How to write for business – cutting out the waffle

My writing has been through a series of evolutions. During my A-Levels, I took pride in my ability to write thousands of periphrastic, prosaic paragraphs for English Literature essays, using a vocabularly that, most of which, I now wouldn’t know the meaning of. I was also a sucker for alliteration.

Then I started working in TV and I was devastated when a senior Commissioning Editor criticised my writing for being ‘far too floral’; I was urged to do away with the hyperbole of my youth and to become much more ‘tabloid’.

Now, as a Social Media Manager, I struggle to produce anything engaging that’s longer than 140 characters; in fact, my writing life has become one big #acronym!

Writing for business is different yet again. The objective in business writing should always be to create a change in the reader; either to change a reader’s attitude or to encourage a different behaviour.

A tool I come back to time and again when I have to write business articles is Josh Bernoff’s R.O.A.M.  Bernoff, if you haven’t heard of him, is the author of ‘Writing Without Bullshit’. Grabbed by this brilliant book title, I discovered Josh’s podcasts and blog, which is where I came across the concept of ROAM. Before you attempt any business-related article, Josh insists that the author spends time thinking about the following:

  • Readers: Who is the audience?
  • Objective: What are you trying to do?
  • Action: What do you want the reader to do?
  • iMpression: What will the reader think of you?

To give you an insight in to my practise, for example, here’s how I started this blog post:

Readers: People who have an interest in marketing, business, creativity or all three.

Objective: To share with my readers some useful tips on how to write concisely for business.

Action:  I want my readers to learn more about honing their writing skills, hire Rather Inventive to help them or Find the information so useful they want to sign up to more emails in the box below…

iMpression: I’d like my readers to think that ratherinventive.com is a truly brilliant oracle of information relating to marketing, business and creativity (which it is, of course!).

Follow this link to find out more about ROAM.

And as a nice little Brucie Bonus, feast your eyes on this infographic:

roam2

Infographic taken from bernoff.com – Photo credit: Ak~1 – Typewriter.

Author: Helen Crease


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