- Identifying your target audience will help you eliminate useless information and provide content relevant to them.
- Always double-check your writing for spelling errors, grammatical errors and plagiarism; one mistake has the potential to discredit your entire work.
Writing for a business audience requires a great deal of effort and professionalism, and your choice of words has the power to directly impact your credibility, your reputation among stakeholders and your success in the entrepreneurial arena.
Here are seven valuable tips for refining your professional writing skills, all aimed at boosting your business and solidifying your status as an authority figure.
1. Identify your target audience
Knowing your target audience means better understanding their interests. Identifying this important group will help you eliminate meaningless information and better prepare a draft that appeals to them rather than you.
2. Use online tools
Many online tools encourage people to significantly improve their writing skills by targeting grammar errors, word count and citation weakness. Here are a few:
- Easy Word Count — This tool helps you keep track of your word count, character count and typing speed.
- Ginger Software — A website that helps you detect grammatical errors.
- 750 Words — This tool will get you into the habit of writing an article every day.
- Small SEO Tools — You’ll be able to detect plagiarism with this tool.
- Cite It In — This tool encourages the correct usage of references and citations.
- T Words — This tool tracks your writing style and helps you learn and practice different writing techniques.
3. Keep it short and simple
Rather than reading complete articles, many people tend to scan through them; make this work in your favor by providing crisp snippets for your target audience.
Use catchy headlines and short sentences to keep them glued to your content. Avoid writing lengthy stories — cut to the chase. Add bullet points wherever possible and write your keywords in bold. Use infographics to grab the attention of skimmers and rushed readers.
You have very little time to create an impression. Make an impact from the very beginning.
It’s easy to overlook spelling and grammar mistakes while you’re in a writing groove. Proofreading will help you catch oversights that can potentially discredit your entire article.
Here are a few easy tips that’ll make proofreading a breeze:
- Rest your eyes before reviewing your writing.
- Identify one problem at a time. (First look for sentence structure issues, then punctuation, then spelling.)
- Double-check facts, figures and names.
- Print a hard copy and take a good old-fashioned red pen to it.
- Read your work out loud.
- Use Grammarly.
5. Never plagiarize
Don’t risk tarnishing your reputation by plagiarizing. A plagiarism check will confirm the authenticity of your work. (This involves cross-checking your work with that of other authors to ensure that nothing has been copied.)
Original content is key. Avoid the use of clichés, and be creative and original when drafting collaterals for clients and prospects.
6. Be creative and precise
Business writing can be flexible; it’s not always about being formal. After considering your audience, find ways to add a little creativity. Use insightful quotes and a dash of humor (when appropriate) to get your points across.
Also, relevant anecdotes and supplementary images can be used to enhance your writing and hold readers’ attention. Just remember that humor and imagery should always be used to boost value, not replace it; at the end of the day, your readers should be gaining knowledge and benefiting from your content.
Practice, practice, practice: there’s no better way to improve your skills. The more you write, the more ideas you’ll come up with. While there are various sites and tools meant to improve your writing skills, you need to develop a habit of practicing writing every day.
Delivering your business message accurately and effectively through writing is an important skill mastered only through repetition.
As an academic researcher and private tutor, Bella Williams guides new age professionals and students throughout their career. A graduate from Monash University, Williams organizes free coaching workshops and promotes free sharing of knowledge. Connect with her on LinkedIn.