The A-2-Z of business blog writing: W is for Writing Style

blogs,blogging,business,writing style,blog posts,articles,communication,Suzan St Maur,

Conversational writing style does not mean
“as messy as live conversation…”

Many so-called blogging experts write exhaustively on how important it is to be yourself, natural, relaxed and everyday in the writing style for your business blog. When you meet some of them face to face you soon realize that their blogging style is vastly different from how they speak in real life.

Much as I agree that your writing style in your blogging must be as close as possible to what and who you really are, it’s nonsense to say that you should write exactly  as you speak. F-2-F conversation is littered with “ums,” “ahs,” grunts and other things you wouldn’t want to include in your written work.

More important, though, is that a live conversation tends to go around in circles, up hills, down valleys and off at tangents which, if you were to transcribe it verbatim, would make no sense at all.

So how do we get a writing style that’s “as people speak?”

Basically, we take the way you speak as our raw material, and then give it structure so it can appear as coherent text. Here is an adapted excerpt from one of my books, “Business Writing Made Easy,” which suggest how you can do this…

To write as people speak instantly knocks down barriers and makes your message seem friendlier, more plausible, and so more attractive.  The internet has done a wonderful job of championing this style of writing and has made it pretty well mandatory.  And of course its influence has been championed to a huge extent in blogging.

Ah, easy though it sounds, achieving that fluency and simplicity of style isn’t the piece of cake it appears to be.  If for no other reason, most of us have had the “formal” brand of English brainwashed into our minds from schooldays and that’s a hard one to eradicate.

So what’s the answer?

Talk, don’t write.

When you’re writing a blog post, forget the fact that you have to commit words to paper or screen.  Instead imagine you’re talking to a typical member of your audience.

You’ll be amazed at how much easier the writing process becomes when you do this.  That’s because most of us are much more familiar with “talk” mode than we are with “write” mode, so in “talk” mode our thoughts flow more easily.

However, basic conversation tends to ramble. So it makes sense to plan your “talk” around a structure of short bullet points, so you don’t stray.

Then “talk” away.  Ideally, record it, transcribe it, then edit and tidy it up – and restructure it if necessary.  If you can’t physically record it then imagine yourself talking through and write down those words, followed by re-structuring, editing and tidying.

It works. Even if you only have a few minutes to get the job done, it still works.  And your business blog writing will be all the more effective for it.

Some hints on how to sharpen up your writing style a bit

As I mentioned above, live conversation tends to be a bit messy, so it’s a good idea to tidy it up by removing all unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, and replace vague or passive phrases with more direct, active voice.

Whatever you do, however, don’t replace informal phrases with jargon or corporate-speak!

If you’re writing a blog post that appears without an attribution to an individual – e.g. a company blog post – ensure that the writing style to be used is agreed with all who need to agree it, and fight tooth and nail to keep the business waffle and corporate bragging out of it.

When you’re editing and tidying, don’t get carried away. Over-editing is almost as bad as under-editing, because it strangles the personality out of the blog post and makes it come over as staccato and antiseptic.

What advice do you have for us about writing style in business blog posts? Please share!

photo credit: außerirdische sind gesund via photopin cc




  1. Suzan,

    Be present. In the here and now words just flow naturally. I write from a relaxed place. No forcing, no worrying, so “me” naturally flows onto the page.

    Great tips.

  2. I will often “write” a post whilst out for a brisk walk around a beautiful lake, or even the village I live in. In fact, they are the best posts!

    The trick sometimes is remembering them, but I just keep talking to myself as I walk. The villagers think I’m odd – but they’re obviously good judges of character.

    • LOL Jon … why don’t you switch on the record gizmo on your phone and then talk into that? Sorts out a) remembering it all and b) villagers thinking you’re off your trolley … 😉

  3. Aha, that’s because my walks are digital detox (and maybe I am off my trolley)

    • Digital detox – what a good idea. I even take my phone with me when I’m riding a horse. Always laugh when I remember getting a call from my lawyer once while I was out on the horse.

      He was a bit of a grumpy Scot and said, “what the hell are you doing? Playing with some bloody coconut shells?”

      He got even more grumpy when I told him I was riding a horse down a road…


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