Content Writing for Business – Getting the Fundamentals Right | Monica Samuel | Skillshare

Content Writing for Business – Getting the Fundamentals Right

Monica Samuel, Learn. Do. Repeat.

Content Writing for Business – Getting the Fundamentals Right

Monica Samuel, Learn. Do. Repeat.

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9 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Correcting assumptions

    • 3. You’re not the whole package

    • 4. Core skills for a content writer

    • 5. Requirement gathering

    • 6. Audience analysis

    • 7. Style and form

    • 8. Tools and resources

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

Content writers are in huge demand today. But being a good content writer for business requires more than just great writing skills. You need to be an excellent information forager, collaborator, organizer and advocate.

In this class, I’ll help you understand what you must do before you write your first word. You’ll understand the process of requirement gathering, knowing the audience, defining the scope of work, and developing templates that’ll come handy in your career as a content writer.

In the class projects, you will create a checklist to understand the requirement of a content development project. You’ll also fill a Project Requirement Document that will help you ascertain the time and effort involved in a project and propose a cost confidently.

It will help if you select a project to work on side-by-side, preferably one you haven’t started on.

This class is ideal for a newbie content writer or a practising content writer who struggles with timelines and consistency. These simple tips will make you more effective, productive and satisfied.

Meet Your Teacher

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Monica Samuel

Learn. Do. Repeat.


Hi. My name is Monica. I'm a freelance digital marketing consultant and trainer. I've been in the field of content development since 2009. During this time, I've worked with a number of people and companies across a wide range of industries. In fact, that's the part I love about my work, getting the opportunity to talk to people from CXOs to SME to end users and customers. I've worked for companies in Finance to Astronomy to IT to Medical Devices, a yoga instructor, a chef ... it just never stops getting interesting. 

I hope my classes will help you discover the joy of developing content that delivers!


