Better Business Writing

Learn the techniques of persuasive writing and how to apply it effectively in business — with writing consultant Piers Alder

Are you a small business owner, startup company or freelancer? Would you like to learn how to get the most from your business writing? This five-week online course will introduce you to the language, skills and techniques used by professional copywriters, while showing you how to find the right tone and approach for your business and marketing communications.

UK Screenskills Bursary Funding Opportunities

This course has been made possible by the support of Screenskills, and has been approved as part of an informal or formal continuing professional development (CPD) programme.

As this is a professional development course, you may be able to get funding from your employer to do it. All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion evidencing their learning and study hours.




This course will teach you the secrets to crafting compelling marketing and business writing. We’ve designed it for small business owners, startups, sole traders, freelancers and anyone who needs to write professionally for the company they work for.

It’s suitable if you:

  • Need to write for your business but don’t know how or where to start
  • Would like to learn the skills used by professional copywriters
  • Want to explore different types of business writing, including marketing, publicity, sales, presentations, websites, funding bids and internal communications
  • Have done some business writing but need a back-to-basics refresher
  • Enjoy learning and practising new writing techniques
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Good writing talks directly to your customers. It persuades them to do or think things, such as buying a service, giving a donation, signing up to a mailing list, feeling a connection with a brand, or simply remembering your organisation’s name. Our online Better Business Writing course will show you how to write effective marketing materials and develop your understanding of the right tone of voice and approach to use in all your business communications. You’ll have the opportunity to try out a range of creative, practical and critical skills in writing persuasively and practice key skills in planning, writing, editing and proofreading. You’ll find out how to get your message noticed and learn the secrets to writing successful adverts, websites, brochures and newsletters.

Session 1: What is business writing?
What is its purpose? How different kinds of marketing writing work. Why the brief is the key. This session is also about getting to know your fellow participants. Key output: your brief.
Session 2: What makes writing effective
Good style / bad style basics. Opaque words and phrases. Declogging your text: removing passives, jargon, clichés. The importance of cutting. Writing as you speak. Key output: your key message.
Session 3: How marketing writing works
What makes people buy? Features versus benefits. Structuring a piece of marketing writing. The importance of the call to action. Key output: detailed copy structure of key piece of marketing communication.
Session 4: Getting your key message noticed
What are we really saying here? The difference between what your product appears to be and what it actually is. What makes a headline work? 18 key headline types. Using psychology to make headlines compelling. Key output: a range of headline types for different media.
Session 5: Finding the right tone of voice
What is tone of voice? How brand affects tone of voice. Learning to adjust your tone. Understanding your brand. What tone should you be using? Choosing the appropriate media and format for your brand and voice, including exploring the potential of digital marketing. A practical guide to adapting your writing across different media. Key output: finding your tone of voice, defining it and applying it to core campaign elements across different print and digital media.
By the end of Session 5 you will have the skills to compile a full set of marketing materials for your business, either digital or print or both, which you can choose to submit for feedback. You will receive feedback on up to 2,000 words of this work from Piers.

We teach this course in our online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can fit learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the weekly sessions.

We can also teach this course on a one-to-one basis, or run it exclusively for a group of your employees, as part of your continuing professional development. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to know more.

You’ll learn from:

  • Podcasts and videos from Piers Alder and other business writing experts
  • Written guidance, prompts and writing exercises
  • Carefully selected reading and viewing lists
  • Webinars and feedback from Piers
  • Exercises to help you experiment and practise your own writing, from the first session onward
  • Online discussions with writers in your group and the chance to share and give feedback on each other’s writing

You’ll need:

  • 5-7 hours per week to work through the course
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Join our alumni

After your course, you can join our online alumni where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.

Within our online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum and access an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other courses and groups and share your work for feedback on our alumni critiquing forum
  • Join in on discussions about reading, writing, editing and ideas on our general discussion forum. This is also where we share news and useful info
  • Retain access to our resources area, which has interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people online using the alumni area live chatroom. 

Taking things further

If you’d like to continue on to another Professional Writing Academy course, we’ll give you a discount. Please get in touch for more details.

What our students say...

I wanted to improve my online business presence, including social media to increase interest and also for online sales — plus I’m starting a new strand of my business and wanted to go into this with the right tone for a new market.

Student, 2016

What our students say...

Being shown examples of marketing writing, and reasons why some are good and some are bad — this made the descriptions and tasks much more relevant. Having a systematic approach to really working out what I’m striving towards — learning how I can improve my writing skills and thinking more about the context of what I’m doing — and how I come across to others.

Student, 2016

What our students say...

I believe I am a better writer for doing this course. I’ve got more useful information from Piers in 5 weeks than from anyone else in all the time I’ve been doing my job.

Student, 2018

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