Much to their surprise, online marketers soon discover the amount of writing involved with this type of work. Since few of these entrepreneurs aspire to "be a writer," this comes as a mild shock as they face the challenge of writing everything from web content to articles to emails, etc., etc. While it may seem like a daunting task at first, the good news is that, with practise, learning to write professionally is relatively easy, once the dynamics of business writing are understood.
Because when the dynamics are overlooked, whether through ignorance or other reasons, the results are the same: poor sales, low sign-up response, and little success. And the marketer remains mystified as to why. Why do their emails have no response? Why are their articles remaining unpublished, despite submitting to hundreds of markets? Why doesn't their site have more visits or re-visits? Why.
One reason could be that their text/content/copy is less than professional. The fact is, like any other kind of writing, professional business writing has very specific parameters, including "do's" and "dont's". These parameters, or dynamics, can make all the difference between success and failure. Below are a list of the essentials for business and/or professional writing, both online and off.
- THIRD-PERSON PERSPECTIVE
First and foremost, the "third-person perspective" is the standard. In writing, there are three perspectives: first-, second- and third-person. First- and second-person are most common in fictional work or confessional-type articles, while third-person perspective is used almost exclusively in professional business writing.
To write in the "third-person" is to remove the author's presence from the content as much as possible. This is necessary so that the primary focus shifts to the idea or proposal. This is referred to as "perspective" because there is no one rule: rather it is a way of phrasing each sentence.
In editorial work, curtailing superlatives is a matter of taste and style. In business writing, it is a matter of respecting both the reader's time and the space alloted, both of which are limited. Excessive wording is not discouraged simply for its own sake. Rather, in the no-nonsense world of business, concise wording demonstrates a thorough analysis of the issue, thereby successfully conveying professionalism.
Business writing is comprised of 85% fact-based information and 15% expert opinion. This is due to the serious nature of the work, which leaves little room for speculation. Of course, many articles are based on some opinion or viewpoint. But the opinion is not the focus. Rather, it is the facts that brought about this opinion that matter. As when winning a debate, stating facts are a stronger weapon than voicing opinions.
Unless the topic of an article is a specific person, use of pronouns (such as I, me, my, you and your, especially) should be replaced by specific nouns, such as the group or groups specific to the article or content. For example, this article relates to writers and online marketers so both can be used directly.
The only noteable exception to this may be in writing letters or emails which, by their very nature, demand a first-person perspective.
- GENERAL FORMAT
In fiction, most writing begins with the background and reaches a climactic conclusion. In business writing, the opposite is true because the most important facts/information begin the content and it graduates down from that. This is to ensure that the most important information is readily available, even to those only skimming the item.
Also, one general tip is to always use positive phrases, rather than negative. For reasons that defy logic, positive phrases are more direct and to the point. It is always easier to say, "facts speak for themselves," rather than, "while opinions are important, unless they're based on facts...etc."
- SPECIFIC FORMAT
Because of the nature of business writing, a certain amount of formality is expected. This includes proper grammar, punctuation, etc. Additionally, contractions (don't, can't, etc.) should also be avoided, as should clauses and quantifiers (i.e., though, but, also, etc.) wherever possible. Of course, there are times when this is unavoidable, especially when continuity and readability issues are involved.
One good rule of thumb is to follow the standard essay format. This consists of:
-- Declaration (Opening) paragraph
-- Three-to-Five Argument/example paragraphs
-- Closing/conclusion paragrah
Though more sophisticated formats naturally develop from this, most articles/content adhere to this basic formula.
- THE INTERNET FACTOR
Until this point, the above items universally apply to all types of business writing. In fact, some points become even more relevant, such as brevity and facts over opinion, BECAUSE the potential audience is more diverse and easily distracted. And, too, writing successfully for the internet is very much like walking a tight-rope without a net because there is no editor to review the work, no fact-checker to be certain of the details. The writer, themselves, must supply these and their own reputation -- rather than a magazine's or department's -- will be casuality if they fail.
Plus, the proverbial "wow" factor must be considered. Because, while it is much easier to publish something on the internet, ironically enough, it also becomes much harder to find a significant audience. To compensate for this, a certain amount of leniency is afforded, true. But that leniency is limited, too.
About The Author
MARIGE O'BRIEN works as a writer, web designer and Internet Marketer. Visit her newly re-designed website, Tracker Mo's Den (http://www.trackermo.com) for her latest recommendations in i-marketing tools and biz opps. Sign up for her own 100% original newsletter, Tracker Mo's Report.