10 quick ways to improve your business writing skills

Sara Donaldson

Northern Editorial

This week I was going to write about something completely different

It’s been a full-on week and I never quite got to write anything (hey, I’m only human, shit happens).

But Twitter threw me a curveball the other day that totally blew my mind (more about that later).

sara donaldson emoji mindblown

Now, I’ve been in the information business long enough to know that we can’t possibly know everything. We have to pick and choose our knowledge, which is why people tend to niche.

I know my stuff and you know yours.

Which is fundamental to business.

For instance, you may be an absolute genius on the bespoke hat scene but may not be confident in your writing, and I’m a brilliant writer but wouldn’t know where to start making a hat.

So we make the perfect combination when we work together. You pay me to check out your brochures, website and marketing material (freeing up your time to make more gorgeous hats), and I make you look even more bloody marvellous than you already are.

(And I learn a little bit more about hats, so when we work together next we know each other and make it even more fabulous)

We can’t and shouldn’t know everything about everything.

I help businesses get their message across when they don’t know where to turn. I can edit and write for you but, honestly, it can be beneficial for you and your business if you try to write something yourself if you have the time.

If you don’t have the time or inclination, get someone like me to do it for you (it will free up your time and allow you to do what you do best).

But if you do have the time, there are ways you can help yourself write something for your business.

How to improve your business writing skills

  1. Make sure you know what you’re writing. Is it a web page, a flyer, brochure, an email, social media post? They’ll all need a different approach.
  2. Be clear about what you’re saying. Know in advance what you’re actually going to be writing about. Don’t waffle.
  3. Be clear about your audience. Who are you writing for? What is their level of knowledge of your business, product or industry? If in doubt use a persona and write for them in mind.
  4. Write a draft first. Don’t expect your first stab at it to be the finished article. Brainstorm on paper. Use bullet points and make sure you get everything down that you actually want to say. Then write it up properly using the bullet points as a guideline.
  5. Use the active rather than passive voice. For example, ‘it can be seen’ can be changed to ‘you can see’, ‘your requirements can be reviewed’ can be changed to ‘we will review your requirements’ and ‘we can be contacted on …’ can be changed to ‘contact us on …’
  6. Get rid of the dross. Seriously. If it’s not relevant, just get rid of it.
  7. Don’t write 15,000 words when 1,500 will do. There’s no need to pad your writing out just for the sake of it.
  8. Don’t use jargon unless you absolutely have to. If you’re writing for the general public don’t throw jargon at them – it will only either confuse them or hack them off. They will end up leaving your website, deleting your email or throwing your expensive brochure in the bin.
  9. Add a call to action. If you want your readers to do something, make it very clear what you want them to do. But don’t be cheesy about it. Don’t try and use clever wording, leave that to the experts.
  10. Proofread like a boss. Seriously. Proofread on screen. Change the font, font size and colour and proofread again. Print it off and proofread. Hire a proofreader. I cannot overemphasise the importance of proofreading your work.

If you follow these 1o simple points you’re going to be able to improve your skills for those times when a professional writer, copyeditor or proofreader isn’t an option.

And what on Twitter got me in such a kerfuffle?

I found out about Aphantasia.

And realised that other people can actually see images in their heads.

If you have these head pictures it’s not news to you but, honestly, I just found out that I’m actually a bit weird.

And I was a bit, ever so slightly bizarre, for me to find out that I can’t do what other people do.

Oh, well.

I did have a complete stranger come up to me today in the supermarket and say she ‘just had to tell me’ she ‘thought I was cool’ with my green hair and what I was wearing. Me. Cool. Ahh the poor deluded woman – but she did make my day 😊

Want to know more about Aphantasia? Here’s a rather good article (but I’d ignore the block test, that’s just stupid, I could do it with my eyes closed. oh, hang on, no I can’t!)

And this is the video that Twitter threw at me:

                                                                            (c) AmyRightMeow. Go check out her other videos!

Oh, and my Call To Action?

If you haven’t got the time or inclination contact me and we’ll talk about your business writing needs and how I can help.

First published on

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