Are you confident in your business writing skills? Or do you get a little nervous when you have to write something for work? Like an email to your boss or a presentation for a meeting perhaps?
I can relate. I made my living as a writer for two decades, and I still get nervous when I write for work…even as I write this blog post!
But I have a secret weapon that I know gives me an edge—and I’m going to share it with you in this blog post. This secret weapon will power up your business writing skills and boost your confidence.
The secret weapon? Use sales writing techniques when writing at work, for work.
Why do I say that? Because the fact is, you can be a much better writer at work if you learn and apply some tried-and-true copywriter* techniques—techniques used when trying to sell something.
Why You Should Approach Your Business Writing as a Copywriter
The tips and tricks of the copywriter’s trade—a trade focused on sales and marketing—are equally useful in business writing because all writing is persuasive, even if you’re not selling anything.
Whatever you’re writing, it has a purpose, right? You’re not writing to have your words disappear into thin air. You’re not writing simply to look busy. You’re not writing just to vent about a last-minute meeting reschedule (or you’d better not be). You’re writing because you have a job to do. You need to persuade someone of something.
Just like a copywriter writes an email or a web page to try to persuade someone to want to buy something, your writing at work must persuade too. Even if you think you’re only writing to inform, not persuade, you’re still persuading and convincing the reader that your information is credible and worth knowing.
To make you a more convincing writer, I offer you three easy ways to make sales writing part of your business writing skills…to power up your writing at work and give your confidence a boost.
3 Sales Writing Tips You Need to Use Starting Now
One: Know Your Goal
This might be the most important rule of sales writing and copywriting. After all, if you don’t know your goal, you can’t write clearly because you won’t know what to write or how to write it.
What do you hope to achieve as a result of your writing? Your goal might be any number of things. Is your goal to pass along information? To summarize a conversation? To schedule a meeting? To express a concern? To showcase your skillset? To get information? To argue for a budget increase?
Know your goal before you start writing so that you’re able to achieve that goal.
Two: Write Concisely
Copywriters, sales writers, marketing writers…whatever you want to call them, they all need to get to the point right away to get the reader hooked then write concisely to keep them reading.
This applies to business writing skills too. You need to get someone’s attention right away and you need to write concisely so you keep their attention. When your business writing is cluttered or fluffy, your reader will start to scan and they will miss your carefully thought-out argument because it’s buried under the rubble of clumsy writing.
Instead, learn to “write tight,” as I call it. Learn ways to eliminate extra words, write in the active voice, and self edit.
Three: Use “You”
This is a simple yet a powerful technique that can literally transform your business writing. No, really, I mean it. It’s that powerful.
Using the “you” pronoun engages your reader. Period. And an engaged reader is going to keep reading.
For proof, compare these two sentences to see the difference the pronoun makes:
- I teach better business writing skills because I make online classes based on my 20 years of experience as a copywriter.
- You can learn better business writing skills by taking online classes that teach you to use copywriting techniques in your writing at work.
Which sentence is more appealing to you? Probably the second one because it’s about you, not me, right?
All These Writing Tips Add Up Over Time
I firmly believe every little trick you learn to improve your business writing skills will pay you back in dividends over time as they become second nature. You won’t think about them. You’ll simply do them. And as your writing improves, so too does your reputation at work—and your confidence.
Copywriting is a funny word that is often misunderstood. That’s why I sometimes use the term sales writing instead as you can see above. People often confuse copywriting with copyrighting—you know, the c with the circle around it ©?
Even the Dictionary.com definition of copywriter is vague: “a writer of copy, especially for advertisements or publicity releases.” That doesn’t really tell you anything, does it!
Even extremely intelligent people can struggle to understand copywriting. I was once seated next to a former governor of our state when he was the keynote speaker for our marketing association’s annual event. During the lunch that preceded his speech, he asked me several questions about my job as a copywriter because—as a lawyer—he could not get “copyright” out of his head. To this day, I smile when I remember how hard he sought to understand.
So, yes, maybe the role of the copywriter is confusing to some people—even highly intelligent people—but the tips and tricks we use to write persuasive copy are not confusing at all.