Many small-business owners don't think of themselves as writers, but writing can play a central role in running a successful business. Writing can help create meaningful narratives, strengthen connections to customers, and build a strong brand. The goal of creative writing in business is to create true stories and content that resonates with your audience.
What is creative writing?
At its core, creative writing is any writing that isn’t strictly academic or technical, such as poems, plays, or songs. When you write creatively, you can tap into your own unique experiences to create something new.
Creative writing can be used in business in a number of different ways. Sharing your brand story on your company website or creating a compelling blog or social media post is often based on creative writing. For your company's website copy, a dash of creativity woven throughout can help make your message more meaningful to your audience.
It’s about finding a way to develop and convey an idea to your audience effectively – the trademark of a solid piece of creative writing.
Tips for Creative Writing in Business
Try these tips to help bring your writing and brand to life.
1. Tell stories.
Storytelling is essential to the art of doing business. Telling the story of your brand, product, or service in a blog post or on social media, for example, is a way to connect with prospects and customers and give them a deeper understanding of your company. Your stories can take the form of everything from online posts to e-books, but no matter the form, it can help to consider the traditional elements of stories: plot, setting, and character. Think of these to help craft meaningful stories your audience will notice and remember.
2. Observe the world.
Good writing begins with being alert to the world beyond your brand. Watch, listen, and take note of industry trends, work culture trends, and more. Observe yourself, as well as your employees and customers, then translate those observations into stories that establish thought leadership.
3. Keep a journal.
It’s not always easy to find time to write every day, but doing so can make you a stronger writer. Having a journal can help you make writing a daily activity. Jot down your ideas, thoughts and questions, then return to them later to see if you can develop them into something more. This is a low-pressure way to get into the habit of writing: try not to judge your writing immediately, but use it as a springboard for ideas.
Freewriting or brainstorming can help make connections that lead to great ideas. You might be surprised at the ideas you can come up with by freewriting. Start with a question to answer or an image you want to build a story around – and see where your writing takes you.
5. Share your writing.
Getting feedback on your writing can help you grow. Having others read and comment on your work can make it stronger and give you ideas for ways to develop it further. It can also help you feel more motivated to continue writing.
6. Use active verbs.
Avoid passive voice whenever possible. For example, instead of writing, “Our wine was determined to be the best in the region,” write, “Customers voted our wine the most delicious merlot in the region." Strong verbs show action, and action sells.
7. Write catchy openings.
Novelists and journalists find ways to compel the reader to keep reading. Quickly draw your readers in with a surprising image, an intriguing statement, or a vivid scene – anything that will get them wanting to find out what happens next.
8. Simplify the language.
The best writing often gets right to the point without flowery language. Use strong, descriptive, and poetic language, and don’t use big words just to sound impressive. That can be an easy way to lose your audience's interest and attention.
9. Consider your audience.
Think about who your audience is, what they expect and what they want, then tailor your writing for that audience. Avoid jargon, for instance, if your audience isn’t likely to understand it. Consider all writing as a kind of sales: you want people to buy your stories and ideas.
Consider creative writing an essential tool for engaging your audience and growing your business. The best way to get better at creative writing is to do it more often.
A version of this article was originally published on October 20, 2014.
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