Friday, 30 March 2012

Business Writing Essentials: What Counts as Proof

Despite all the importance of social media now, we should remember that many types of businesses need substantial and ongoing proof of their effectiveness in the products or services they offer.  What counts as proof in writing about your business?

Proof is anything that helps your reader to accept what you say about your product or service. Anecdotal evidence is not sufficient in some areas and each business needs to look to the market it serves and assess the best type of proof it can build up. 

These are some of the types of proof to consider.


I’ve talked in detail about how to construck effective testimonials in business writing in another blog (INCLUDE LINK).  I won’t cover the same ground here except to say that like any other part of business writing you need to understand how to produce them and how to use them.


Articles are a way of underlining your expert status and now are a major part, especially online of proving expert status.  But offline publications should not be disregarded. . In exactly the same way as happens with such sites as EzineArticles, you can build up your reputation by creating a body of work which over time shows your knowledge and expertise.

Placing these articles should be part of your marketing strategy, online, via the article submission sites, your blog and online journals. Offline you can offer your articles to a range of publications. Think beyond your own narrow specialism and work out who could use your knowledge.

Approach specific professions where articles on your knowledge may be rare.

White Papers

White Papers are an accepted means of transferring knowledge in scientific and technical sectors. Keeping up with new developments in any sector is a challenge. Users of products or services welcome short, jargon free information to lighten their workload.

Case Studies

Case studies are extended testimonials. In a testimonial there isn’t time to go into too many details because they need to be read quickly.

Producing case studies about your most successful projects can build up your reputation. If you have a history of tackling challenges many companies in your sector find too difficult,  case studies on your successful work can offer persuasive evidence to prospective clients.

The way to look at any proof that you create whether articles, case studies or white papers is to imagine that they will provide the backbone of any proof that you need. And while you’re taking the time to do this, think about how else you can use what you create. Such as a book you might want to write. Many business people amass a large amount of writing without making full use of it.

Consultants in any sector produce articles, workshops and other written material without considering where else they might place it.. Even if you think a book is out of the question, place the material where you can direct your prospective clients towards it as proof of your expertise.

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