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How BLUF Writing Can Improve Communication in Your Business

Written by Viral Solutions

Effective communication among your team and with your customers plays a significant role in your business’s success. It can boost productivity by as much as 25% and even increase revenue. However, communicating effectively can be tricky. Without even realizing it, you may send emails that cause confusion or go overlooked. That’s why you should take an approach that ensures you get your message across clearly, which is where BLUF writing comes into play.

What Is BLUF Writing?

BLUF writing is a technique in which you put the most critical information first. In fact, the acronym BLUF stands for “bottom line up front.” Although this is a standard practice in military communications, it has been adopted by businesses as well. 

This form of writing aims to get to the main point immediately so that readers understand the email (or other form of content), even if they don’t read the entire thing. This involves quickly answering the five Ws:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why

The BLUF approach is comparable to the inverted pyramid structure used in journalism, which you may be more familiar with. Both are frameworks that encourage more reader-friendly writing. The inverted pyramid provides a helpful visual of how you should write, whereas BLUF serves as a reminder to focus on the bottom line.

What Benefits Does It Offer?

Adopting a BLUF writing approach can improve your business’s internal and external communication. If this is something you and your team have been struggling with, it’s a technique worth trying. Doing so can yield several benefits.

  1. It Enhances Comprehension

The BLUF technique helps readers understand a topic or message better. When you write this way, you highlight the most important information instead of getting caught up in unnecessary details. As a result, those reading your content experience less confusion and greater comprehension. 

  1. It Makes Writing Easier

This approach also simplifies the writing process for you and your team. It gives you a goal to strive for (i.e., hitting on the main point you want to get across). By just keeping BLUF in mind, you can organize every piece of content in a logical and easy-to-read way. And once you have that outline, writing becomes a much easier task.

  1. It Can Improve Credibility

Using BLUF writing can improve your credibility among your team and your customer base. That’s because this method makes you appear more knowledgeable and confident. Rather than dancing around the subject, you get straight to the point. And as you continue to do this, people will start to view you as a reliable authority.

  1. It Grabs Attention Quickly

Another advantage of the BLUF approach is that it helps you grab readers’ attention quickly. Instead of wasting time on personal anecdotes or lengthy introductions, you immediately introduce the controlling idea and expand on it as needed. As a result, people are more likely to be interested in and absorbed by your content. And in a world where individuals spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails, grabbing and retaining attention is crucial. 

  1. It Encourages Action

Applying the BLUF technique in your writing also does a better job of encouraging action, especially from your team. This goes back to comprehension. When people understand exactly what they should do—and why—they’re more likely to do it. Leaving less room for confusion yields better results, and that’s what BLUF writing does.

When Can You Use BLUF Writing?

You can use BLUF writing whenever clear communication is vital. That said, BLUF works best when you need to explain a complex topic or present detailed information. As it can result in a straightforward, impersonal tone, it may not be ideal for content meant to nurture customer relationships.  

Historically, this technique has been used for crafting emails. Since email is likely a huge part of your internal and external communication strategy, you should use it for that purpose. However, you can apply it to other forms of content as well, including the following:

  • Infographics
  • Instant messages
  • Articles
  • Design documents
  • White papers
  • Advertisements
  • Sales presentations

How to Apply BLUF Writing

As mentioned previously, BLUF writing is all about delivering a focused message quickly. This means you should start by introducing the main point/controlling idea first, then expand on it as needed. However, it may look a little different based on the type of content you are creating. 

Here are some examples and best practices…

Internal Emails

  • Provide a brief greeting.
  • Introduce the main point or question. 
  • (Optional) Label the bottom line. 
  • Offer context with bullet points or shorter paragraphs. 

Example:

Subject line: New Project Management Tool Needed

Good morning, Jane,

Bottom Line: We need a new project management tool to ensure our team stays organized and tasks are completed in a timely manner. 

The tool we currently use does not integrate with email, so tasks often go overlooked. Additionally, there’s a limit to the number of new projects we can create. 

Articles

  • Open with the article’s main point/controlling idea. 
  • Add headings that further explain the subject in order of importance.
  • Start each paragraph with a core sentence (i.e., a sentence that states the paragraph’s main idea).
  • Put key statements in bold, label them with “bottom line,” or place them in a box. 

Example:

Why Your Home Page Is Important

Your home page is a crucial part of your website because it serves as an introduction to your business. That’s why you should strive to give visitors a positive first impression. Failing to do so can result in high bounce rates and lost sales. 

Reminder: In any email or other piece of content you produce, make sure to double-check your spelling and grammar. Even minor errors can reflect poorly on you and your business. 

Takeaway

To improve communication in your business, look for opportunities to use BLUF writing. Shifting your approach can help you communicate your message more quickly and effectively. And as a result, you can look forward to better responses from your team and customers. 

Are you looking for additional help with email, messaging, content, or marketing as a whole? Request a free consultation with Viral Solutions today and get the insight you need.

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Viral Solutions

Viral Solutions is a full-service marketing agency committed to helping every client meet their company’s goals and objectives. The agency takes a strategy-first approach to deliver long-term results, executing each customized strategy effectively while ultimately growing the client’s business.

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