We tend to put creativity in one box, and communication in other. When we’re earning a living from our writing, writing for business, engaging with corporate clients, there’s something about the involvement of transactions, and well, money, that sucks the life out of words and takes away all creativity.
It doesn’t have to be this way. All communication should evoke some kind of reaction, be it educative, informative, entertainment or emotion. This can’t happen unless there’s a bit of passion behind the words. A bit of creativity. Some life. It can be so easy to stick to the same formulas and language, yet this not only doesn’t benefit the client in the long run, it makes your working life a little bit dull.
What can we learn from creative writing for business writing? I ran a workshop at Petit Miracles to share some exercises usually reserved for fiction and poetry with budding entrepreneurs, all with the aim of improving their business writing.
The most crucial element of any story is the character. Who they are, how they act, and what happens to them is how plot develops. People connect with other people. Novelists say you should know everything about your character, even the things that seem irrelevant to the story. It’s not enough to know that your target customers are women aged 20-40. Be specific. The Petit Miracles team know their customer’s names, when they last laughed, what book they are reading, what’s in their handbag.
How often do you receive some communications from a company, and find that it’s drowning in jargon and long sentences – only discovering the thing that you actually want to know right at the end of the letter or information? We tried distilling down what the business and brand was about to a haiku. With only 17 syllables to play with there’s no room to be vague. Making the pitch poetry was a fun way to play.
There are over 90,000 products in the largest supermarkets, and we’re exposed to over 800 ads per day. How can you stand out? The best brands know that the heart leads, not the head. Decisions are made emotionally rather than rationally. Rather than focusing on what the product is, the entrepreneurs at Petit Miracles thought about how they wanted the product to make their customer feel. It’s not about clothes, it’s about feeling powerful. People don’t buy soap, they buy relaxation and time.
By the end of the workshop not only had we laughed a lot, but all the participants said that they had a better idea of who their customer is and how they want to speak to them. Confidence in writing and marketing improved, and there was a real energy in the room, with everyone motivated to take their business to the next level and ready to tell their brand story.