BLUF is a military communications acronym — it stands for “Bottom Line Up Front” — that’s designed to enforce speed and clarity in reports and emails.
The basic idea is simple: put the most important details first. Don’t tease or delay your main point because people are busy and their time is valuable. And make it clear—life-or-death decisions could be made using your information.
Scott Adams of the Dilbert fame puts it succinctly that Business writing is about clarity and persuasion. The main technique is keeping things simple. Simple writing is persuasive. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. Don’t fight it.
Your first sentence needs to grab the reader. That’s the key.
Whether you’re asking for help or organizing a call, BLUF your communications with your co-workers by reducing the amount of work that your recipient has to do to help you.
Email was one of the original contexts in which BLUF was first imagined, so it is a natural fit for the method.
The first few sentences of any customer email should clearly explain the purpose and reason for the email, as well as (our desired or intended) next steps.
You should BLUF your content marketing the same way you BLUF your internal and external communications. Organize your writing so that it delivers context and meaning to readers as quickly as possible.
You put in work by including all necessary context, getting to the point, and revising until all evidence of your thought process is off the page.