What’s your online writing “voice?”
In other words, what is it about your website and social media communications that make them undeniably, recognizably YOU?
If you just shrugged and answered, “Beats me!” you’re not alone.
Figuring out your own unique way of expressing yourself can be one of the most challenging aspects of writing for your business.
It’s so easy to get caught up worrying exactly how you want to portray yourself.
Should you go for a casual approach — or be more businesslike? Is enthusiasm okay? Or is it more important to sound polished and sophisticated?
Are jokes okay? Exclamation marks? Emoticons? 😕
Or do you have to write like an English professor in order to come across as an expert?
Aaaagh! So many questions! What’s a word-shy business owner / artist / entrepreneur to do?
Just be yourself
The more your website & social media writing reflects your real personality, the more people will relate to it — and the more you’ll attract the people who are most likely to be interested in your products and services.
The thing is, people don’t want to do business with companies – they want to do business with people. And they most especially want to do business with people they LIKE.
Ideally, your audience should feel like you’re someone they would really enjoy going out for a coffee or a drink with.
So how do you get this message across?
Here are 7 tips to help you write in a way that’s friendly and engaging — and conveys a clear sense of who you are as a person, so that the people who are most likely to resonate with you will think, “SWEET JEEBUS THIS PERSON ROCKS.”
1. Pretend you’re writing to your best friend
Your readers will respond better if you write in a warm, friendly, intimate tone — and if it feels like you’re speaking to them and them alone. If you sound like you’re speaking to a crowd of faceless people (e.g.: “Dear friends…”) they’ll be more likely to tune you out and you’ll find it much harder to engage them on a personal level.
2. Write about topics that get you really excited
Look for opportunities to let your passion come through loud and clear. Not only is enthusiasm infectious – it will give readers a sense of what’s important to you and will help them feel like they know you – even if you’ve never actually met.
3. Include references to your favourite pop culture content
Are you a huge Game of Thrones fan? (Valar morghulis, baby!) Or is House of Cards more your thing? Or maybe you’re a huge Orange is the New Black fan. Whatever your jam is, own it!
When you include references to your favourite shows, songs, movies, and books in your writing, you reveal your personality – and people who share your interests will feel a closer connection to you.
(Same goes for hobbies and other interests, by the way.)
4. Write like you speak
The best way to make your writing sound authentically like YOU is to write the way you speak. How do you typically express yourself? With wry humour, warmth and compassion, or unabashed enthusiasm? Reflect these same emotions in your writing.
If you’ve never really thought about how you express yourself while talking, record yourself while having a casual conversation with a good friend. Then transcribe the conversation and look at the way you express yourself. What common expressions come up over and over again? Make sure to use them in your marketing writing as well, so all your business communications sound recognizably YOU.
5. Write like you WRITE
If you’re like most Internet-savvy people, you probably already write a LOT of different stuff everyday – emails, FB posts, texts, and so on. Go through the messages you send to your friends and again look for the words, phrases, and expressions you frequently use — and use them in your online marketing communications to make them more personal and authentic.
6. Don’t try to be all things to all people
When you reveal your authentic personality to the world, there’s a chance that some people just aren’t going to resonate with you. That’s okay. There’s not a single business on the planet that appeals to everyone — and those who try often come across as so bland and generic that they end up appealing to no one.
The trick is to make sure that you do the best possible job of relating to the people who ARE likely to be interested in you. They’re the ones who will end up becoming your biggest supporters. And they will be so much fun to hang out and do business with — which will make your life that much more awesome.
7. Don’t try to be perfect – try to have FUN
All rules were made to be broken — even the rules of grammar. If you have ghosts of English teachers past whispering in your ear and telling you to use “one might consider” instead of “you totally should” and never to split an infinitive or start a sentence with a conjunction or – god forbid! – have a single stand-alone sentence as a paragraph, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THEM.
Most of what they’re telling you is bunk.
Of course you want to make sure your writing is free of spelling mistakes and typos and uses consistent punctuation to make the reading experience easier and more enjoyable.
But please don’t feel like you have to use fancy words and follow academic writing conventions in order to be taken seriously!
That could actually backfire as formal, academic writing doesn’t read well online at all. It’s hard to scan, often unnecessarily wordy, and — let’s face it — boring.
Show us what you’ve got
The more people feel like they know you, the more likely they are to do business with you. So let your true personality shine through everything you write and all your marketing – and you’ll be amazed at the awesome people who show up eager to do business with you!