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1. Introduction: I welcome to the class on concentrating for business, getting the fundamentals right. My name is Monica. I'm a digital marketing consultant, then trainer. I've bean Field look on the development since 2009. During this time, I worked with a number of people and companies, large and small. In fact, that's the part I love most about my work because I get the opportunity to talk to so many people from the sea Exel's to the customer and users the person who conceived the idea on a boat with a good idea. Industries Does a strong me information technology finance Are your guy instructed? A shift. It never stops getting interesting. In this course, I walk you through the steps you need to take before you start writing part of your content . That happened. Project. He's no. This training will not be about writing or effectively. That's going to be my next class in this class. I'll talk to you about environment gathering, audience analysis, the skills you need to be a good concentrated for business and some tips and resources. This will be a useful class for anyone who is new to content writing for business and also those who have bean in the slang for a few years but struggled with consistency and timelines. You'll be working on two projects. The requirement gathering checklist on the project requirement document. Take these documents bill on them and make them your home. If you're working on any project currently, fill out the information in these documents. If you don't have the information, go back to your client and ask for it. You'd be surprised how much clarity this process brings into your project. You'll also see me use a technique off my mapping. It helps you focus more effectively on improved the quality of the copy you produce. I am releasing my next class on business writing than better. Faster. If you'd like to stay updated on when it comes out, he's follow my profile. Let's get started. 2. Correcting assumptions: No, I'm not right isn't enough to make you a good concentrated for business. Neither is being domain export. A linguist or greater right? Look at this example is the kind of event description I received through lots of messages from experts in the field. The languages in Great, but that's OK, But look at the acronyms. This is jargon stuff PS would understand, but certainly not doing us on the program. Domain experts on the best people to develop marketing material. Being an external concentrator gives you that outside a perspective, which is good. You can question the export and simplify this communication for donors. What about this one? This is a beautiful piece of writing for those who understand it. I would need a dictionary business content first and foremost must be simple to understand . Now he has an entertaining story. Nothing wrong with it. It's written well. It's engaging, but it's descriptive, which was great for creative writing, but not so for business content. Content for businesses, for marketing content must be precise. Even when you develop a story to communicate a business offering, it can't be too long minded. Business writing is all about content that simple and comprehensive in a way that it leaves no question unanswered. For example, if you're writing a product description, are you covering it from the perspective of benefits, something the customer is concerned about? That's how business rating has to be simple, perfectly understandable to the target audience. Clear does not create doubt. It clarifies no ambiguity, precise, no rambling, straight to the crux of the topic. Crisp active tune, short, punchy sentences, strong transitions and clear calls to action. Every piece of content developed in the business world has some agenda. There is always an expected outcome, so the content must also be persuasive, making the really believe what you're saying on compelling nudging him or her or incentivizing read it was the action we want them to take. 3. You’re not the whole package: a condom. Traitor is part of her business is marketing team. He will work closely with graphic artists, website developers, designers, marketers, videographers and lots of other people. Depending on the size of the team on the side of the organization as well, you may be asked to take on multiple roles or stick to only one. This can create confusion, especially when you're new. It's important to know what skills fall within the realm of a concentrator, those you are accountable for and what falls outside the scope of a concentrator. You should not be expected to be the image of video editor, the website, manager, market or even the editor and proofreaders if you are in a mature organization with well established rules in the marketing team. That's not to say that these skills aren't useful, but they're not critical to your room. You may be asked to wear multiple hats, and that's okay if you have the skill in the time, but they're not part of your concentrating rule. Does this mean you only work as an individual contributor? No. A concentrator has to work in collaboration with the team. You should get suggestions on the layout of the content peas. You should share ideas and the best image, the last creation, graphic or video to use, even give it and topics to focus on for search engine optimization. Since you will be the one spending a good amount of time reading up on the industry in recent job balls, I see these capabilities, especially those related to digital marketing, becoming part of a concentrators rule. What I would advise, though, is don't get intimidated by that. Learn the fundamentals of writing for business and you'll be able to adapt well enough. There are other critical skills you must master as a concentrator. That's the next morning. 