Every company and business has a story to tell, but telling a story well doesn’t come easily or naturally to everyone. Just ask anyone who’s listened to my Uncle Wally’s story about finding raccoons in his attic.
It doesn't matter if you are in sales, marketing, or the operations department, strong writing skills are a must. Strong writing and storytelling skills are something you need in order to share ideas, present information, and sell to customers.
So how do you keep your business writing from turning into the equivalent of the story that puts everyone to sleep at Thanksgiving dinner? Here are 7 steps to business writing that gets—and keeps—people’s attention.
7 Steps for Creating High-Impact Content
- Pick an idea that sticks. Most good ideas don’t come out of the blue—you have to put in some work to develop them.
Pay attention to things that come to you as you read books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, or as you have conversations with family, friends, and co-workers. Record those ideas and file them in a way that makes them easy to find later. Revisit your ideas periodically and bounce them off trusted advisers and collaborators. The ones that are still relevant and interesting are the best ones to pursue.
- Use research to set yourself apart. Opinions are everywhere—especially online. But substance can be rare. If you want your business writing to be noticed and trusted, back it up with research.
Research not only helps you show the validity of the points you are making it can also help guide the story you are trying to tell. Research is critical in the pre-writing stage but can and often should be ongoing even after you start putting words to paper.
- Find the right environment. Do you prefer some ambient noise when you write or total silence? Do you do your best writing in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Do you prefer to work around other people or alone?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but it is important to know what answers are right for you. Creating the right environment will make it easier for you to show up to write and will make you more productive when you do.
- Don’t sweat the first draft. There is something every writer needs to come to terms with. Your first draft won’t be very good. And that’s OK.
Just get it down on paper (or your preferred digital format) and then you can start refining, revising, and rearranging. Don’t get discouraged if your first draft leaves you with a lot of work left to do. Writing is not linear and you’ll move between researching, outlining, writing, and editing throughout the process.
- Ask for—and accept—feedback. Bouncing your content ideas off other people is an important step in finding the right idea. Don't be afraid to get feedback on your early drafts. It is a critical step to creating a successful writing product.
The key to getting useful feedback is giving your editor some guidance. For example, you could give them some questions to answer such as, can you summarize the point I make in this piece? Or, you can just ask them to pay attention to specific details such as flow or transitions.
- Know when to stop. You might be tempted to keep tweaking and rearranging the same piece endlessly to get it exactly right, but here is a secret. No piece of writing will ever be perfect, and at some point, you just have to hit “publish” or “send.”
That drive for perfection can still be useful though. Use it to build on the lessons you’ve learned, so each piece of writing is better than the last.
- Practice, practice, practice. Writing is like playing a sport or an instrument—the more you do it, the better you get. Even if you are not working on a specific project or piece of content, creating a consistent habit of writing regularly, (like at the same time every day or every week), will help you create the discipline and hone the skills you need to knock your next writing project out of the park.
Instantly improving your writing won't happen overnight. These steps can become the building blocks that enable you to become a better business writer.
Let's Talk Marketing Technology
To be effective in modern marketing, you need to have a variety of tools at your disposal. Ideally, these tools will be a part of one software package. In reality, you may need to use a couple of tools to achieve your goals. The team here at Pivot loves to learn about and play with new marketing technology tools. Marketing automation is one of our favorite technologies—check out this blog to learn how marketing automation can help you be a better marketer.
Once your business blogging is underway, you're going to want to share your content. This is where a great CRM will help you keep track of contacts and companies, provide visibility into your sales pipeline, and more. Learn four ways a CRM can drive your company's growth.
Ready to learn how we can help you with your business writing and marketing strategy? Contact Pivot today. We know a thing or two about scrappy marketing—doing more with less.
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