Blog – Five common mistakes when writing for business

Five common mistakes when writing for business

Welcome to my blog. Having worked in PR & marketing, as a national newspaper journalist and as a copywriter, I’ve always been interested in words and how we use them. Writing for business is a different skill from writing for newspapers and magazines – and writing online copy is different from writing for print.

So what does a copywriter do?

A copywriter’s job is to craft words that will sell your products and services. A good copywriter will write sparkling copy with the correct spelling and grammar and a consistent style.

Writing is a skill

A good sentence is crafted, not dashed out at the end of a long day when your printer or website designer is clamouring for the copy you promised them two weeks ago.

Cost-effective copywriting

Many companies invest a lot of money in website design, trusting the work to a professional in the field. But they don’t invest the relatively small amount needed for professional copy. Writing your own copy is often a false economy. Even asking the printer, website designer or SEO expert to write copy isn’t always a good idea: they may be specialists in their field but they don’t tend to be professional copywriters.

Professional copywriting

As well as spending time on the content and style, it’s important to present your copy in a professional way, without basic errors of spelling and grammar. As a national newspaper sub-editor, I became attuned to sifting through copy for errors and now I do my best to proof everything I write.

Words have meaning

Some great mistakes I’ve seen:

Working in book publishing, I often saw display material that said an author would be “singing” instead of “signing” at a venue.

Recently at a business conference, a company was offering a “Prize Drawer” on their stand (presumably it beat a sideboard into second place).

A recent LinkedIn post proclaimed “Don’t let me do this in vein”. Warning: intravenous drugs can lead to homophones.

Five common mistakes when writing copy

If you are still committed to writing your own copy, it’s helpful to be aware of the most common mistakes people tend to make. Here are my top five:

  1. Points of view: Writing what you want to say rather than what your client needs to know.
  2. Less is more: Using sentences that are too long and paragraphs that are too dense.
  3. Margin of error: Insufficient proofing, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors (they’re, their, there) and the rogue apostrophe (MOT’s).
  4. They snooze you lose: Dull headers and boring prose that don’t engage your reader.
  5. Everything in its place: Putting information in the wrong order, making it hard for the reader to find a natural flow of information in an article, press release, blog or website.

For more information on copywriting packages and fees, please see the COPYWRITING PAGE.

For more information on Coffee & Cake Business Network ‘Writing for Business’ training seminars, please see the EVENTS PAGE.

Copywriting

Creative, affordable copywriting that will help you sell your products and services. From blogging packages and web content to press releases and e-marketing, we offer professional copywriting in Huddersfield and Leeds and across West Yorkshire and the UK.

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Journalism

Read my monthly column in The Eye magazine, interviews with top authors in Excelle magazine, features written for Around Town magazine and a variety of articles written for the national press.

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From Joanne Harris to Iain Banks, find out more about events with bestselling authors and creative writing courses in Huddersfield run by Key Words.

For business there’s a choice of Writing for Business seminars, one-off masterclasses and speaking engagements, as well as our monthly Coffee & Cake Business Network event at Café Society in Huddersfield

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