11 Tips for Creating Professional Written Communications

MktgChecklistCoverEvery communication you send is Marketing your business. It is especially important to be careful with your written communications, because every communication you send actually has two messages: the direct written message; and the overall professional message. If you are a terrific writer and editor, your correspondences can be great marketing tools. However, if you are a horrible speller, they can leave a very different impression. Use the following tips and our free downloadable checklist to ensure your message is received as you intend—direct, accurate, and professional.

General Tips

Before choosing email as your method of delivery, ask yourself: “Is email appropriate for this correspondence?” Email can be a great option if you are making announcements, passing on information or links to online information, or sending newsletters. The written letter may be the more professional way to go if you are sending personal or private information, letters that require a physical signature, or making a significant announcement.

Check for typos/misspellings. Manually check for errors, as well as use the spell-check and grammar functions on your computer. With today’s technologies, there is no reason to miss a misspelling. If your email program does not have spell-check and grammar functions, write your letter in a word processing program first, check the document, and then copy it into your email program.

Proofread everything. “Auto-correct” is not necessarily your friend (the downside of technology), so we recommend you proofread out loud. For very important documents, have another person proofread as well.

For printed letters, use professional letterhead. Make sure your letterhead includes your contact information, as well as your business name and logo (if you have one). Leave enough space above the content of your letter (10 lines is a good place to start), so that it prints with a suitable space between content and letterhead.

For electronic messages, use an email signature. Besides your name and email address, include additional contact information in your email signature similar to your letterhead (i.e., phone number, website address, mailing address).

Content Tips

Use simple, straightforward sentences, with familiar words.

Use active, rather than passive language. For example, “Our new location opens Sunday.”, rather than “Our new location will be opening Sunday.”

Use positive language. For example, if you want to remind someone of something, say “remember to…”, instead of “don’t forget to….”.

Formatting Tips 

Use appropriate grammar and punctuation.

Choose appropriate fonts. It is more important that your message is readable than creative. If your favorite font is not easily read, use a standard font. It will look more professional as well.

For printed letters, use a standard business letter format. The content should be arranged in this order: date; recipient name and address; salutation; body of letter; closing; and your printed name. Additional items that may or may not be included: attention or subject lines; reference initials if someone else typed it for you; special notations, such as copy notations or enclosures.

Follow the Example of Successful Businesses

MCK_cover_thumbnailWhen Sohnen-Moe Associates originally published the Business Mastery Supplement in 1995, it included many, many sample letters written by Cherie herself, as well as other successful practitioners and business owners who agreed to share their letters to clients, colleagues, potential employers, and the like. Over the years, we have added and updated all kinds of communications—Announcements, Cooperative Marketing, Employment, Finances, Follow-Up, General Correspondence, Media, Miscellaneous Marketing, Press Releases, Primary Care Correspondence, Thank-You Letters, and more. The newest version, now called Marketing Communications for Massage Therapists, is a kit of 150 professionally pre-written, customizable letters ready for your immediate use.

You’ve heard many times not to re-invent the wheel. So, if you know a practitioner or small business that displays excellent written communications in their marketing and client correspondence, ask them if you can borrow their style or content. Most likely, they will be flattered at the request and more than happy to share with you. (The important thing here is to get their permission, otherwise you may find yourself violating copyrights.) Or try your own style! Simply download our free checklist and get started today.

We wish you many years of success with effective correspondence!