a certain tone gets a great reaction from your ideal demographic, stay with it. This tone will quickly become part of the identifying marks that make up your business’ personality and public
Once you have decided on a message or idea, think about delivering it in a clear and impactful way. You may not have the luxury of easing readers into your main ideas through an introductory paragraph, the way high schools the world over have taught “the sandwich” method. It can be beneficial to summarize your ideas before setting out to write a first draft – lay them out in a way that highlights the key components, and make sure that you target at least one major, take-away idea in the first few sentences. Don’t be overly metaphorical, coy or ambiguous: create understanding and remove any chance for confusion or obfuscation.
In writing of all kinds, less is almost always more. It’s almost too easy to create a rambling first draft, then get out the red pen and slice down words and sentences until you hit some arbitrarily desired size. Instead, start with the core concepts and reduce fluff consciously as you write. There are many phrases and constructions that just aren’t quite efficient, taking up extra space without adding anything to the meaning of your content. Find these, and avoid them proactively. The old “five dollar word” check is a good one to do here. You should read back the wording of phrases or ideas to yourself – do it out loud, if you can. This makes it easier to catch any unnecessary digressions, loopy turns of phrase, or outright errors because you’re able to hear how they piece together outside the context of your own mind.
Hopefully these three “C”s will help improve your business writing – don’t neglect the importance of a carefully crafted statement, especially one that will go out into the field of view of customers both current and prospective.