It has been said before, but we think it is an important concept to understand so we are going to say it again “marketing is communication.” The very foundation of marketing is communication. You cannot be an effective marketer if you are not an effective communicator. It really is that simple. And, to quote one of my university professors, “You cannot not communicate.” Everything you do communicates a message. This means that from the way you dress to the word choices you use to the body language you show… all those things communicate a message to the people around you.
In the same way, the way you write your marketing content speaks to an audience about your organization.
Elements of style to think about when writing
- Choice of vocabulary
- Voice you write in
- Level of formality
- Length of paragraphs
- Amount of jargon
Why Writing Style Matters for Content Writing
The way you write can build or break trust with your audience.
One basic rule for building trust in nonverbal communication is to mirror someone’s nonverbal behaviors. For example, if I am talking to you and leaning forward, you should lean forward as well, mirroring my action, if you want me to subconsciously begin to trust you.
Now, let’s put that idea into a scenario involving written communication.
Scenario: Let’s say that Jane is emailing back and forth with John to discuss business together. Jane knows of John through her close friend Pat, so she sends John an informal email asking if he would like to meet with her for coffee next week. Now, John can respond in a variety of different ways to this message, but what is most important for cultivating or weakening his new relationship with Jane will be the style in which he responds to her. To build trust, he should mirror her writing style. Because Jane wrote to him in a conversational tone, he should match this. Now, if John wants to shift the relationship to be more professional and less informal, he may choose to write back to her in a more distant manner, pushing her informality off to the side and redirecting the tone of the conversation.
There is not necessarily a right or wrong in this situation, but, you can see that his style will determine how Jane feels when she meets with him for coffee next week.
In marketing, the same idea applies. Your writing style has the power to build trust with those who are reading your writing. Sloppy writing and poor grammar can cause readers to feel that you aren’t a competent communicator. An overly formal style can make readers think that you aren’t friendly. These are all things that need to be noodled over when you are writing marketing content.
The way you write can build a relationship with the reader
Your writing has the power to bridge the gap between your company and the reader. If your writing is highly technical and filled with jargon, it can create a barrier between the two. The reader may think that your company is unhelpful, difficult to understand, doesn’t work well with people who don’t understand technical concepts or even stuck up.
If your writing is effective for your intended audience, you can build trust and step into the day of your reader. You can begin to build a relationship with your reader, creating a connection between your reader and the work that your company does.
Your writing style can move readers to act
With inbound marketing, your content needs to move people to take action steps until they finally become loyal consumers. Your style is going to be what determines if people act of not. Yes, the rationale of what you are saying is important, but ultimately the emotional connection you build with a reader is what moves the reader to take action. So, pay attention to the way you are saying things, not just what you are saying. Oh, and don’t forget to use CTAs.
Final Thoughts on Writing Style
- Use your buyer persona to determine your writing style
- Be aware of the content your target audience wants to hear
- Avoid using too much jargon
- Explain technical concepts
- Connect the dots between concepts and action steps
- Don’t forget to use CTAs!
Related blog post: Writing Content that Reflects Your Company’s Values
Good luck as you develop your company’s writing style. Reach out to us with questions.