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Characteristics of the Four Types of Business Writing

By: Morgan Topol

No matter what role you play at the office, knowing how to effectively communicate with others in or involved with your organization is essential.

Business writing is any purposeful piece of writing that conveys relevant information to the reader in a clear, concise and effective manner. It can be categorized into four types: instructional, informational, persuasive and transactional.

Instructional Business Writing

Instructional business writing provides the reader with information needed to complete a specific task, either immediately or in the future. This type of document breaks the task down into chronological steps that are understandable to the reader.

Examples of instructional business writing include user manuals, specifications and memos. Many instructional documents also fall under the domain of technical writing, which is closely related to business writing.

With this type of writing, it’s important to remember how much – or how little – the reader knows about the topic at hand, so the document can provide any missing information. 

Informational Business Writing 

Informational business writing pertains to recording business information accurately and consistently. This type of business writing doesn’t necessarily require action from the reader, but it’s essential for keeping them up to date on core functions of the business. 

The bulk of informational writing is report writing, which is used to capture work completed, to record incidents, to finalize projects and to act as an archive. Other examples of this type of writing include quarterly financial reports and meeting minutes.

Persuasive Business Writing

Persuasive business writing aims to both convey information to a reader and convince them that the presented information offers the best value. The text is written to impress the reader, which is important for making sales and furthering client relationships. 

Examples of persuasive business writing include promotional content like ads, brochures and press releases. Sales decks and proposals to prospects also fall under this category, along with cover letters and resumes.

When writing persuasive material, focus less on the business and more on what the reader wants and the kinds of problems they are trying to solve.

Transactional Business Writing

Transactional business writing consists of day-to-day communication at the workplace. It’s used to progress general operations and also to convey good and bad news, often related to human resource processes.

The majority of transactional business writing is done by email, but also includes official letters, forms and invoices. A dismissal notice, which provides necessary context and details for termination, is another example of this type of writing.

General Tips

With all four types of business writing, it is important to keep in mind who your reader is and what you are trying to convey to them. 

Instead of including unnecessary jargon or verbosity, focus instead on rereading and revising your document, checking for any spelling and grammar errors and making sure it can be easily understood at a cursory glance. 

1893 Brand Studio’s experienced and diligent copywriters can help you improve your business writing skills. Be sure to check out our services and see if our content writers can help you learn more about this widely used style of writing.