When we connect with people in our personal or professional lives we almost always build a familiar and comfortable rapport. It would be weird to talk to someone who sounds robotic. But all too often in our marketing and public relations writing that’s exactly what we do! We fill our website, emails, articles with industry jargon, acronyms and formal writing that makes it harder for the reader to get through and connect.
Why are we doing this? To sound smart? To rank higher in search engines with keywords? Marketing writing is not scholarly writing. Your goal here is to persuade others to do business with you. People like to do business with people they like. Therefore, in marketing writing you’re allowed to break (some of) the conventional rules of grammar. You’re allowed to write actively, to express ideas with passion and to make your messaging more conversational.
Whether you are doing the actual writing or hiring a professional writer that will adhere to your company style, make sure the written words coming from your brand feel natural. It will help your reader connect with your message, understand your point and develop a preference for your brand.
Here are a few of my tips for writing like a human (because I assume that you and your reader are both people). They can be used in any industry—even tech or finance!
- Use contractions. When we talk, we more often say “don’t” in place of do not or “wouldn’t” in place of “would not”. Using contractions in writing can instantly transform it from overly formal to familiar.
- Don’t lead with yourself. For a long time, press releases began with a standard XYZ company today did this. Frankly, this sounds awkward and boring. Who cares? Not me. Because you didn’t make me care. Start with me. How does what you did help me? A good way to check your lead is to read it back and see if you’ve stated it as a benefit to the reader. If not, rewrite.
- Address the real problem your reader is facing. Write it. In black and white. Don’t assume your reader knows that you know what they deal with every day. For example, say, “you want to scale your business but you don’t have time to do any more manual work.” This signals to the reader that you acknowledge that they are out there and that they are human and have their own challenges.
- Limit your use of industry-specific jargon. Some jargon is ok, but if your reader needs a decoding key to get through your article, you’re making it much harder for your reader to get the point of your content. If it’s not easy for audiences to get our messages they’ll leave us. Remember, just because you talk about your product every day, doesn’t mean your target audience does so they might not be as in tune with the language of your industry as you might think.
- Eliminate extraneous words. After drafting a piece, go back and reread. Can you make your point more succinctly? Are you using phrases that add bulk ,but not substance to your message? Try cutting back so that your reader gets to the valuable content faster.
Changing the way your marketing content in just these five areas will make a tremendous impact on your message. Your target audience will hear your voice and get a feel for who the real you and that goes a long way in building a human connection. If you need support making your copy more readable, contact glee to learn how we help companies transform their messaging with these and many other tactics.