July 2018

Top 13 Business Writing Problems and Solutions

Whether you’re writing a memo, an e-mail, a letter, a plan, or a report, every piece of business writing must be clear, concise, and mistake-free, as it can’t afford to create any confusion among the targeted readers. One small mistake may result in thousands of dollars in loss of profit.

In this article, we’ll identify the top 13 business writing problems and their solutions.

1. Typos

Typos turn readers off immediately. While Microsoft Word comes with a decent spellchecking capability, it’s better to use a more comprehensive editing app. One option is ProWritingAid, which comes with extensive spellchecking, grammar checking, and plagiarism checking, in addition to 22 other types of writing and editing reports.

2. Grammatical and punctuation errors

No one wants to write with grammatical and punctuation errors. To solve this problem, an editing software would be a good investment. You can get your work edited while also learn along the way.

3. Too many jargons

While it’s always tempting to write with many business and technical jargons, most likely the readers aren’t too pleased. A piece of business writing isn’t a place to show off, but an instrument to get things done. Thus, refrain from using complex and vague jargons, like “synergy” and “high performance.” Describe what you meant by them in easy-to-understand words or sentences.

4. Too many abstract words

When you want to describe something as “excellent,” be clear about it. What’s so good about the incident? Describe the details. Refrain from using too many abstract or superlative words without explaining them with measurable information.

5. Long words

Use short words if the synonyms are available. It’s always better to write understandable letters or reports than vague and hard-to-understand ones. Long words may cause more confusion than shorter ones.

6. Long and complex sentences

Divide a long, complex sentence into 2 short, simple sentences for better readability. Remember that most readers read at Grade 8 level. You can check your work’s reading level with Hemingway App or Readable.io.

7. Too much text

Don’t cram too much text in a page. While single spacing is acceptable, give a one-inch margin throughout. The more white spaces in a page, the more likely the psychological effect would be, according to a study.

8. Abbreviations and acronyms

Whenever you use abbreviations and acronyms, include what they stand for in brackets. This way, readers who aren’t familiar with them can learn what they mean. Overall, refrain from sprinkling too many abbreviations and acronyms in a text.

9. Making vague claims

You can praise someone, but be clear on their achievement. It’s easy to make vague claims, but hard to prove them. Whenever possible, use measurable information, so whatever you’re referring to will be understood better.

10. Wrong level of details

Depending on the recipient of the memo or report, the level of details would vary. You’d need to find out who will be reading the piece, so you can appropriately cater to the level of details.

11. Inappropriate tone

A piece of business writing is usually formal. However, occasionally, some pieces require a particular tone. Does this report need to sound more technical because the readers are engineers? How about this flyer? Who will be reading it? Adjust your writing tone based on the readers.

12. Using the writer’s point of view

You write for the readers, not for yourself. Therefore, you’d need to use their point of view, not yours. In business and marketing collaterals, “persona” refers to semi-fictionalized character based on an actual customer. This being said, always remember the persona of the piece you’re writing.

13. Brain dumping

Never just dump whatever it’s in your mind onto the keyboard. Brain dumping is a big no-no in business. Just because you’re thinking in so many directions, it doesn’t mean you should type them down and have people read. A business writing is focused, formal, and concise.

In conclusion, business writing may sound challenging. However, as soon as you’ve recognized the common problems, there are proven solutions ready to be applied. Remember always to keep things simple, short, and sweet. The goal of your writing is getting things done, not to impress anyone with your language skills.

About the Author

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is also a digital strategist for several e-commerce and app companies. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, Positively Positive, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com.

Market your brand with ‘made-for-Instagram’ moments

It’s no secret that the marketing tricks which worked on our parents and grandparents don’t do the trick for us. The world has changed almost beyond recognition, and with it the channels and tactics that advertisers use.

The world of online marketing has opened up a whole new can of worms for marketers, with clever tricks such as targeted advertising, influencer marketing and paid-for-content. We’ve got a few ideas about how you can create made-for-Instagram moments – with the help of a booking agency.

In the last few years, Instagram has emerged as one of the most widely used and popular social media channels. Relying on photos rather than text, it’s birthed a whole new wave of Instagram influencers and encouraged us to go to ever more ridiculous lengths for the perfect selfie.

It’s also spawned Instagram tropes; the shots and types of image that are replicated time and time again, because they perform well and fit the Instagram aesthetic. From hot foodie trends (bubble waffles and ice bars) to fashion moments (slogan straw hats) and flatlays, a very specific ‘look’ has grown up around the channel.

Marketers have already pounced on the Insta-aesthetic to promote their brands; by creating displays, events and products that are Insta-ready, PRs can gain free or very cost-effective coverage on one of the hottest channels of 2018.

Take for instance Peggy Porschen bakery in London’s swanky Belgravia area. In recent years it’s become one of the most photographed eateries in London – and it’s all thanks to the twee pink shop front, old fashioned bicycle parked outside and glorious floral arch over the entrance.

And all those people turning up to take a snap are sure to pop in and buy something while they’re at it – driving profits. In fact, the insta-friendly exterior has been such a success that other businesses have followed suit; on some streets in Belgravia you can barely move for floral arches and flower walls.

It’s an easy thing for you and the brand you are representing to capitalise on – all you need to do is keep a finger on the pulse of what’s hot on Instagram, and you could score some free advertising. Novelty is always a key driver for what’s hot on Instagram, which is why the Aperol Canal stunt in Shoreditch this summer worked well, and social media fans flooded to a free exhibition of sets from the film Isle of Dogs.

Photo opportunities with celebrities can also be a huge draw for the Instagram generation, and can provide great exposure for your brand. For example, a meet-and-greet with an of-the-moment celebrity promoting your product in front of a branded backdrop for bloggers and instagram could see photos of your event going all over the world.

