Judith Stafford
Freelance Commercial Writer
Effective Communication for Businesses
Welcome to the first edition of my newsletter where I will keep you up to date with new and existing services as well as provide you with some useful information and ideas on how to improve your own business communications.

Spotlight on: The Business Profile

Why do you need a business profile?

A well written and concise business profile can help promote your company to potential customers or investors as well as being an excellent business marketing strategy.

What should it contain?

  • Your company’s contact details; phone numbers, website and email address and location
  • Core business services, what it is you do and what makes you unique
  • Company history and background
  • Key figures and personnel
  • Achievements, objectives and future goals
*Special Offer*
 

Does your company have an up to date business profile?

If you don’t have a business profile or need to update your existing profile then I can create a 500 word profile for your company for only £100. Contact me today for more information on how to make the most of this limited offer.

About

Judith Stafford is a freelance commercial writer who creates business communications that companies do not have the time or resources to produce themselves.

This includes web copy, procedures, training materials, online tutorials, newsletters and technical documentation.

For more information on how I can improve your business literature contact me on 0772352363 or 01246 550447 or email judith@judithstafford.co.uk

Simple steps to improving your business literature

Here are a few tips to help you improve your written communication. They may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many companies do not follow these guidelines.
  1. Everything you, or anyone else, writes is proofread by at least one other person.
  2. Any changes made to services, products or procedures must be documented and updated as soon as they apply.
  3. Ensure you have procedures in place on how to produce and update all your business literature.
  4. Your writing must be aimed at your target market and at a level your readers will understand.
  5. Don’t waffle. Make sure all your writing is to the point and without superfluous words and phrases.
  6. Make sure all your business communications whether printed or online, are consistent in style, format and terminology.

How to create a pdf

Originally developed in by Adobe in the 1990s the pdf or portable document format, allows you to share secure information over the internet or by email that can be read by any computer system while keeping its original format.

Advantages of using pdfs

  • Easy to create
  • Can be printed, emailed, read and downloaded from the internet
  • Preserves your file exactly as it was created
  • Hyperlinks, image and interactive functions stay intact
  • File size can be compressed
  • There is a high level of data encryption
Viewing pfd documents is simple you just need to download the Adobe Acrobat reader, which is free. But if you want to create your own pdf files you will have to purchase Acrobat Pro from Abobe which allows you to convert Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents and web pages into pdfs at the press of a button. This is a great program if you want to be able to edit pdf files or use them to gather information, but if you just want to convert documents then there are a number of other programs that can be purchased or downloaded for free.
If you are using Open Office it contains a build in converter.

Free programs such as Wordtopdf or Dopdf are fine for basic pdf conversion especially if you don’t have any links in your documents. But if you want more functionality then you will be better buying one such as pdftodocconverter,  nuance or aiseesoft.  Before you buy a product it is worth checking that your pdf program has all the functionality you require as some will also convert from pdf to text and will allow you to edit pdf documents directly.

Hints and Tips

Keywords

A keyword is a work you type into a search engine when looking for information on the internet. They are very important as they make your website visible to search engines such as Google. Keywords consist of words and phrases related to your business. Research your keywords carefully selecting the words that most closely describe the products and services offered by your business.
  1. Make sure your keywords are relevant to your site.
  2. Include your business name, location and area of expertise as well as your products and services.
  3. Include alternative spellings of keywords.
  4. Add keywords to your headings, subheadings, page titles and within links, as well as in the actual content.
  5. Do not add too many keywords to your content. Google will penalise you and your human readers may find your content difficult to read.

International English - US v UK

If you are creating written communication for use only in the UK or US then you would use the relevant version of English. But what if your market is global or includes both UK and US audiences then what should you use? US English is the most widely spoken and understood so would be the most logical choice. But it would also depend on where your market was located. For example if it was within the Commonwealth then UK English would be better.
The major differences in US and UK English are with spelling (colour/color, centre/center, organise/organize), word differences (flat/apartment, trousers/pants, pavement/sidewalk) and weight and measures (grams/cups, kilos/pounds, pounds/dollars).
Below are some of the more common, but not foolproof, spelling differences:

UK/US

our/or
re/er
ise/ize
yse/yze
ogue/og

The most important thing to remember is to make sure you stay consistent and use one or the other.

FAQs

How often should I update my website content?

Frequent updates help improve your SEO ranking, so update as often as you can, but only with new and relevant information. How often you make change to your website will depend on how easy it is to update and how much content you have. Blogs should be updated frequently as should any changes to your products or services. The most important issue is to make sure your content is up to date.

How important are testimonials?

Having a number of structured, well written and descriptive testimonials can be a powerful way for you to promote your business.
Praise from someone else, especially a satisfied client, is always more believable than blowing your own trumpet. A positive statement from someone who has used your services or products and how you helped them can help establish your credibility as a professional.

Should my documentation be online or print?

Ideally you should provide documentation in both printed and online format as both have their pros and cons. Your choice will depend on your user’s competence level, how portable the information needs to be and how often it has to be updated. Below is a quick guide to the advantages of each medium.
Print – portable don’t need a pc to view, easy to read, useful for quick guides and novice users.
Online – can always be printed, easily searchable, useful for information that has to be updated often, immediately available, and cheaper to produce.


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Copyright © Judith Stafford - All rights reserved. 2012.     Tel: 07702352363