4. Core skills for a content writer: in this video, I'm going to use a technique called mind mapping many off. You may be familiar with it. Mind mapping is a way to organize your thoughts and map them onto paper. It uses the right side of your brain as you're not thinking in a linear, sequential manner. Random thoughts can be placed anywhere on the map. Many people start the writing process with an outline, which actually uses the left side off the brain. I find it much more fruitful to create the outline off the mind map. It's like compartmentalizing your thinking from your writing and development. The thinking process is deeper. You're not rating on thinking at the same time. Now we've covered what a concentrator need not be. Let's talk about what a concentrator must absolutely master. I'm going to develop a mind map on the skills that make a good concentrated for business. A good mind map starts with a very specific center. The topic must be specific, or the mind map will be unfocused on ineffective and taking you to a point where you feel you're ready to write. So in the center we say critical skills for a concentrator. The first is interviewing. You'll be talking to the CEO, the person who conceived the idea and users customers. Sales people ask discerning questions. Approach a topic from multiple angles to get different perspectives. This will familiarize you with the cultural and geographical aspects as well, making your copy more relevant to the targeted audience. Next research. You may have to look up the website all manuals, journals, documentation, talked to employees, customers again. Internet research. You may have to check out press media coverage Old collateral To get deeper insights into the topic and formulate further questions. Communication. You must have the ability to articulate your questions. You must have empathy for the interviewing. Being a listener is an extremely important part of communication and also the ability to assimilate information. Strong language skills are a must. You should be good with grammar, syntax, local versus formal language, cultural and your specific implications. Things like which word is the right one. Taxi was a scab. Domain. Specific skills are definite bonus because you are familiar with the jargon, the systems, the language. It takes you less time and effort to ramp up a condom. Greater must have good organization skills or is lost. You have to have the ability to break a project into smaller chunks. Assigned deadlines I locate tasks, work with the team. Defined goals, help everybody understand the data. Things like this now, obviously, you do need basic editing and proof reading skills. You have to hold your own copy as best as you can. This means being brutal with your copy, checking out parts that are not relevant to the topic, making sure the flu and the tone a good fact. Checking, correcting grammar and spellings. Basic proof reading will involve checking for typographical errors in the final ready to be published copy content optimization. That's a big one. You should know how to optimize content. The keyboards could be provided by the client or you discovered them yourself, but you should know how to place them. How the headings need to be where you use in line links. How do you use them? Things like that. Knowledge of what processing tools is a must. Microsoft Board is one of the most common tools used, though I do see people using Google docks as well to know editing features off the tool, the spelling and grammar checks the review More things like that which will help you work in a collaborative way. Being familiar with a few content management systems helps, as you may be asked to upload the content. While this may be done by the marketer, it doesn't hurt to know what feels need to be filled up in the CMS for opposed to be optimized. Now being collaborative is extremely important because you need to work together. You need to build good working relationships by respecting people's time, going prepared with questions and being as comprehensive as possible. As you see, I missed this point earlier, and I can add it anywhere because this is a mind map. Had this being an outline, I would have to adjust. Move things around. You can take a mind my father and are the sequence of the flu in which you would like toa use these points in your content 5. Requirement gathering: requirement gathering. This is my first discussion with the client after the sign up. This is the time to get your checklist and sound recorder out. I'm gonna go through the questions by creating a mind map again, this time using a software called Free Mind, which is for Windows. I'll share more tools later. Keep in mind that the mind map need not be in any particular sequence cause it just downloading the thoughts in your head. Hechos. The center, as before, must hold a very specific topic. So not just requirement gathering. That's two week but requirement gathering checklist. The first thing I like to understand is why this topic is worth talking about. Why would people want to read about it or listen to talk about this? Is it a common problem, a social issue, an environmental danger? Are a disruptive approach to an old problem? Second, is the coverage shallow and overview kind of level or deep? Will you need to pull out research? Delve into the topic also, if there is a particular aspect within the topic that needs covering, for example, a mattress company may want to talk about the damage done by smartphones to people's lives . But from the perspective of disrupting sleep patterns, what's the goal of the Skopje? What is the take away for readers? Are we educating them or trying to get them to engage with a brand or sign up for something ? Or maybe we just promoting a product or service? This will indicate the calls to action you need to use on. It will guide your introduction, your conclusion on your whole approach through the content development. Who is this content for? Who was the targeted audience? This is an extremely important question to cover, and I'll go into this inland the next model. If this is going to be an ongoing project, say you've been hired at the block greater. Ask about the source of topics. Will the client provide the topics, or do you need to come up with them yourself? This will help you assess the time you need to a lot for this task. I have worked in both situations. When you get familiar with industry and the client's business, you can become good at suggesting the most trending topics. Since you're checking out the competition on the industry regularly. This way, you become an important resource for the marketing manager, the client. We also have an idea off the content format she wants to use. Of course, with experience, you can also give suggestions. For example, video is the most engaging content format today. It's a good idea to know the length constraints before you start the book. This will help you check them out of time. You spend in the research face and avoid any sprawl off the copy document. Design businesses may have guidelines on how certain content was used. Dates. Names of brand assets, Exxon Amis designations, language and spellings. Yukking Ledge Uses US English If a company doesn't have one, you can build a style guide for them. Or you can refer to the standard style guides out there, such as the A P ER analyst Isla Documentation or the Oxford style