Bad business writing is something we talk about a lot at MyCorp, at least in the social media department. Inc. Magazine published a great article on the subject, and wound up rightly pointing the finger at marketers and executives who for years have relied on pointless jargon and buzzwords, hoping that this very peculiar language would excite potential clients and entice them to read on. Now most people know that is not the case – the minute we read the words ‘synergy’ or ‘value-added’ our minds begin to fuzz up and wander. But there are still PLENTY of businesses, writers, executives, and marketers who produce this drivel for no other reason than drivel is all they know how to produce. In the hopes of making business writing more interesting, here are some tips for producing better content.
1. Don’t be afraid of using StumbleUpon/Reddit/Other Social Media Sites
If it wasn’t for Reddit, we never would have even found that little article from Inc. Social media aggregators are a great way to get ideas for topics you want to cover. One of the biggest causes of writer’s block in the business blogging world is a general disinterest on the part of the writer to cover some inane aspect of the business they work for. Even if there is a tight reign on the content that can or cannot be produced, it is pretty easy to spin nearly any topic so that it relates to your company. Social media aggregators also give you a good idea of what is currently trending, which can translate into more page views, provided that the writer keeps up and remains topical.
2. Move from focusing on your business, to focusing on your industry
So you’ve covered product X for the umpteenth time, and the PR firm/marketer/SEO company representing the business you’re covering won’t let you write on anything not directly related to the company. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. A good way to get yourself a little bit of creative wiggle room is to shift focus to the industry that the business operates in. You can still focus on the business and, at the very least, you are able to write about something other than the services or products being offered. You can even throw in a little analysis – the more stimulated your mind is about the topic, the better the content you’ll produce. Whether you’re a professional writer, or just a CEO trying to get your name out there, writing has to be enjoyed or the disdain you have for the practice will be reflected in whatever you create.
3. Please do more than sell
Writing is not just about trying to sell something, and yet day after day we see articles that are either pushing some new product offered by the company, or trying to sell us on the CEO’s vast and limitless abilities. Your readers aren’t stupid – they will pick up on this. If you want to sell something, fine, just be upfront about it. But if you bury your true intent beneath the surface of the article, you’ll just anger everyone who digs deep enough to realize they just read an 800 word advertisement. Selling also gets a bit boring after awhile. You end up writing the same hyperbolic sentences over and over and over again, and end up with content that plays fast and loose with exclamation points.
All that we’re trying to say is that business writers need to start moving out of their safe, little cocoons of pre-approved marketing and SEO terms, and challenge themselves to write a bit more creatively. More often than not, they’ll soon find that producing good, readable content is a lot more enjoyable than churning out advertisements. Of course it also takes a bit more intellect, but trust us when we say that whatever effort you put will be worth it when people actually start to read your articles.