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Even if you’re not a professional writer, chances are a good part of your profession involves writing—maybe even every day!

Between work emails, corporate memos, and professional letters, there are so many occasions when you need to use your writing skills, even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer.”

Taking some time to learn about the different types of business writing and their characteristics can help you become more effective in your professional communication, which is a huge benefit regardless of the field you’re in.

What Is Business Writing?

Business writing is a type of professional communication that intends to elicit a business response. This means it can include everything from a corporate memo, to a sales email, or even a friendly message establishing your relationship with a new client.

While these different forms of business writing are quite unique from one another, there are several qualities that all types of effective business writing have in common. Unlike most forms of creative or even academic writing, your business writing should be direct, simple, and clear in order to get the best results.

Types of Business Writing

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Below are the 4 most common types of business writing, along with examples of some of the documents you’re likely to encounter.

1. Instructional

Instructional business writing provides readers with the information and instructions they need to complete a task.

These documents are usually technical in nature and break down processes into applicable steps. The writer of an instructional document should understand their target audience’s existing knowledge of the subject.

For example, if their target reader is a beginner, then they should write in a way that’s easy for even a novice to understand.


  • User manuals: When you purchase certain products, such as a coffee pot or an iPad, you’ll most likely receive a user manual that details all of the product’s features and offers specific instructions for how to use them.
  • Memos: Memos are most common in the workplace, especially in corporate offices. They are often used to instruct employees about how to comply with new policies or practices.

2. Informational

The purpose of informational business writing is to provide a record or reference that can be used by future readers.

Informational documents can be helpful resources for tracking progress, predicting the future work of a business, and meeting legal obligations.


  • Reports: In a business, reports are used to record progress, incidents, and other communication. One common example is a financial report, which outlines the financial state of a business or organization.
  • Minutes: Meeting minutes are used to record and summarize what happens in a meeting, including who was present, what was discussed, and what decisions were made.

3. Persuasive

Persuasive business writing is generally associated with sales and copywriting. Documents that use this kind of writing might focus on a specific item or service, or they might aim to further develop client relationships.

The goal of this writing is to convey information in a way that sway’s the reader’s decision and convinces them that their solution offers the best value.


  • Press releases: The goal of a press release is to convince journalists and members of the media that your brand or event is worth covering on their own outlets.
  • Sales emails: Sales emails are sent on a wide scale to pitch a product or service.

4. Transactional

Transactional business writing includes most types of everyday correspondence, such as emails and business letters.

These transactions can vary greatly in their scope and specific uses, but they generally help to progress day-to-day operations.


  • Emails: Pretty much any email that’s sent in a professional context—whether it’s being sent within your organization or to a prospective client—counts as transactional business writing.
  • Acceptance or dismissal letters: Writing a letter to formally accept a job offer, as well as communicating the termination of one’s employment, are both examples of transactional writing.

What Are the Basics of Business Writing?

Business writing is quite different from creative writing and other styles that offer more freedom and flexibility. In addition to maintaining a professional tone, there are several other qualities you’ll want to focus on in your writing.

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Consider your audience.

For your business writing to be effective, you need to understand who your reader is and what they want. This is true whether you’re making a pitch in a sales email or writing a letter to your boss.

Knowing your goals, as well as those of your reader, will help you choose the appropriate type of business writing and the best way to present your message.

Be clear and concise.

Business writing is no place to wax poetic. As developed as your creative writing skills may be, they won’t do your readers much good in a business context.

Be as clear and concise as possible. Don’t overuse jargon or highly technical terms, especially if there’s any chance they’ll be unfamiliar to your audience.

Organize your ideas.

In business letters, emails, and other forms of professional communication, you should organize your ideas in a way that’s easy for readers to scan and quickly understand the key points of your message.

This means writing short paragraphs, including adequate space between them, and even using bullet points, if appropriate.

Check for errors.

While it’s always a good idea to proofread your work, business writing is one place where you definitely don’t want to leave behind embarrassing errors.

Thoroughly comb through your writing, checking for clarity and hunting for typos. Or, better yet, enlist the help of a proofreading software tool such as Grammarly to double check for you.

Develop Your Business Writing Skills

Familiarizing yourself with the different types of business writing and their qualities can help prepare you for for successful communication in all aspects of your professional life.

To take your business writing skills to the next level, consider taking a business writing course online so you can continue to grow.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!


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