Taking the pain out of your business writing

In my earlier blog Top Tips for Better Business Writing, I outlined methods to give you confidence when writing for your business.

Since then, my blogs have provided steps to help you prepare to write.
The Right Environment: 5 Questions to Help Identify your Perfect Workspace
The truth about why it’s important to focus on your reader
How to get your words read and your company noticed

These next steps will support you getting your words onto the page.

We’ll start with a story

Fiona was looking for new customers.

Her hair salon was doing well, but she wanted it to grow. Until there were more bookings, Fiona wouldn’t be able to take on more staff. So, to attract clients from the local area, she decided to deliver flyers.

Fiona found some themed artwork and graphics online. Now, sitting at her laptop, she needed to find the right words. But what should she write?

An online search found a blog with tips on writing for your business; Fiona decided to give it a go.

Early the next day, before the salon opened, Fiona created a space where she could enjoy the atmosphere without interruption. She prepared by considering her favourite clients, the ones who came in regularly and valued her opinion on styles. Fiona focused on why those customers came to her and what they were looking for from a salon.

Now she needed to write, and this was the bit Fiona dreaded, she hoped these steps would take the pain out of the process.

Simple steps to writing success

Focus on your audience, it will help you find your voice

By picturing the client Fiona wanted to attract, she realised she knew how to talk to them. She didn’t need to be pretentious or formal.

The customers who liked her salon appreciated her friendly manner and Fiona found that writing in this style was almost as easy as having a conversation.

Some people worry it’s too informal to write using the same language they use when talking. In my experience, if you focus on the audience your language will be appropriate for writing, or talking, to those readers.

Your communication will be different when talking to a client or a friend, but that is true whether writing or speaking. The language used depends on the message and audience, not the manner of communication.

You need to hear this!

Fiona enjoyed telling the story of her training, the salon, and why she’d chosen to set up in this village. But she realised she’d filled a page with a story which wouldn’t mean much to a potential customer. Maybe she could tell the story during a haircut instead.

She thought about her favourite clients and realised she could already identify the reasons they came to her.

  • The environment was welcoming.
  • Her clients trusted her to listen to what they wanted.
  • Fiona offered them a good deal.

She kept her piece short and focused.

First, tell the customer what they want to hear. Why should they be listening to you?

Then consider any practical information required (contact details, opening hours etc.).

Make the words stand out

The graphics Fiona found online looked great on the page of her document. But, she saw as she typed, how the words lay within that space would be just as important.

What’s important in a font?

With so many fonts available, Fiona wanted something which worked well with the border she’d found, but which was also easy to read.

Studies show the best fonts for reading on paper differ from those which read well online. (Consider the small size of phone screens which we use for a lot of our online reading now).
> When writing for online use Sans Serif fonts are best – those without the little feet (or embellishments) at their extremities, fonts like Arial or Helvetica.
> Printed text is easier to read when in a Serif font, such as Times New Roman or Garamond. Here the projections on the letters guide the reader through the text.It makes sense to use a number of fonts on promotional material, perhaps one for headers and something else for the body text. Don’t, however, use more than three fonts or the piece will look messy.


Make the most of your space

Fiona found a font she liked, the next step was to make sure the size of the text allowed easy reading.

She also realised how important it was to have plenty of white space around the words to avoid it looking crowded.

Blank space around your text makes words easier to read and putting information in sections helps the reader scan through.

For example, the main body text, telling people about your offering, can be in one area; the special offer will stand out more if it’s separated; key contact information might be separate again.

The Next Step

As a part of Fiona’s message, it was essential for her to include – what copywriters call – a Call To Action!

This statement tells the reader how you want them to act on the information you’ve given them, it’s essential to initiate the response you are aiming for.  In Fiona’s case, she needed to encourage the reader to come into the salon; to do this she used a discount offer.

My next blog will focus on creating the right Call To Action for your communication.

Whatever you’re writing for your business, I hope this blog provides steps through which you can outline – and create – the text you need.

My story may have focused on a particular kind of promotional material, but I believe these steps can be a guide for any kind of writing for your business.

What do you think? I’d be really pleased to hear how you get on.