Think Fiction. Write Business.

stack of booksWhen people think about reading their favorite novel, they imagine curling up cozily on the couch with a great read. Why is that? Because they’re reading for pleasure. Because reading a fun book is fun.

When you’re writing for your business, you can tap into some of that fun (for you and for your audience) by stealing (I mean, borrowing) some of fiction writers’ best sly sales tricks (I mean, literary devices).

  1. Show, don’t tell. Fiction writers hear (and say) this all the time. It means, don’t tell me the character is tired, but show her dragging her feet as she walks. Show her head drooping nearly to her chest. Business application: Don’t tell me your product leaves customers satisfied, but show me your satisfied customers by using images, testimonials, statistics, etc.
  2. Write for the audience. A legal thriller will use quite different language than a picture book about what to expect on the first day of kindergarten. Business application: Always, ALWAYS remember the kinds of people that you expect to read what you write. Write for them.
  3. Word count counts. Literary novels, early-reader chapter books, and graphic novels all have different word count (and format) requirements. No decent writer would try to cram the same number of words into every type of book. Business application: If you’re writing a white paper on a technical process, it’s probably going to require more words than a tri-fold brochure. For short documents, pick out the essential details and highlight those ideas. Don’t try to fit it all in.
  4. Find emotion. If readers don’t connect with the main character, they likely won’t finish the book. Readers need to care—deeply—about what happens to the book’s character in order to want to hear how the story ends. Business application: Make sure you’re offering your audience both logical and emotional ways to connect with your product or service. That helps them want to understand—and hopefully use—what your company offers.

Use literary devices (I mean, sly sales tricks) to help you improve your business writing and make your writing more enjoyable for everyone. After all, why should the fiction-writing folks have all the fun?

Monelle Smith is the content director for Gemstone Media, Inc. 

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