More business than ever is now conducted through writing, rather than face to face. Twenty years ago, you may have walked down the hall or held a meeting to talk to someone, but now you’re more likely to send an email. This shift in business culture means strong business writing skills are more important than ever before.

If you’re worried about your skills, you’re not alone. It’s easy to brush up on the fundamentals and learn the tricks to communicate more effectively in writing. These tips will show you how.

Be clear and concise

The first thing you need to learn is how to be clear in what you say. Everyone you communicate with is busy, dealing with overflowing inboxes every day. That means you need to be explicit in conveying your message, or you risk your email finding the trash folder a little too quickly.

A good way of doing this is to put your main point in the first sentence of your message.

Know your audience

Different people in varying roles across other businesses and your own require different styles of writing. In the same way you tailor a business pitch differently depending on who you’re talking to, you should keep your audience in mind when it comes to all business writing.

Plan your approach

Before you start writing, plan what you’re going to say. This applies to any kind of writing – from blog posts to email to business plans.

The best way to do this is to write a draft or outline of the key points you need to hit on. Write it, come away from it for a while, and then come back. You can see where your message works, and what needs adjusting before the message is sent.

Proofread and edit

Once you’ve written a draft, don’t send it right away. If you’re following these tips, then you’ll have a draft you can work with. When you come back to the draft, take a look for areas that can be improved.

Don’t just edit once, either. Take the time to go over the message a few times, really paying attention to what can be changed to make the message more effective. Try reading out loud and ask a third party to lend another pair of eyes.

Have someone else read your writing

It’s hard to get better at writing if you’re not getting feedback. One of the best ways to see where you need to improve is to have someone else read your writing. This can either be a professional, or a trusted friend or colleague.

Whoever it is, ask them to check your writing and offer feedback.

Don’t be afraid to get creative

You may not think creativity has a place in business writing, but you’d be surprised. The more creative your writing is, the more likely it is that your reader is going to pay attention to it. After all, they read thousands of words online every day – you need to give them a reason to give you the time of day.

Be accurate

Whatever you’re writing, you need to ensure that you’re getting your facts straight. A small mistake may not seem like much now, but they can really become a problem later down the line.

Write more

Finally, the most important tip when you’re improving your business writing is to keep writing. It’s just like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. The results are worth it when you see just how much you’ve improved, and when those skills begin to make a real difference for your business.

See our online business writing course