 

For a really current celebrity, why not think about a former Love-Islander? You’ll find lots of Love Island celebrities from the last three years of the show on the books at MN2S talent agents London. Give them a ring to find out more.

 

There’s an Easy New Way to Find Lost Relatives and Friends

Have you ever wondered what happened to the friends and family members you used to know? When was the last time you spoke to your old school friends? Are there people in your life whom you have lost contact with that you would desperately like to see again? If so, there is a whole new online system that may just make it happen. You can consult NY public records to find info on friends and family members who you may have thought were lost to you forever. The system is quick and easier than ever for you to make use of.

When You Lose Sight of Friends, it doesn’t have to Be Forever

It’s no fun losing touch with friends. There may be a million reasons why the separation occurred in the first place. They may have moved away. Their parents may have gotten divorced. You may have been the one who moved. It may have been due to a misunderstanding that resulted in the loss of a cherished friend. Whatever the reason may be, you can make use of the power of the world wide web to set things. The new Intelius site is at your disposal to help you find the friends or family members that you want more than anything to see again.

It’s Hard to Lose a Loved One, But a Great Joy to See Them Again

The pain of losing a best friend is nothing to laugh at. Many people have gone into a deep depression over the loss of a close friend or family member. But if they are not gone from this world, there is every chance that you can finally get back in touch with them. The secret is to make use of the new power of online info technology. The web stores practically every bit of data that has ever been created in the past hundred years. If the person you are seeking can be found anywhere in the state of New York, chances are good that the new online white pages will find them for you.

Are You Ready to Find Your Friend? The Online White Pages Can Help You

If you are serious about finding someone who lives in the state of New York, the new online white pages are the best method for you to trace them with. You can use the system to find all of the friends, relatives, and loved ones that you may have lost contact with over the years. No matter who they are, if they can be found anywhere on the Earth, chances are good that you will find them with this new system.

Should I Integrate a Chatbot Into My Business’s Website?

Artificial intelligence has been around for decades, but it is finally available for small and mid-sized businesses to use for themselves. No, you cannot purchase robots to do manual labor for you—yet—but there are smaller AI applications that are making life easier for business owners and streamlining processes.

One such application is the “chatbot.” Chatbots are computer programs that are programmed to simulate conversations with human internet users. You have probably encountered them as you browse; they often appear as little collapsable windows in the corner of a significant number of websites. Instead of calling customer support, all you need to do is type in a question, and the bot interacts with you to the best of its ability. Chatbots are a popular trend right now—so is one appropriate for your business website?

 

Benefits of chatbots: customer experience

 

Chatbots are sought after for their remarkable customer service abilities. Many websites have their own search bars, but chatbots are like having a personal assistant available to answer more detailed questions in a friendly manner. Some consumers would even consider chatbots to be the new standard of UX design (as long as they are convincingly human enough, and their presence is relevant to the business). Human employees cannot work 24/7, but chatbots allow late-night website visitors constant access to customer service.

 

Personalization is an experience that encourages a potential or first-time customer to become a loyal one, so conversing with an amiable bot makes visitors feel taken care of. Chatbots Magazine notes that bots equipped with Natural Language Processing can decode human users’ natural language—such as semantics, syntax, speech, discourse, and so on—to better understand user intent, rather than overly relying on keywords. Well-designed chatbots are more prepared to comprehend human psychology and therefore provide more tailored customer service.

 

Automation

 

Chatbots do not only answer questions; they can stay with a customer for the entire duration of their experience on your website. Linnworks mentions that chatbots can assume several business-running responsibilities, such as executing operational tasks and marketing. They can automate order processes at low cost and smoothly integrate with customers’ social media channels.

 

They can also deter online shopping cart abandonment. Any business owner has probably experienced this frustration at some point, but chatbot developers can integrate payment system APIs (like PayPal) into the chatbot itself, which simplifies the checkout process. You also have more potential customers as well, because chatbot platforms can work across different stores.

 

Is a chatbot for you?

 

While chatbots certainly have their advantages, they are not perfect for everyone. While they are examples of artificial intelligence, readily available chatbots do not exactly employ “machine learning.” This means that while bots may be designed as human-sounding as possible, they still operate on an existing set of programmed responses and cannot truly improvise. Anomalies may stump them, so depending on your business type and its associated intricacies, customers may find chatbots more frustrating than helpful.

 

Some customers even find chatbots annoying, especially if they continuously bombard them with messages. A basic introductory pop-up is acceptable, but pushy or aggressive bots drive customers away. Some website visitors do not have the patience for them to begin with (around 25 percent of users drop off after the second message, and 40 percent never engage after the first one), so even well-designed chatbots may find themselves ignored.

 

Of course, the nature of your business will determine the necessity of a chatbot. Companies that offer services (like e-commerce retail and travel) can benefit from them, but there is no substitute for human interaction when it comes to business-to-business companies with more nuanced operations.

 

How do you integrate the technology?

 

If you decide that a chatbot is right for your website, then there are multiple ways to obtain one. NativeMsg reports that available options include building one from scratch, working with an NLP/NLU-based platform, or using a simple chatbot builder.

 

The former route is the most challenging, but also the most flexible. You can customize whatever you want about your chatbot, therefore exercising more influence over your customers’ experiences (and there is more opportunity for legitimate machine-learning). However, you and your team will need to be excellent coders (or a hired freelancer) with enough technological knowledge to construct a sufficient application with languages like Java and Python.

 

The latter options are more accessible for businesses without tech-savvy team members. Some platforms offer detailed guidance on how to build a chatbot, making it simple to construct and integrate one quickly.

 

Chatbots are a revolutionary tool, but they may distract customers rather than aid them if not done properly. Do you plan to implement a chatbot into your website?