What is Business Writing?

What is business writing? Business writing (also known as business communication or professional writing) is a type of writing for professional settings. It seeks to elicit a business response; thus, it is written to be concise, clear, grammatically correct, and straight to the point. Business writing is usually used in writing emails, sales materials, proposals, memos, reports, and other business-related written materials.  

The primary purpose of business writing is to:

  • Attempt to influence others to take action.
  • Share news and important information.
  • Deliver information such as research reports and memos.

What are the types of business writing

Business writing is a broad field. Here are the typical business writing types used in organizations.

1. Instructional business writing

This type of business writing provides the audiences with the information needed and steps to complete a task. It guides readers by breaking down the process of a document into steps so that the readers are able to understand the method of completing it and identify potential problems.


  • User guide

Also known as the user manual, the user guide is intended to provide assistance to the users on how to use a particular product or process. It sometimes includes instructions on installing, using, and troubleshooting.

  • Specifications

This provides an outline of a product or process, key requirements, functionality, etc., to provide essential details to the readers.  

  • Memo

Also called “memorandum” or “reminder” is used for communicating policies or procedures within an organization to reflect the concerns of your audiences or readers.

2. Informational business writing

This type of business writing provides reference or record and does not necessarily require action from the readers. However, informational business writing is still essential as it marks the task’s progress and predicts future work and obligations.


  • Meeting minutes
  • Financial documents
  • Reports

3. Persuasive business writing

This type of business writing is more typically used in sales, speeches, proposals, newsletters, blog posts, etc. The main purpose of persuasive business writing is to create awareness, boost morale, increase sales, show commitment to customers, investors, staff members, and partners. 

In persuasive business writing, if you want to persuade your readers, you must always emphasize their importance and their interest in the subject. Therefore, you should:

  • Detach your personal emotions in your writing.
  • Remember your readers’ concerns.
  • Put yourself in your readers’ shoes.
  • Use persuasive words and an active voice.

4. Transactional business writing

Transactional business writings are everyday communications, and the main purpose is to effectively communicate information between two individuals, such as clients and colleagues. It includes business letters, friendly emails, instant messages, short memos, etc.

The basics of business writing

Before you start with your business writing, you must ask yourself these questions to understand why you are writing and what you want to achieve on your desired outcome.

  • What is the purpose of your writing?
  • Who are your audience or readers?
  • What do you want your readers to do?
  • What information do you need to give your readers to accomplish the purpose of your writing?

Also, there are principles and best practices that you can follow to form good business writing. 

Best practices for business writing

Here are some tips to help you better communicate at work and accelerate your career or business.

State your main points first.

Business writing is straightforward, brief, and at the same time, polite. It uses clean, easy-to-understand sentences or plain everyday language. What will happen is that your reader will want to read more if your business writing is clear, straight to the point, and has a friendly tone.  

Use active voice.

Writing in an active voice makes your business writing more concise and efficient. You will use fewer words, which creates a faster-moving narrative, making your readers more engaged. It also helps prevent grammatical mistakes.

Choose a professional letter font and font size.

Using a clean and simple font will ensure that your message is going to be legible and easy to read. Basic fonts like Arial, Cambria, Calibri, and Times New Roman with a font size of 10 or 12 work well.

Proofread your business writing.

Make sure that your business is writing if free from grammar and spelling errors. These errors will make your writing unprofessional and undermine your credibility. Thus, it is important to always double-check the spelling and grammar in your business writing.

Pay attention to the receiver’s gender, title, and name.

Nothing is more embarrassing than a mistake in your receiver’s name, gender, or title. For example, you call someone “Mr. Jane Smith” when the receiver’s gender is female. Your reader might get offended by this mistake.

Apply the five (5) W’s and one (1) H

Just like in news writing, your business writing should answer all the questions that concern your readers—anticipating the questions by answering the who, what, when, why, and how of your subject or business writing will help you complete your business writing content or information.  

The Business Writing Course

If you are interested in learning the basics of business writing and want to advance in your career by improving your writing, this online course is for you.

You will learn the most common mistakes that business people make in their writing today—and then show you how to avoid these blunders in your writing. What’s good about this online course is that each lesson includes a downloadable transcript, helpful for reading on the train or in your spare time.

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