How to Write a Business Article
Among the many challenges you will face in college is the prospect of writing a business article. Whether you're a business or communications major, learning how to gather research, fortify your findings with interviews and then write an interesting, compelling story is an experience that should sharpen countless skills – from establishing and sticking to parameters to conveying information in a readable, engaging manner. By assigning a business article, your teacher is essentially expecting you to adopt the role of journalist. You should proceed accordingly and very differently from writing an essay.
Read and be certain that you understand the requirements of the assignment. In addition to the topic, your teacher probably has outlined a minimum number of sources and perhaps the type of sources you should use for your article, such as online business publications and phone interviews. A length or word count also may be part of the assignment. Clarify any part of the assignment that you don't understand and ask questions, just as a journalist would.
Write a list of questions you must answer to write the article. These questions will help you maintain your focus as you gather research and conduct interviews. Let's say that your topic is “How Chiropractors Over 60 Are Using the Social Media Favored by Teens.” Follow the journalist's strategy of delving into the “5 W's and 1 H” of your topic: who, what, where, when, why and how chiropractors are using teens' favorite social media venues.
Gather your research from the approved list of resources and conduct interviews to answer the inherent question posed by your topic. Staying on task might be one of the more challenging parts of this assignment, especially if you discover ancillary information and issues that interest you, but restrain yourself. Gathering information now and writing the article later will be easier for you if you stay on task.
Review your research and notes carefully. By now, a theme or main idea for the article should be evident. For example, if chiropractors are clearly favoring one type of social media over another, that's a great “hook” for your business article. Other ideas also should be worthy of inclusion, so prioritize them. Without writing a formal outline for your article, you are essentially providing a framework for writing it.
Begin your article with an anecdote – a short story that serves to set the stage for the article to come. Wrap up the anecdote in a few paragraphs before taking a step back and providing, in a few paragraphs, the rationale for your business article. Put yourself in the reader's position and explain why the topic is timely and why it matters. The introduction of an article is where you're making a “bargain” with the reader. In other words, you are promising to supply information in greater detail that you are merely dangling for now. Be sure that the promises you make in the introduction are promises you can keep and back up with credible information.
Write your article in the inverted pyramid style, meaning that you should provide information in descending order of importance or relevance. Since you already organized your research, you should easily be able to prioritize the information and put the most important facts toward the top. Later in the story, provide supporting information and examples that illustrate the points made.
Include quotes in your business article, but be judicious in your choices. Put quotation marks around authoritative quotations that are truly noteworthy or compelling or that add spice to the story – not information that you can easily paraphrase.
End your article artfully; do not simply stop writing. Conclusions are often more difficult than introductions, but an effective way to close your article is by returning to the theme or anecdote that you used to open it. Do not risk offending your reader by repeating information word for word.
Edit your article for relevance. Be certain that you have followed your teacher's instructions. Then proofread your article carefully for proper grammar and spelling.
- 2013 Writer’s Market, Robert Lee Brewer (ed.), 2013.
- The New St. Martin’s Handbook; Andrea Lunsford and Robert Connors; 1999.
- The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers; Maxine Hairston and John Ruszkiewicz; 1991.
- Indiana University: Proofreading for Common Surface Errors: Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar
With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.