by Deborah MacDonald
Published at 2020-09-02
Your business documents are vital to getting your message across, differentiating your organization from others, and reflecting your brand. Never before has the need for clear and compelling content been greater.
Optimizing your business reports, proposals, marketing materials, and website copy will ensure they are persuasive and geared to your intended audience.
In my first blog for The Editing Company, I have put together a toolkit of online editing resources to help you achieve success through your business documents.
A great business document starts with a well-written one.
Business Writing Blog is a website that contains hundreds of business-focused writing and editing articles and information. The convenient search bar lets you look up any business writing topic – for example, how to avoid too much formality business documents, self-editing tips for everyday documents, and how to format bulleted lists. The site also offers courses and a great library of business writing books.
Business Dictionary is a free online business dictionary with full search capability for business terms and phrases. The site provides detailed definitions, examples in sentence, and cite terms. It also offers a term of the day. The term for September 1: entrepreneurship.
Investopedia has an online dictionary of business terms that goes beyond basic definitions by also providing a deeper understanding of business terms. Although accessed alphabetically rather than through a search bar, the detailed information, useful graphics, and key takeaways make this site a must-have for your business editing toolbox. You can also subscribe to “Term of the Day” to learn a new financial term every day.
Style Guides offer a set of standards that help writers and editors compose and format documents and content, ensuring consistency and clarity. Style guides help keep your brand consistent.
One of the most popular style guides is from the Canadian Press. You may be familiar with the print version of the guide, which is an essential resource for editors and writers working in Canadian news and magazine publishing and as PR professionals. So you will want to check out the Canadian Press Online Stylebook version, which is subscription-based and provides a convenient alternative to its print format. Subscriptions are CAD$49.95 per year. To quote from its website:
The Canadian Press Online Stylebook contains writing style guidelines from Canada’s national news agency so you can follow the same standards used by media and communications professionals nationwide.
It provides practical answers on writing cleanly, accurately and concisely, including:
– Easy-to-follow guidelines on capitalization, punctuation, and abbreviations.
– Advice on how to write with style and colour, as well as good taste.
– Listings and spellings on countries and cities around the world.
– Tips for PR professionals, including writing press releases, holding conferences and working with the media.
Nothing detracts from your business document more than a misspelled word or grammatical error. A business editing toolkit would not be complete without an online grammar checker. There is a plethora of free and paid online grammar, spelling, and usage resources.
Although Grammarly is a popular and powerful online grammar checker, the paid subscription can be expensive. There are other good online grammar checkers that may be worth checking out.
ProWritingAid is a grammar and style checking tool that integrates well with popular applications (Microsoft Suite, Google Docs, etc.) and is available in both free and paid formats.
Language Tool assesses your writing for Canadian English as well as for more than 20 languages. Both free and paid subscription formats are available.
Using the services of a professional business editor may be an effective option to ensure your documents have a unified voice, are focussed and clear, and meet your business objectives. As an online service, the objectivity, flexibility, and confidentiality of a business editor provides the assurance that your documents are clear, polished, and professional.
Whether your business documents are edited using the many online resources available, or through the services of a professional business editor, the results will ensure your documents are as professional as they need to be.