business writing ideas from Word Constructions      



Hello {name}! Welcome to a new edition of Word Constructions’ newsletter!

With the reintroduction* of the newsletter, we have given it a new name – Business Writing Ideas – and refined it. It will still contain articles about good business communications, and will include a regular section on writing basics to help you or your team get the little details right.

July is a busy time of year for many businesses with annual tax return tasks on top of normal operations, and even more so if the financial year affects your business directly. I know I am heading into annual report writing for clients, and starting to think about Christmas promotions for another (I know it feels like 2010 just started!)

Does your business have a formal style to build your brand? Is it written down in one place or in bits and pieces, or maybe just in someone’s head? I’m working on a style related project and am curious as to what other businesses are doing so please let me know!

If you have any writing questions, please email me or add a comment in my blog. Have a great month, and use your words wisely!


Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Keep ideas flowing
Work like ours…
Newsletter subscribers
Making content web friendly

Check questions are answered

Keep your website looking fresh

* The newsletter was temporarily halted while I was on maternity leave. My baby girl is now 3 months old, a new financial year is starting, and Word Constructions is back to full operations! So now is the time to ask me about your writing projects…

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The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away
- Dr Linus Pauling

Using sub-headings
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Whether you are writing a report, an article, web copy or even a letter, sub-headings can be very useful. By using sub-headings, you make it

·        easier for a reader to skim read and decide your document is relevant to them

·        easier for someone to find specific information

·        visually interesting and appealing

·        less intimidating than a long, unbroken document

·        easier to move between topics as you write

On a practical level, sub-headings can also help you plan your document. I often write the sub-headings for long documents and go back to add the information as the sub-headings remind me of what I wanted to include.

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Don't forget the basics ... when writing or managing a team

The value of copyright
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Did you know that as soon as you write or make something, it has copyright? That means no one can copy it or use it in any way without your permission. Yes, people break copyright everyday without the slightest knowledge of what they are doing; for instance, forwarding someone else's email is technically copyright (one reason I invite you to forward this newsletter to friends is to prevent you breaking copyright!)

When it comes to personal emails or a shopping list, you probably aren't too worried about others copying it and breaking your copyright. But what about when you put a lot of time into writing an article or a review? In that case, the copyright of your work is important. That doesn't mean you can't let people use your work but just be aware of what your time and effort is worth.

Once you give or sell your copyright on a piece of work to someone else, they have the power to change it, sell it, copy it wherever they like and so on. You no longer have control over your work. For major works, you can sell some of your copyright rather than all of it - such as an author selling the book rights but not the movie rights.

As an example, I offer free articles on my website, thereby giving people permission to use those articles (as long as my name remains with the article). However, I keep the copyright on those articles and have the right to change them, copy them, sell them, or whatever. Compare that to when I write something for a client and give them the copyrights once it is finished so they can change it as required and use it as they see fit. Obviously, they pay for the copyright and exclusive use of my work.

If you are writing reviews, articles for promotional purposes, remember that your copyright is precious. If someone wants to use your work without paying for it (or by only paying a token amount), then you probably want to keep the copyright on that piece.


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Poor examples

Sometimes, the easiest way to learn the correct way to do something is to see it done poorly so in this section of my newsletter, I show you some real-life examples of writing that need a little help.

This example comes from an email advertising a directory to business owners - would you have paid money from this ad?


This manual will become a valuable Business Directory

As all product listed has a star rating

Which helps you when deciding


on products for your business.

Issues with this example:

This is a perfect example of someone not checking their work and letting automated grammar checks do the work for them. Note the capital letters for ‘as’ and ‘which’ are there because of badly placed line breaks, not because there is any need for a capital letter.

The seemingly random line break makes the message very disjointed, especially with the last five words in a separate paragraph.

Was it a simple error to write ‘product’ instead of ‘products’, with the grammar check suggesting ‘has’? Or did the writer not understand ‘all’ implies many and ‘product’ implies one?

Read as a single sentence, it is long without any punctuation to make it easier to read.

To me, a manual and a directory are very different – one provides instructions while the other provides a listing of information – so how does a manual become a directory?

 A better version would be: (without changing the meaning)

This business directory will become a valuable asset as all listed products have a star rating to help you decide on products for your business.

With some more refining:

This business directory will be a valuable decision making tool as each product listing includes a star rating.

You are welcome to pass this newsletter on to anyone you think will be interested, but please send it as is without changes.

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© 2010, Tash Hughes