Why Style Guides Matter in Business Writing

Pick a style guide, any style guide.

You have a sense of style with your wardrobe. You have a sense of style with your home furnishings. You may have even created a sense of style with your car.

But what about with your writing?

Do you use the first person in some articles and third person in others? Do you spell out state names sometimes and other times abbreviate them?

To be an effective business writer, you need to have a consistent style.

The best way to achieve consistency is by following a style guide or a style manual.

Two of the best-known style guides are The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style. Many publishers use one of these books as a guide for language use, such as spelling, abbreviations, and punctuation. They’ll then add their own style preferences that are particular to their own organization.

Copy editors are tasked with reading and editing copy that is in keeping with that house style. Continue reading “Why Style Guides Matter in Business Writing”

How Fiction Can Inspire Great Business Writing

Yes, there’s a place in business writing for fictional stories. Photo: Yulia Grogoryeva

Many people think business writing shouldn’t include anything fake, but that’s not true.

There’s nothing wrong with incorporating fictional stories into business writing. In fact, people often respond very well to stories.

The key is to not be misleading—you shouldn’t use fictional stories and say they’re real. As long as you’re being honest and transparent, it’s fine.

A great example of this is a famous sales letter from the Wall Street Journal. It tells the story of two young men who graduated from the same college and went to work at the same company. They started their careers with similar talents and ambitions, but 25 years later one was a manager and the other was the president of the company.

The letter then asks what made the difference between these two men over the course of their careers. The answer given is that “knowledge is power” and that the Wall Street Journal gave one of them the edge.

It’s a blatant pitch for the Wall Street Journal, and anyone who read it could clearly see that. But that didn’t bother too many readers—the fact that it starts out with a story that motivates the pitch is why it works so well.

This sales letter was so successful that it ran for almost three decades and brought in around $2 billion worth of subscriptions.

Never underestimate the power of a great story to captivate readers and compel them to take action.

Just keep the following tips in mind when you incorporate fiction into your business writing. Continue reading “How Fiction Can Inspire Great Business Writing”

How to Write an “About” Page for Your Business Website

Tell your company’s story in a way that resonates with your customers. Photo: rawpixel

The tricky thing about business writing and marketing is that you often have to be a jack-of-all-trades. You’ll have to create blog posts, white papers, brochures, web pages for your site, and potentially much more.

One writing project that often gets overlooked is the “About” page.

This page is important on any business website because it helps people understand what you’re about—such as your background, values, and mission. It helps readers identify who you are, why they should care, and whether or not you’re a good fit for them to do business with.

Here are some tips to make sure you craft an effective “About” page. Continue reading “How to Write an “About” Page for Your Business Website”

3 Tips for Creating a Successful Business Blog

Learn what it takes to grow a successful business blog. Photo: Marek Uliasz

Many blogs are personal in nature, where the authors share what they’ve been up to lately, such as their family life, hobbies, and travel adventures.

But blogging can also be an effective business communication tool. If a company has a successful blog, it can help demonstrate expertise, improve trust among customers, and ultimately strengthen the brand.

These benefits help businesses increase their bottom line. But that’s not all—a successful blog can also help a company attract better employees, establish itself as a leader in its industry, and much more.

With all these things in mind, you probably won’t be surprised to know that businesses are interested in blogging more than ever. But many of them also don’t know what it takes to create a successful business blog.

By following these tips, you can make sure your business blog gets results. Continue reading “3 Tips for Creating a Successful Business Blog”

What Makes Writing Educational?

Your goal is to help your readers learn and apply the information. (Photo: kasto)

Before you start any writing project, it’s important to think about what your goals are.

For example, the goal of a movie script may be to entertain, while the goal of an online ad may be to persuade the reader to buy the product.

If you’re writing educational materials, your goal is to help your readers learn and apply the information. But this is typically easier said than done.

You have to convey the information in such a way that readers understand the material and find it engaging; otherwise you’ll lose them before you’ve accomplished your goal.

Here are some key similarities among effective educational writing. Continue reading “What Makes Writing Educational?”