Currently browsing: Content Matters

Finding the Story Part 3: The Power of Tweet And Other Tips

The first two blogs in this series looked at why the idea of story is so appealing and why it is such a useful tool in business writing – because it conveys the hook, the core – which is our key meaning and purpose in business writing.

In all business writing the common element is impact. You are looking to make an impact, and the core message or story will help determine whether you have one and what it will be.

This final blog in the series takes a practical view, focusing first on the power that Twitter has to make you condense your story into very few characters; and then offering some further touchstones on summarising effectively, to help you really get to the story.

Finding the Story Part 2: The Hook, The Core

In the first blog in this series I talked about the narrative definition of story – the story as a tale – with a beginning, a middle and an end, a plot.

I talked about the idea of seven universal plots, reinforcing the idea that stories are able to connect us because they are so familiar: there are, after all, so few of them.

This time I want to get more specific about the idea of the story in business writing and what it means. This goes more to the journalistic definition of story. A hard-nosed, punchy, shorthand, news item which conveys something that has happened or should happen.

Story in this sense means the hook, the core. The heart of what you want to say, distilled to a singular (and interesting) essence, with no extraneous detail, colour or frills.

It hooks the reader in and makes them want to read more. It’s the core essence of what you want to say.

Finding the Story Part 1: The Appeal of Stories

Storytelling in business is fashionable and popular, including in financial services.

There is a large body of academic literature on the topic, specialist consultancies, training courses, websites and blogs all drawing our attention to the power of narrative.

Business storytelling has great appeal to experts, service providers and customers alike. Using stories helps make business more interesting. It helps us engage with subject matter that otherwise might be technical and dull.

Stories are a refreshing alternative to the jargonized consulting-speak that is widespread in business writing, especially financial services.

Stories are compelling. People love them. This blog explains why, without going into detail about the psychology, science or typology of storytelling, which is a whole topic on its own.

Writing for Business: helping you write better business English

Business writing skills have never been more in demand.

Almost everyone in their daily work needs to write clear, accurate business English.

Whether this is in the form of emails, letters, reports, minutes, digital copy, marketing materials, technical manuals or other formats.

Even tweets are increasingly a marketing tool for both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) communications.

Yet not everyone is confident that their business writing skills are up to the standard they would like. Many people working in communications departments, HR or marketing teams, regardless of their native language, strive to write refined and polished business copy.

People working in IT or quantitative fields are often less comfortable writing business English than they are dealing with code or numbers. Many see the need to obtain specific training in business writing skills, to help them reach an even better standard of written English.