Writing takes all forms. You may think of writing as novels, screenplays, and poetry, but in the business world, writing is a skill and an art. Depending on your industry, you may be required to produce white papers, press releases, manuals, business contracts, or articles for print. All of us handle email, resumes, and cover letters.
Not everyone is born with a natural skill for writing. Each of us has the ability, however, to follow a process of writing that will at least produce a decent piece of content. Using basic skills such as brainstorming, mapping, and outlining, anyone can create a solid draft for revision. In the end, it can save you money, through driving sales and boosting professional reputation.
To illustrate, we will assume you are putting together a brief article about your business for a blog. In the first stage of writing, called pre-writing, you write down the subject, audience, and purpose of your piece of content. Your subject might be your latest product release. The audience would be your customers and potential customers. Your purpose would be to introduce a new item that would offer some benefit to the user by saving them time or money or a new way of doing something. The definition of your audience is significant since you would use different vocabulary, tone, and level of detail based on who you were “talking” to. Make sure your tone also matches the audience as well.
Next, develop the main topic by brainstorming supporting ideas in a list. Begin writing down all the ideas that fall under the main idea in any related form. If you are a visual learner, mapping out the ideas can help you to see how the ideas might be related to one another. Mind mapping may already be familiar to you from your strategic planning activities. You can also free write ideas in sentences in no particular order. Just get the ideas down on paper.
Out of all your ideas, mark out the most interesting ones and begin to connect related ideas through lines or color coding. Cross out ideas that you do not want to include. Choose your best supporting ideas and create an outline. Use your outline to create a rough draft.
Revising starts at the 30,000 foot level and becomes more detailed as you progress. Start by asking yourself what you were trying to accomplish in the draft. Identify areas you feel are weak and could use more support. Acknowledge areas that are written well. Ensure unity through the draft. All points made should be guiding the reader through to the next one. The content should make sense to the lowest level reader in the audience. Define technical terms if needed.
Your next step is to review style, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling. It could be helpful to have someone else read your paper to look for these items. Take your revisions and make a second draft. It is acceptable to go through the revision process more than once. Just don’t sacrifice being done with being perfect.
This general process of writing can be used for almost any type of written content. In business, you get one chance to make a first impression. Taking the time to think through your writing can make the best impression.
As always, give us a call at Chameleon Group to discuss how we can partner with you for success.