Writing Professional Documents From a Reader-Centered Perspective

             

Some years ago, a company with a new odor-eliminating spray was trying to launch its product but not having much luck. The marketing campaign was great, as it showed people defeating unpleasant odors around their homes, but no one was buying. Then the company discovered something strange: people didn't think they needed an odor control spray because they had become acclimated to the odors of their own home! Those who were buying bought because they liked the burst of pleasant scent as part of their cleaning routine. The company shifted its advertising , and the brand took off.

Writing professional documents requires reader-centered writing, an understanding of what the reader wants and needs. Here are some things to consider when writing business documents:

  • Always be aware of your audience. Who are they? What are their pain points? What do they find persuasive?
  • What does your audience expect from your document? A solution to an outstanding problem? Information? Guidance?
  • What do you want to accomplish, and how is your audience related to the people who can make that happen? A product ad may be read directly by the consumer, but a resume may be screened by someone other than the hiring manager, for example.
  • How will the document, not the information, be used? Will the document reference material that will be kept for a long time, or will the audience's engagement be transitory, as is the case with a television commercial?
  • What's your audience's reading level in the context in which they'll read? You may be writing business documents toward technically minded folks like engineers, but via a  direct email that will catch them at a casual time.

Hurley Write, Inc. offers a variety of professional business writing courses, training workshops, and resources to help you become an expert at writing business documents. To learn more about professional business writing or to enroll, contact Hurley Write, Inc.


Image via  Shutterstock.com

 
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