“If you’re not a human who says ‘indeed’ or ‘moreover’ or who calls someone an individual…please don’t write it.”

William Zinsser.

Something happens to most people when they start writing work-related copy: they create a whole new personality for themselves.

Have you ever noticed the difference between how you speak, and how you write?

Some clients tell me they feel they need to add a certain formality in order to be taken seriously. For others, it’s habit. Very often, it’s simply how we were taught.

But writing is a form of sales and marketing. And to sell, we need to use emotion to connect. This extends to all industries – including IT, banking, and financial services.

So, use the words that your customers use.

I always prefer first person: ‘we’ ‘you’ etc (unless you’re communicating serious or unwelcome news).

And I’m a big fan of contractions: ‘you’re’ ‘it’s’ etc. This makes it conversational. And a conversational tone helps achieve personal connection. It’s not about being jokey or flippant (please, go easy on the exclamation marks). It’s about being confident enough to sound human. One way to do this is to apply word swaps, such as the ones below.

Word swaps:

  • About not approximately
  • Best not optimum
  • End not terminate
  • Get not obtain
  • Help not facilitate