Types of Business Writing

Posted on February 26th, 2015 by

I’m a senior English major who has recently begun the uphill battle of finding a job in the real world. If you are anything like me, you have likely been told for the last four years that there are tons of jobs out there for people with writing skills. What those jobs are and where “out there” is, though, are rarely specified. There are, after all, numerous forms of writing, and each of those is the main form for hundreds of different jobs. So where is a soon-to-be English graduate supposed to start? After some communication with Gustavus English major alum Scott Schneweis, what is available and where to start is much clearer.

Schneweis, a technical and research writer for Savvysherpa, explained that writing has three tracks: arts (creative writing for books, movies, poetry), journalism (television, newspaper, magazines, blogs), and business. As English majors, we are all familiar with the first two; it’s the writing we have done since freshman year. However, it is just as likely for us to land a job in business writing as it is in creative writing or journalism. Not sure what the business side of writing entails? Schneweis breaks it down into five categories:


Advertising Copy: Write advertising material for commercials, banners, posters. It is usually done at ad agencies.

Marketing Copy: Work on websites, direct mail, emails, and social media. Most companies have writers, but some do hire marketing/ad agencies.

Research Writing:

Experiment Proposals: Write a planned or proposed experiment (what questions are going to be answered, how, and with who?) as well as experiment write-ups (the results of the experiment). Review/summarize papers to assess if worthy of investment.

Technical Writing:

Instruction Manuals


            White Papers: Write information papers about a certain topic.

Public Relations:

Press Releases

Corporate Statements

            Story Pitches

Grant Writing

While some business writing jobs are going to be focused, others are going to be blend of the list above. For example, at Savvysherpa, Schneweis does a lot of research writing with technical writing and some copywriting mixed in. Other companies might have you do a lot of grant writing but will also ask for press releases. It all depends on the job.

Now that you have an idea of what the business side of writing looks like, take the time to do some research. It may be that your hidden talent is copywriting or that research writing is your true passion. If you have any more questions or want to get in contact with someone in the field, be sure to check out the CSL for help.


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