The 5 Most Common Writing Mistakes Small Biz Owners Should Avoid

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at

In the world of small business, writing quality content—whether it be for marketing material, blog posts, social media or otherwise—is becoming increasingly important to reach customers and to establish yourself as an industry thought leader. Unfortunately though, not every entrepreneur is a writer by trade. That doesn’t mean to say that they can’t write—it’s just not ‘their thing’.

However, unbeknownst to many small business owners is the fact that you needn’t be a professional pen-pusher to create great quality written content for your company. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with spectacular semantics, a vast vocabulary or connate capacity—you just need to be able to follow a few simple dos and don’ts. Here are five common literally faux pas business owners are known for, and five ways you can avoid making them.

1. Leaving it ‘til the last minute

Problem: For business owners it’s a common problem: there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. That’s why we tend to leave everything until the last minute—and that includes writing projects. Not leaving enough time to focus on writing is a recipe for disaster, and should be avoided at all costs. Late starts create unnecessary stress which freezes both productivity and creativity—not a good combination when it comes to putting pen to paper.
Solution: While there is such thing as too late, there’s no such thing as too early. Even if it’s just jotting down a tentative title, outlining the structure of your article and creating some simple bullet points—it all helps. Take advantage of the draft feature on your blogging software to get a head start on your articles, blog posts or white papers; you’ll find that when you do finally sit down to write, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re doing in your minds eye.

2. Not outlining objectives

Problem: As any entrepreneur will know, owning a small business is all about setting—and achieving—goals. It’s second nature to us. Why? Because we know exactly what we want to to accomplish, and what we need to do to get there. In the same vein, writing can also become an easy task when you outline your objectives and decide just what it is you want to achieve before you begin. But do we apply that same logic to writing projects? Probably not...
Solution: You’ll make a breakthrough as soon as you determine the whos, whats and whens of what you’re writing. Establish who you’re writing for, what your goals are, and when you need to finish the project by. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised at the difference it could make to your frame of mind.

3. Lack of forethought

Problem: One of the simplest ways of improving your writing is to select your chosen topics long in advance—something which many of us fail to do.
Solution: Pick a theme for each month of the year. Already, you’ll have narrowed down your subject matter considerably, and will be able to easily conjure up content ideas that fall under every monthly topic. Print out the list and pin it to your wall to ensure you stay on track.

4. Making the tone too formal

Problem: A common problem of small business owners when writing copy for their company is the level of formality they use. When writing business material—whether it’s to be published online or offline—the tone should always be natural, not too formal, and conversational. Think about it: when speaking to a prospective client or customer in person, you don’t have access to a thesaurus and speak in the third person. Instead, you likely keep things light, friendly and use language like ‘I’ and ‘we’.

Solution: Treat company writing projects as though you’re writing to a friend—at least for the first draft.

5. Publishing unedited copy

Problem: There’s a big difference between being able to write and being able to write to the exacting standards of a newspaper copy chief. But unfortunately, when creating quality content for your business, the latter is preferred. You may run the most fantastic and most efficient company in the world, but if your ‘about us’ section of your website has spelling errors and typos that managed to slip through the net, it may give the wrong impression to discerning customers.
Solution: Always ensure business copy is as grammatically correct and factually accurate as it can be. Allow time to review the text before it’s published, and where possible, send it to some family and friends for them to review. Just leaving the article for an evening with a view to taking another look with a fresh pair of eyes the following morning will help enormously—you’ll be amazed at how many problems you’ll notice that weren’t obvious the first time around.


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