Here come the Holidays, so who needs business writing? Ah, but…

As you’re reading this – especially if you’re in the UK – the last thing on your mind will be what you need to write for business in the coming two weeks.

HTWB Xmas biz writingYour to-do list will be heaving with everything from gift shopping to picking up the turkey to getting your tax return in order (well, you should, according to my accountant) to cleaning up after the office party to wondering how to stop your cat from shattering the Christmas tree all over your living room carpet.

Look on the bright side – you’ll soon be free to think about business writing 2016 (LOL!)

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Is print really dead, or has it just been sleeping?

Is print really dead, or has it just been sleeping?

Books or printed articles take you into another world where you get lost in the richness of the vocabulary.

Does printed content have a role in our future? Or is it dead in the water? I asked UK-based billing, payroll and printing consultant Caroline McCormack to share her views…

Can you imagine a world without any printed publications, books, catalogues, and leaflets? [Read more…]

Why you should know what I do for the day job

If you need some help to inject more inspiration, zap and money-making effectiveness into your business writing, you’ve found the right writer. And yes: this is a b*lls-out, no BS promotional post. Why?

Suzan St Maur,writing,written,blogging for business,articles,ghostwriting,website text,social media,print,speeches,book coaching

Horse riding (especially dressage)
is a favorite hobby of mine.
In this shot, the horse is on the right…;-)

Because for the last three-and-a-half years I have been posting here on HTWB about topics to help you  write better, by yourself.

But there may well come a time when you need some external help with your content writing. Here’s a way to finding a solution you might find beneficial, and long term, profitable. [Read more…]

Back to business basics: bad text, good text


Have we overlooked how to
write good marketing text?

In our never-ending quest for bigger and better altruistic, non-salesy blog posts, it’s easy to forget that marketing writing is still an important part of the business portfolio.

It’s a little alarming, therefore, to see that many smaller businesses, in particular, may be blogging away quite cheerfully but still produce marketing and sales copy on their websites and in their printed promotional material, that’s positively incestuous in its “we-wee” focus and makes the customer-to-be feel about as welcome as a t*rd in a swimming pool. [Read more…]

Why printed newsletters can be modern goldmines

Are printed newsletters relics of a bygone offline age? No way. Partly thanks to the internet, a well-written, well-designed printed business newsletter has regained a new prestige that sells your brand almost better than your online marketing communications. Want to cash in? Here’s how…

A smart printed newsletter, whether the online geeks like it or not, commands more respect and attention than an online communication, no matter how many gadgets and whizzing bow ties the web designers throw at it. An online newsletter can be “disappeared” at a click, but a piece of print is harder to ignore. Psychologically it’s harder for the reader to ignore, too; especially if there are some attention grabbing headlines, attractive, inviting design, and a quality feel to the whole thing.

Whereas reading online newsletters has become something of a chore for business people, reading a printed communication is something they often do to relax over a cup of coffee and give their eyes a break from reading and working on a screen. Particularly if your business is connected in some way with leisure or other personally pleasing activity, a printed newsletter about it will not only be read, but also enjoyed, almost as a treat.

Where it can all go horribly wrong

If we’re not very careful, print newsletters can fall prey to the same self-indulgent and boring content as the misguided, subjective, self-congratulatory press releases so many organisations issue. Only this time, it’s worse.  It’s not just a few paragraphs of self-indulgent drivel; it’s two, four or even eight pages of stuff that’s of tremendous interest to the writers and instigators, but usually of no interest to the readers.

Of course, if the newsletter is directed only to staff or another purely internal group, the fact that there is a certain degree of family indulgence, will help. But do you really want to bore your staff? And here’s another thing to chew over: staff newsletters often find their way into the hands of suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.

So, what’s the key to getting the content, tone and style right? You need to place yourself firmly in the shoes of the audience and ensure that your content is of interest to them.

Information that offers genuine value for readers

Newsletters are of much greater value to the reader if they contain information that is of genuine, generic use to them – information that helps them do their jobs better, or in some other way improves their daily life. Very few people these days are stupid enough to be fooled by the thinly disguised advertising blurb masquerading as “useful” editorial. Yet all too often I see companies spending quite large sums of money on customer newsletters that really do put the “junk” into junk mail.

All it takes to turn a boring, totally subjective newsletter into a useful, interesting one is a little time and imagination, not big bucks.

*A car dealership’s quarterly newsletter can not only announce the latest new model launches and new staff appointments, but also include a seasonal maintenance checklist … how to drive safely in winter conditions … ideas on how to keep the kids entertained on long car trips … security and anti-theft tips … dates of future roadworks/construction that may cause congestion … etc.

*An accountancy firm can send out information on how new legislation affects local or regional businesses, how new tax laws should be interpreted, tips and advice on how to fill out personal tax returns, tips for small businesses and self-employed people on how to record their expenses more efficiently, etc.

*An investment company can send out information to business customers that updates them on the latest corporate issues and how those apply to individual companies, and also include advice on personal investments, pension plans, even advice for readers’ families, e.g. saving for college/university loans and the best savings plans to set up for children, trust funds, etc.

All of the information I’ve described above would not cost much to procure – probably just a matter of a few phone calls, a couple of hours surfing the net, and a day or two of someone’s time putting it all together.  Obviously you need to be careful not to use other organizations’ copyright material without permission, but in my experience most organizations will cheerfully grant you permission provided that you credit them appropriately.

What a difference this type of content makes to an organization’s external newsletter!  You instantly gain the respect or your readers, because you’re giving them something tangible without asking them for anything in return.  And this can only reflect in one way on your business relationship with them. That’s why I firmly believe that high quality printed newsletters, while maybe not “the new black,” are certainly gaining ground as paper goldmines to strengthen your brand, customer loyalty and ultimately, sales.

Now, let’s get your writing right for a successful newsletter:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English