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Business Writing for Effective Communication

Learn the four main types of business writing to streamline and clarify your business communications.

Communication is the key factor in the growth and success of a business, and one of the most effective forms of communication is writing. A precise and well-written message is almost as beneficial for your business as an excellent product or service.

As with all forms of communication, there are distinct types of business writing that you can use to communicate with your target audience.

In this article, we will cover the four main types of business writing and let you know which types are best suited for certain situations.

The Four Basic Types of Business Writing

1. Informational

We see informational business writing everywhere. It can be short and snappy (think product description) or long and in-depth (like an employee handbook). Its main purpose, as its name suggests, is to inform the reader.

Informational business writing can be casual or formal depending on the target audience. A product description, for example, may be upbeat and cheery, short, and to the point. An employee handbook, however, will be formal and serious and use well-developed, methodical sentences to be sure that the company’s expectations are clear.

2. Instructional

This type of writing details a process and acts as a guide to the reader. The goal is to instruct the reader on how to accomplish a task. User manuals are a common example of instructional business writing, but we see this type in many other places as well.

Step-by-step instructions for in-house procedures also qualify as instructional business writing, as do something as basic as recipes on a chef’s blog.

As with informational business writing, these different pieces of writing can vary in tone depending on the target audience.

A chef may use casual, informal language when writing their recipe to engage the reader and have the piece read more like a conversation between friends.

A mechanical engineer who is writing a manual for a piece of equipment will forgo brevity and jokes and focus on specific, unambiguous language so that the reader can focus on accurately performing the task at hand.

3. Persuasive

Persuasive writing is everywhere. Social media posts, calls to action on a website landing page, and ads for the latest skincare line or food delivery service all use persuasive language. Why? The aim is to get you to buy, share, sign-up, comment, and in other words, engage.

And while advertisements may be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of persuasive business writing, it is also used in other ways.

A scientist will use persuasive writing to encourage a benefactor to invest in their research, a politician will use it to encourage their constituents to vote, and freelancers will use it when making pitches to prospective clients.

Again, as with the other types of business writing we have covered, the formality and informality of persuasive business writing will vary greatly depending on the target audience.

4. Transactional

Transactional business writing is sometimes referred to as conversational writing and is used for all types of day-to-day business communications.

In-house emails to employees, letters, invoices, and any other form of writing that is used to support a company’s daily operations are all considered transactional business writing.

If you are thinking that this type too can be both informal and formal, you’d be correct.

Just like the other three types, the target audience will determine the tone for this type of business writing.

Things to Consider

You may have noticed that these types of writing can be interchangeable and even combined in certain situations. For example, a social media post may be informative and persuasive, and an in-house company email can be informative, transactional, and instructional.

A blog article won’t always be instructional (like a recipe or a how-to for changing the oil on your car); it can also be persuasive and informative.

The key to navigating these business writing types is leveraging the type that best suits your needs and will resonate the most with your target audience.

Are you comfortable knowing when and how to use each style? Which type of business writing do you use the most?

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