Guide. If you're working with UK English, will you need to sign an Indy? A non disclosure agreement. This must happen before you start work. Even if you don't sign in India, you should treat The client's information is private and finally the deadline. Once you clear about the work in wall, you can easily assess if the work is doable. In the provided timeframe, you can shift items on your task list. Request a shuffle in priorities and targets if you're part of routine or even say no to a request. When you talk to a client with such clarity and confidence, they start trusting your opinion. My clients are very appreciated off this process because the questions forced them to be clear on their own content strategy. They are often willing to wait the needed time for quality copy once they understand the intricacies in world now gone through the points on my checklist and my recording is ready later, I'll make notes from the recording and fill out the project requirement document. I'll send it to the client to sign off and start work only after receiving the written approval, not verbal written. This is a common rookie mistake. All approvals must be in writing. Email are printed form. Believe me, this will save you a lot of pain. Now you can get on to the project requirement document just yet. We'll cover the audience analysis in the next video, and then you can get going 6. Audience analysis: understand who you are developing the content for. This is a critical exercise where you should spend time, talk to the people who interact with the customers. If possible, talk to some of the customers directly. Ask questions that help you uncover the problems they were facing, how they went about finding a solution. What would happen if the problem was not sold? How critical was the solution to the comfort of life, what they like about the brand, what they don't like. If you don't have direct access to the customer doctor, the salespeople, the field guys, the call center executives and other people who can share this information, you need to understand who your readers are. Your viewers, your listeners. Depending on the kind of content you come up with, you need to understand the demographics and the cycle graphics In demographics. We have things like their age, the gender, the parental status, ethnicity, education level income, things like this on in the cycle graphics. You understand the interests off your audience. What is their behavior like? Bought online as well is offline? What are they afraid off and what are the aspiring to? This will help you develop an angle on how you need to communicate with this audience. How well informed on the on the subject will you need to introduce the topic to them? Are you familiar with it? For example, if you're talking about mobile devices, are these users tech savvy or not? Well, you need to explain basic stuff. If you're talking about an enterprise software to a business user, would you? Focus and benefits are features. How interested or attentive will likely be age and interest. These two things defined how attentive reader of your will be. And there's the eternal question. What's in it for me? If you're talking about enterprise software features to the I T. Guy who has to decide whether to request a demo or not? Well, he'll be interested. Take the same content to the end user. He may not be ingested, causes not sold into it Yet. Unless your content addresses the needs of the reader, he's not going to be interested. How sophisticated is your audience? This is something which we understand with the readability Index Readability Index defines the comfort of reader with the language of communication, the words you used, the level of solidification Length of sentences lent of paragraphs almost follow certain guidelines to be understood by an audience at a certain readability index. Usually, if you're content, can be understood by an eighth grader. You're good. Microsoft Word and other word processing tools show you the Flesch Kincaid Creed. What is the writers relationship to the audience? Is he a stranger or respected authority? A senior appear a block post developed by you can be published under the authorship Off Someone ends. That's a fairly common scenario when developing content. Keep the relationship off the author and the audience in mind if its internal communication and the author is known and respected. What he say's is going to be accepted. But if the same person talks to an external audience where he isn't well known, he needs to build credibility. Your content must site reports and opinions are renowned people to build a case and drive the point home. How much time are you willing to spend on content consumption again? This depends on the question. What's in it for me? Millennials, who are accused of having very low attention span, spent ours on Netflix and gaming sites right because it entertains them or challenges them . The medium of communication used by a business to engage with audience segments is guided by this question. You may want to use video rather than a text long or tell a story. Was is a case study, doctors and a book or a white paper augmented reality. Virtual reality. These mediums are being increasingly adopted to communicate value, often offering to users and understanding off your audience is a must. If you want your content to deliver the expected outcome now, you have all the information you need to fill the project requirement document. 7. Style and form: there's a lot to be said about the statement. The best content out there has one common thread. Simplicity, one idea per Contin. Peas Clean and Chris the tone. Maybe formal, humorous dryer neutral. But it draws attention. I'd like you to check out a few websites and observed the dawn, the first of the cast of Upside. It targets matches. Buyers could be anyone. Casper sells mattresses, but the pitch is about comfort. The tone is aspirational. Features come second, observed the minimal text imagery that speaks illustrations, the color team, the placement off the calls to action. Next, look at the marketing land. Blawg targets people in digital marketing and advertisers. The tone is very conversational. It covers a range of topics and categorize system. Look at the block titles, diet and specific. There's a variety of content for different consumer types. Long form white papers shot from Paul's and videos event news information on tools, all things that will help a marketer stay updated on what's happening. And that's the objective of the blanc. Look at the zendesk log. The target market is any business in need of a