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The Different Types of Business Writing (And How to Use Them)

  • Posted by Adam Hoff
  • 28 July 2018

Business writing is so diverse. So much so that you may sometimes wonder what style you are supposed to adopt when writing documents for various uses. Several companies have come up with their own personalized style of writing that applies to their specific industry. There are also specific writing skills and tips required for technical writers. If you are an owner of a business, you probably have realized that different scenarios call for a variety of business writing. You may, for instance, need to write to prospective clients, suppliers, employees or even business agencies that you are working with. 


The entire field of business writing, thankfully, can be reduced to four categories of documents. Every group has a particular objective that the writer intends to achieve. This is a broad classification of all business documents. This means that a majority of the documents fall into these groups. This write up intends to discuss the four types of business writing and possible areas of application. This information will prove to be very helpful in guiding your choice of the document based on the objective you intend to achieve. 


  1. Informational writing


Not all information is supposed to be acted upon. A greater amount of business writing is done to create a reference or keep records of business dealings. This group of documents has to do with the less attractive documents but which are still necessary for the day to day running of any organization. It is absolutely necessary that you create a culture of detailed, consistent and accurate recording of information in your business if you hope to make progress, be able to predict future events and even be able to keep compliant with contractual and legal requirements. Examples of documents in this category include:

  • Reports: Through reports, your organization can communicate technical information, keep records of tasks that have been completed, record daily occurrences at the firm, provide recommendations for future action and also provide a reference to guide policy adoption in the future. Reports take up a larger portion of informative writing in every business organization. A report can only be considered good and informative if the reader can easily understand what is written in it so as to make wise and informed decisions. 


  • Financials: This is a type of document that provides information concerning the financial status of an organization. They normally contain the overview of how the organization has been faring on financially over a particular period of time. 


  • Minutes: Minutes are documents that detail the proceedings of a firm’s meetings. In them are to be found decisions arrived at, records of discussions, tasks assigned to specific attendees and several other details.  


Also Read: Guidelines For Writing  A Great Business proposal


  2. Instructional writing


Perhaps you have used a product manual when you purchased a given device from the market. Or even read the specifications for the product before actually buying it. All these fall into the category of instructional writing. 


Just like its name, instructional writing is intended to provide instructions to the reader on how to either use a given product or perform a specific task. The information can be either for immediate use or for the future when there’s a problem to be solved. When writing instructional material, you should make a point of using language and terms that are understandable to the reader. As an instructional writer, it’s a must that you be well versed in your subject area. This will put you in a better position to cover all areas of your subject matter, as well as anticipating the problems that your reader is likely to run into. 


Examples of instructional documents are user manuals, product descriptions, and specifications as well as memos written for employees in large organizations on how to accomplish certain tasks. 


  3. Transactional writing


Transactional documents deal with everyday communication at any organization. Communication by email forms the bulk of transactional documents, but may also involve formal letters, invoices and any other form used in the day to day running of the business. 

You need transactional writing to be able to deal with general operations at your firm. This kind of documents is used in passing along of news, whether good or bad and it's usually the commonly employed form of writing in the human resource department. Emails, dismissal letters, warning letters, general communication between clients and the business and many others fall into this category of business writing.


  4. Persuasive writing


A good number of people think about persuasive writing when business writing is mentioned. This probably is because any and every business should basically be involved in persuading potential customers to purchase its products. 


Persuasive documents are mainly dealt with in the sales department. When writing a persuasive business document, you could either be aiming at pushing a particular product to sell or just working on maintaining a good relationship with your clients. Normally, there are two goals for persuasive business writing. First of all, you intend to convince the reader that the information presented gives them the best value for their money. Secondly, you desire to impress the reader and influence their decision in a particular direction. Persuasive business documents are:

  • Product releases. They are normally written to encourage media owners to convey the information through their own channels. They present new information to the users.

  • Proposals: proposals are sent to specific prospective customers with an intention of persuading them to buy goods and services. A proposal usually details the overview of the product or service, its costs, and benefits that can be obtained from using it. 

  • Sales Email: this is an email sent to several people with the objective of presenting a product or a service to them.


In conclusion:

Even though the purpose of business writing changes from time to time, its essence remains the same. Here are the basics of business writing that must be observed.


  • You will still need to define your audience and objective for writing before you even begin. This is referred to as result oriented writing. This is effective professional writing at its best. Whatever you write should either inform the reader or cause them to take a particular action.

  • You should endeavor to write in an understandable and concise manner. Always avoid jargon and use of extra words that make the text unnecessarily long without adding any more value 

  • The rules of grammar and correct spelling always apply in business writing. Making grammatical errors is a sure way to ensure that your document doesn’t achieve the purpose for which you write it.