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Twice a year the University of Iowa Journalism School, where I graduated in 2001, holds a speed networking event between students and professionals.
They’ve done that like 17 times and Paul Jensen, former Gazette photo editor, is the mastermind behind it. I try to attend when I’m not traveling and enjoy it immensely to hear what students have to say.
One discussion was especially enlightening in 2018. A student mentioned something about the importance of business writing.
Tell me more.
I was expecting a response that discusses how business communication is formal and along those lines.
I was pleasantly surprised.
The student continued that business writing must be:
- Easily digestible
- Sub headlines
- Short paragraphs
- Sometimes use bulleted lists over run-on sentences
Oh, yes. Thank you. Following those methods – which are also best web writing practices – makes content consumption easier.
At the very least on digital. And if you send an email “memo” or a note on Basecamp, don’t expect people to print it. I know I don’t.
But what I loved about the discussion was that it wasn’t about a channel! It was about business communication.
And let’s be honest here. A lot of business communication is terribly written. There are subtle messages that aren’t explained. Run-on paragraphs are a disease!
So yes, business communication is about actually communicating. That’s also the goal of those digital writing techniques.
We know that these techniques make consumption easier:
Read next: Some web content is just too long!
Personally, short paragraphs come relatively naturally to me – maybe because I grew up in journalism. And that’s even a thing in print journalism.
One time, an editor told me though that one-sentence paragraphs really shouldn’t be a thing. “I understand the intent, Christoph.”
Business communication is hard enough as it is with conflicting agendas, internal politics that eat up our days, and our audiences not understanding the intended message – for one reason or another.
Using digital marketing and web writing strategies can help us be clearer and get to understanding quicker!
Read on LinkedIn: How taking screen shots is now a journalism skill!