The Writing Edge for Business Writers: 8/7/15

Aug 7, 2015 | Better Writing

You’re a businessperson. You may not think of yourself as a writer, but you know that writing well can boost your results and your career. Naturally, you want to do better. Every week I point you to articles and blog posts that I think will teach you something or spark an idea or two. Some weeks there are more pointers than others.

This week I’m pointing you to pieces on improving your writing to improve your credibility and writing guest blog posts. There are also points to three business reading lists.

Articles & Posts

From Barbara Wallraff: Improve Your Writing to Improve Your Credibility

“People jump to all kinds of conclusions about you when they read documents you have written. They decide, for instance, how smart, how creative, how well organized, how trustworthy, and how considerate you are. And once they have made up their minds, it is hard to get them to see you differently. Research in social psychology shows how sticky early impressions are. It takes serious work on the receiving end to undo them — work that your colleagues, customers, and partners may not have time (or feel motivated) to do.”

From Lisa Arledge Powell: 5 steps to writing guest blog posts

“Every brand journalist needs several tools in their content creation toolbox. One should be guest blogs. The definition of guest blogging is to publish content on a third-party website or blog. Whether you’re a physician with medical expertise about diabetes or a CEO, this tactic gets you in front of your target audience as a thought leader. Use the following steps to turn into a guest blogging pro.”

Reading Lists

From Michael McKinney: First Look: Leadership Books for August 2015

I use Michael’s list to give me guidance on what I might want to read next.

From HBS Working Knowledge: The Faculty Reader: Who is Reading What This Summer?

“For Harvard Business School faculty, summer marks the perfect time to catch up on reading for work and pleasure. We asked six faculty what they’re looking forward to digging into over the next few months.”

From MBA (at) UNC: 15 Books to Read Before Launching a New Business

“You have an entrepreneurial spirit, and you are eager to bring your new product or service into the marketplace, but did you know that about 50 percent of new businesses in the United States fail in their first five years? Gallup research finds that the success of a new business has a lot to do with the person behind the launch of the venture. One of the best ways to drive future performance is for prospective founders to take the time to educate themselves about best practices and to learn from the mistakes of others. You can learn a lot from those who have successfully—or unsuccessfully—navigated the startup terrain. Below we have listed 15 books worth reading before you decide to launch your new business.”

Wally’s Comment: This is a great list but I’d add a sixteenth book. In fact, I’d move it right to the top of the list. It’s Ben Horowitz’ The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. Here’s a quote from the first paragraph of the book. If you don’t want to read the book after reading the quote, be prepared to wrestle with a lot of hard things on your own.

“The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal. The hard thing isn’t hiring great people. The hard thing is when those ‘great people’ develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed. The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.”

Sources I Check Regularly

I find the posts and articles that I share with you on The Writing Edge in many places. But there are a few that provide insightful pieces again and again. Here they are.

Digital Book World

Frances Caballo

Joanna Penn

Merce Cardus


Becky Robinson’s Weaving Influence