customer support software. See how the topics addressed the concerns of people from the decision makers to the customer service executives. All of them are part of the target audience. The tone is conversational or instructional. Also go and explore websites of his medium. Buzzfeed TechCrunch observed the different styles off writing content. The former is that I used the list Tickles stories. Gyu. Any video post? There are so many styles you can experiment with not just in articles but other content formats as well. Let's look at content formats of mediums. Now this information is from Content Marketing Institute Report of 2018. The report is based on usage in North America but is reflective of trains. Across these are the condom formats used for marketers in the business to business space, social media posts, case studies, pre produced videos, e books and white papers, infographics illustrations and photos. Among these, the ones considered most effective are e books and white papers. Case studies and social media pose on the mediums or channels used to distribute the content. Our email, social media, blog's in person events and webinars. Among these, the ones that are most popular in the B two B space. Our email blog's and social media posts. Knowing how the content will reach the target audience as well as the stage in the bias funnel makes a difference to the message you develop. Let's look at the business to consumer space. The condom formats used by marketers are social media posts, case studies, pre produced videos, infographics, interactive tools, e books and white papers. Among these, the ones considered most effective, our social media posts videos on illustrations and images. The vehicles of distribution here are social media, email, blog's in person events and print, while the more successful our email blog's social media in person events, not how print is not in the mix, very reflective off the digital world we live in. But again, this can change with the geography. Your audience analysis on the inputs of the marketing manager will help you. These kind of reports keep you updated on what's trending in the industry and what you need to learn. Lately, I've been called upon to create video scripts. That's the demand in the market to learn and deliver. Of course, if you're in a larger organization, this job may not come to you. It's a good idea to become familiar with style guide you may need to refer. I talked about this in requirement gathering about the document design. If the organization does not have its own document design, you may have to refer to style guides. AP A style on Emily style are some of the most popular, however, based on the geography based on the industry. Onda purpose Off your documentation You will find other style guides to you, such as the Army Manual of Style for Medicine, the Blue Book style for law. When it comes to their publishing, there is a Microsoft Manual of style on the Yahoo style kite so you can take your pick in keeping with what is recommended in the organization. 8. Tools and resources: early, I said You don't have to be the whole package when you're a condom writer. But having worked with many small, even medium size clients, I realize some adult skills come pretty handy. I'm going to share some resources, but not too many, that you feel Oh well, the number ones killer committee ramp upon is certainly an optimization of content. Whether it's a block post, you walked on a video and image and anything else that can be published on the Web. It's a good idea to understand what you need to do in the body off the copy as well as the back end off the content management solution. How you need to place the keywords and say the title of the copy in the headlines, things like that. The anchor text for the links on a lot of other aspects, which you need to take care off. It puts you in a stronger position. Some websites that really help you in understanding this our copy blogger on top spot. Second, you're editing to start off. I would highly recommend using the Hemingway editor. This is an online app and also check out the websites copy Blogger again on the publication Coach. The publication coach is one great website. If you want to improve your writing style, and if you want to improve the speed at which you write has a good demo of the Hemingway up , all you do is copy the content you want to edit and paste it here. It'll give you the readability index off your content and any issues that it finds that as the excessive use of adverbs, complex sentences of paragraphs, the use of passive boys, this is a good place to get started. Do check out Copy Blogger and the publication coach promo editing tips for proof reading. I use both Graham early on Microsoft World Spell Jekyll. You can set the language in both these tools. Whether you want to use English UK in the U. S. Or whatever the language you're creating the content in, it will show you where the corrections are needed. I love Graham early, and I have the Grammy extension installed on my chrome browser as well, so it constantly takes what type, Whether it's an email or it's it's some copy that I'm treating fuck image creation. I'm going to suggest just one tool. Andi. That's an online tool called Canberra. Abuse can were for posters, flyers, social media images, testimonials, simple clips, invitations and loads of other things. The cover image off my class has been developed in camera. This is a fun dragon. Drop on in platform and it has a lot of good stuff that is available. Free Mind mapping tools. Check out these tools. Some of them are free. Some off trials. You'll also need to check for operating system compatibility. Today we also have mobile apse with mind mapping. You could try those personally. A good sized piece of blank paper motivates me the best tried different things and see what works for you. Off course. There are many other tools and resources out there and many skills you could ramp upon. But holding these five skills would put you in a really strong position as a concentrator. 9. Conclusion: I hope you enjoy the class and that something new. He's used the checklist on the project requirement document in your work. The more you use them, the more sense and start to make it easier. It's going to get use mind mapping whenever you need to organize your thoughts. I'd love to see your work. We share your project equipment. Documented the project section of the class. If you'd like to stay updated on upcoming classes for my profile and share your feedback on discusses where thank you for your dying every shoe, the very best.