Learn how to write more effective emails and blog posts and how to catch errors when proofreading.
- Email and blogs are unique because they're used for a range of purposes and in business writing, you need to adhere to some basic principles to unleash their full potential. While email might be the most profound information sharing tool at our disposal, it has some pretty relevant pitfalls. It's too easy to send and email's the wrong choice for an essay or a long form professional correspondence. It can allow you to be too casual or slip into social correspondence. Include long documents as attachments.
Not in the body of the email. So here are some ways to keep your email professional and effective. First, use the subject line and make it count. If you're asking a question, make that your subject line. Are you saying thank you? Make that your subject line. What if you're writing to ask for a job? I think you can see where we're going. You'd be surprised how often hi or quick question clutter up an inbox. If you keep the subject relevant then you've prepared your recipient to answer or otherwise receive your message.
Next, in the body of the email, don't bury the lead. This is a term from journalism that means hide the information. State exactly what you need up front. Don't write an essay. That's right, don't use email to compose an essay. Because email moves so quickly, take advantage of that speed by not slowing your reader down. Also consider using graphic highlighting techniques in your emails. You can chunk your information to make your points clear, succinct and direct. If you have a list, use bullets or numbers.
When discussing dates, times, numbers, important people or topics, bold them. Another tip is to keep professional email brief, appropriate and polite. Even if you have a sparkling wit, save it for personal correspondence. The probability of being misunderstood is simply too high. I know I've said this before but always use proper grammar and spelling. It shows you put care into your words and demonstrates thought and professionalism. Last, minimize social media jargon, abbreviations and emoticons in your email.
This could be interpreted as sloppy, careless or immature. Your written work is an extension of your identity and can impact your reputation and credibility. Professionalism is contagious. By setting a standard for your business communication, you train others to respond in kind. If you send every email with clear subject organized to highlight the information you need to distribute or receive and always use a professional tone, you provide a template for clear communication.
With blogs, the ability to rapidly update information creates the temptation to write for quantity over quality. Always check your facts, spelling and usage before hitting Publish. You may be more rushed in blogs than in other formats. It's up to you to create a buffer to allow yourself the time to proofread your work. Also, remember to make sure your headlines are relevant and that your hyperlinks work. This is often your direct line of communication to the masses.
Make sure you always represent yourself and your company professionally even if your voice is casual or funny. Always consider your audience and what you want them to draw from your post. Ask yourself if it could be misread or misinterpreted. Proofreading often comes down to giving yourself time to reread what you've written whether it's an email or a blog. Remember to think about who will receive it and what they should take away from your writing.