Series: Four Types of Written Business Communication (Part 3 - Informational)
We’re still moving with our series on business writing, this time tapping into the ins and outs of the informational kind. Much of professional writing falls into this category. This type of writing doesn’t necessarily require any action, yet serves a professional purpose to record or reference over time. While each of our series' categories has a goal of its own, the ‘main goal of [all] professional writing is efficiency’. The idea is always to provide your audience with information and instructions potentially necessary for immediate or future use.
What is informational business writing?
Informational business writing is exactly as it sounds. It ‘enables the company to predict future performance, record previous performance and meet legal or regulatory obligations’. While transactional writing focuses on emails and instructional writing on process and procedure, informational writing is geared towards ‘recording business information accurately and consistently’. These potentially less glitzy documents are paramount to business infrastructure, indicators, and continued success. With the goal of informing readers of the business specifics, the content is thorough, concise, and may cover multiple topics at hand. We know there are heaps of daily functions that take place in business, many of those are designed simply to inform. Whether it’s a reader, employee, colleague, customer, or client, the act of sharing the necessary information is the entire purpose of the interaction - this is informational business writing.
When to use it
Each of the particular facets of all types of business writing has its own specific use. Informational communication concentrates on the recording department. Whether you’re seeking the content on an FAQ page, or those in handbooks, minutes, or reports - this is where the informational category of writing takes center stage.
Examples of informational business writing
Frequently Asked Questions pages: Business’ responding to their most relevant questions in order to convey information to readers, customers, and potential clients
Financial documents: Incorporate and deliver details from prospectus’ and projects
Meeting minutes: Information contained in a summarized written record to show details of meetings inclusive of decisions made and attendees present
Reports (archival and others): Reports make up the bulk of informational business writing. Much of these are designed to share compliance details, organization particulars, ‘to communicate business and technical information, to capture work completed, to record incidents, to finalize projects and recommendation, and to act as an archive’.
How does it differ from instructional writing?
Instructional business writing is for exactly that - disseminating details to staff, clients, colleagues, and others where a step-by-step process or action often follows. Informational business writing pertains to recording items and both illuminating and informing a population. ‘It comprises documents essential to the core functions of the business for tracking growth, outlining plans, and complying' with necessary regulations. Regardless of the style of communication utilized, goals of business writing are always to be professional, to deliver effectively, and shared ‘with a clearly defined audience and purpose in mind'. All forms of business writing are always results-oriented, devoid of jargon, and designed with ease of comprehension in mind.
In the first episode of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels' character Will McAvoy goes on an epic rant. Despite his rambunctious delivery, his message is clear, 'we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed'. Whether discussing a country or company, that process of how we inform is tantamount to success. All businesses begin with a mission. Without the proper delivery of that mission, others don’t get to hear the vital message. Whether sharing information in or outside of a company, the process and method matter. Regardless of the type of style, it’s the communication itself that brings the details and sometimes the people to the table.