Is there room for creativity in business writing?
When we think of business books, we might think of dry, dull textbooks or maybe the light, fluffy, and uninformative (but maybe motivational) fare found in the Barnes and Noble business section. We might not think that creativity has a place in this topic or style. But I’m here to tell you that creativity in business writing isn’t only possible, it’s essential if you want your business book to stand out.
To be sure, the purpose of any business book is to inform, educate, and often to entertain. But mostly, they’re in the same category as self-help books; the author wants to give you information and wants you to do something with it.
But think back to your high school, college, or other educational experiences. Did the best professors just stand up in front of the class and lecture? Or were did best ones encourage discussion and engagement? Most likely it’s the later, right? The one thing that all those professors likely had in common: They approached teaching creatively.
The same is true of business books.
Here are a few ideas to infuse some creativity into your next business book (or other business writing) to make it more of a page turner than a sleep aid.
Find your voice
The writer’s voice is as important in a business book as it is in any other type of writing. Your voice in your business book needs to be approachable and authentic. Think of it like you’re having a coffee with your readers to talk about their business challenges. It’s not a lecture. It’s not a PowerPoint presentation. It’s a conversation, or at least a conversation starter. It’s your voice that will determine how easily readers consume your writing as well as how they relate to it.
Tell a story
Perhaps one of the most useful ways to illustrate points is to tell stories. That’s something that’s been part of human history since, well, since we started to communicate. Business writing is not different; storytelling is a key teaching tool.
For example, the book I recently edited (shameless plug for Brian Beck’s Billion Dollar B2B Ecommerce) started with a pair of stories. The first highlighted how Sears—one of the biggest retailers in the US—failed to recognize the impact the Internet would have on retail shopping. The second story, as you might guess, focused on the rise of Amazon and how they transformed how people shop. Given the purview of this book—to be a definitive guide to building an Ecommerce operation for business to business companies—you couldn’t have had two better examples that highlight the sense of urgency many businesses are facing today. The book’s core message is brought to life in this story, and it resounds throughout the book: Evolve or die. (BTW, if you’re not familiar with Sears’ story—they declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, shuttered a huge number of stores and laid off a ton of employees; suffice it to say, they did not evolve).
Don’t be afraid of using literary devices
You might think of metaphors, similes, colloquialisms, and other common literary devices have no place in business writing. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you want engaging prose, literary devices can give your text the spice it needs to grab and hold readers’ attention. And in this day and age of endless distraction, holding someone’s attention is the most important thing you can do as a writer after educating them.
Got a business book in the works that needs a little polishing (or a lot)? Daniel can help. As Angelella Editorial’s business editor, Daniel’s available for an editorial assessment, developmental editing, and even a bit of ghost writing.