When you write your marketing material your primary focus is likely to be persuading people to buy your stuff – whether that’s on your website, a flyer or a newsletter promotion and especially when you’re writing email or direct marketing material. The issue of voice is often overlooked.
What do I mean by ‘voice’? It’s when people say ‘I can hear you talking when I read your material’. The challenge with business copy is that we want to write professional content and stay away from a chatty or informal approach in case it comes over as too casual.
For some businesses there is less of a gap to bridge, but take a solicitor or a building contractor, each of these businesses won’t want to write content for their website in the same way they talk to clients. However, formal and distant doesn’t work either. Polite copy tends to be completely devoid of personality and not very interesting to read. Besides, if I’m looking for a potential supplier I want to get a feel of the kind of people I’ll be dealing with; people buy people.
If I need to visit a solicitor I will want to feel that I will be meeting a friendly professional who is not only an expert, but also will try to empathise with my situation – not remind me of my old schoolteacher, disapproving and prone to telling me what I can’t do! If I am looking for a reliable building contractor I want reassuring that they are professional and pay attention to details, but also that they understand my side of things and what is important to me and won’t do that sharp intake of breath when I ask them for something.
There are ways to get your personality over in your writing, without resorting to pompous prose – but you might find you need an expert to help you find your voice.