The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Improving your business writing leads to enhancing communication with peers, prospects, and partners. Want to write better web pages, blog posts, business emails? Try these five tricks, and polish your content in an instant.
1. Dust off a thesaurus
Sounds a little old-fashioned, I know ... but using a thesaurus can help you:
Not bad for a forgotten relic of your school days, uh?
Don't have a thesaurus on your shelf? No problem: you can easily find free online thesauri for most languages. For English, Thesaurus.com and Collins English Thesaurus are great options. Looking for a different approach? Try the Visual Thesaurus by Thinkmap.
2. Cut 10% off
Wordiness is the tomb of attention. Want to make your copy lighter yet stronger? Start with cutting redundancies, bloated formulas and clichés. Shrinking your copy by 10% won't be that hard - and will make a huge difference for your audience.
3. Format for effectiveness
Business writing doesn't need to be robotic.
Variations in the length and pace of your paragraphs are important. They provide your text with a natural flow ... which immediately makes it more credible, and easy to grasp.
4. Double-check the spell checker
Spell checkers work well for a coarse-grained revision.
But if the error is a proper word in your language, they won't spot it.
It happened to me once with a "cute for cancer". And I'll be forever grateful to the editor that picked that up before the article went live.
These errors often happen when you revise right after completing the draft. Your brain already "knows" what's in there, and fills in the blanks automatically. Hence, you should always let the page cool down a bit. Take a break, a nap or a walk: your choice - but give your brain a rest before revising your work.
In all cases, double-check the spell checker. For your own sake.
5. Draft an outline
Effective business writing starts with a clear overview of the content you need to share with your partners and customers. An outline can help you organise information effectively, and avoid repetitions.
Some people are happy with a bulleted list of key points. Others go visual, and create mind maps. There is no fixed rule, and we all develop personal "outline templates" over time.
Need some inspiration? Check out this post on outline techniques on DIY MFA - great for fiction and business writing alike.
What's your top tip for improving the style and flow of your content?
Join the conversation in the comments below!