Don’t you love corporate-speak?
Just about everyone hates it, so you’re amongst friends here. Yet so many businesses lapse into an extraordinarily self-important, stiff and overblown style when they write content for their websites.
The web is informal
Where corporate-speak has jarred for decades in brochures and advertising, it’s 110% out of place online.
So don’t do it!
Part of my career was spent writing direct mail packs, where I learned how to engage people personally with my writing. Many of those skills apply to the web.
Imagine you’re talking person-to-person.
Try to develop your own voice
When writing your own copy – or copy for your own business – you must develop your own voice. In the first place, write in the way that seems most natural to you. Be human.
A professional will find a voice that’s right for your site, but you need to find a voice that you can write in, article after article, page after page, post after post.
When I started writing professionally, I often read as I wrote, with a voice in my ear saying the words. It gave me an impression of the flow of the copy as I was writing.it.
Even if you do this, you should always try to read your copy back aloud, once you have finished it. It’ll tell you a lot about the rhythms and flow of your words, and therefore how easy it will be to read when it’s on your website.
Transparent, not impressive
Some people who engage a copywriter to write their content expect to see fireworks; a display of writing prowess for their money.
It’s not the way I believe the best copy is written. Content shouldn’t draw attention to itself. It should convey whatever message that’s needed without getting in the way.
But what about the audience?
Strangely, I’ve been writing about writing from the inside perspective, when, of course, we must write for an audience.
I’ve written previously about how you should have a clear picture of your audience and their needs when you write. The same goes for your writing style. Your voice must be appropriate to your audience.
So you must be careful with slang and expletives, for example.
In many business contexts, neither will fit easily. But if you were writing about rap music, your business voice may well not fit, either.
Have you developed an appropriate voice for your audience?
Thank you to Misko for allowing me to use her photograph.