Business Writing: What Is It Exactly?

Thursday, July 14, 2011
With the economy in a tailspin, we all know that freelance writing gigs can be tough to get. Some magazines and newspapers have closed their doors; others are only working with staff writers to keep costs down. So, to pick up some freelance work and put some of that green stuff back in your pocketbook, you might consider business writing. You’ve probably heard the old pros mention that they do quite a bit of business writing, and it’s often more lucrative and easier to find than magazine and newspaper work. But what does this term business writing mean exactly?

External Communication

One of the most common types of business writing is when a company hires a freelance writer to create materials for public viewing. The writer’s job is part writing and part public relations as she produces materials that communicate with potential and current customers. Small- to medium-sized businesses are more likely to hire freelancers for these jobs because they don’t have the budget to pay a staff writer (or provide benefits like health insurance), or they don’t have enough regular work to keep a writer busy forty hours a week.

If a company hires you to work on external communication projects, you could be writing:
•    Newsletters
•    Letters
•    Brochures
•    Press Releases
•    Blogs
•    Website copy
•    Ads
•    E-mails
•    Presentations
•    Reports
•    Social Networking Profiles

For example, I’m currently working with a psychologist who is creating a parenting brochure for her clients. I’m taking her technical jargon and making it more parent-friendly, as well as adding practical examples that parents can relate to.

Many businesses today create newsletters or brochures full of helpful tips, projects, recipes, community information, and more to create a relationship with their customers. A hardware store could hire you to create a bi-monthly newsletter full of do-it-yourself projects and highlighting ways the store is helping in the community. A photographer might want to create a newsletter or brochure around the holidays offering photo-taking tips with some special offers he’s planning for Valentine’s Day. A coffee shop might have newsletters available for customers to read while drinking coffee. Some non-profit organizations will also hire freelance writers to work on similar projects. Someone has to write these materials; and in these examples, the owners of the business might want to hire an outside writer since their areas of expertise are not in communications.

 Internal Communication

Another type of business writing is when a company hires a writer to communicate with employees. All of the writing is done internally like in employee newsletters, memos, and e-mail campaigns. For example, a company might want to improve employee/administration relationships, but the department heads are already swamped. So a writer comes in and creates positive materials highlighting hard-working employees or announcing new programs to improve the work environment.

CEOs or department heads will also hire writers to put together reports or power point presentations for staff meetings. For example, a local shoe store with several business partners participated in a recent marketing campaign on radio, television, print, and the Internet. The marketing director has several pieces of information to present to the partners on which marketing strategy was the most cost-effective, and he needs a writer to gather this information into a cohesive presentation.

Although being hired as a writer for internal communication is less likely, there are business executives out there looking for experts to help them communicate with employees in a positive and concise manner.

So, start brainstorming--do you know any business owners that might need a freelancer? Can you contact them with a sample of your work? Stay tuned for part two of business writing, which will be posted next week on July 20! There will be more tips on how to get started and find jobs.

Post by Margo L. Dill; To find out more about Margo, visit her website or check out the online classes she teaches for WOW! 

photo by semihundido


Sioux Roslawski said...

What a great post, and perfect timing, too. I've been doing some copywriting for a pittance, and would like to try and venture out.

I look forward to part two.

Margo Dill said...

Great, Sioux. Glad this helped you! :)

Kristi's Book Nook said...

This is an excellent post and the direction I want to head in. I have done this work at a few companies I have worked for and want to get back into it with the small business owner as my target. I look forward to future posts. Thanks.

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