How to write for the web
Your authentic voice is not just about what you say in person. Your authentic voice has to be reflected in all your online activities – website, blogs, articles, tweets, Facebook posts, newsletters, emails…. everywhere online. This article explores how a lack of authentic voice in the written word can affect both ends of the success spectrum.
‘You didn’t write that newsletter’
‘A very good client unsubscribed from my newsletter. I contacted him and asked him why? He replied that it clearly hadn’t been written by me and that’s not what he wanted.’
This client’s business had got so successful that he had a team in place to deal with the day to day running of his business.
It’s a dream for most small business owners.
This particular client recognised that he needed to keep feeding his contacts with regular content via newsletters.
Keeping in touch with your contacts through a regular newsletter is the lifeblood of a business. It’s a relatively low-cost marketing activity and there’s no excuse not to if you’re serious about your business.
The regular newsletter was another task this client delegated to his team.
However, his team couldn’t replicate the way their boss spoke in the written word.
All of the people on their database are there as a direct result of attending one of their boss’s motivational leadership talks.
Their boss is a one of a kind leadership speaker. Delegates at his talks experience radical life changing shifts.
So, it’s not surprising that if the ensuing newsletters don’t speak to them in their hero’s ‘voice’ it leaves them feeling ‘cheated’.
A potential future sale or referral lost.
The same is true in reverse.
You read a piece, be it a blog post, newsletter, tweet, FB post and in your head, you form a picture of what the author is like.
Eventually, you feel like you know the author. They’ve demonstrated their expertise through what they’ve shared. You feel you could trust them. You like them and how they portray themselves in their written words and what they’ve shared.
One of their communications strikes a chord and you realise that you need them.
You make contact. You’re excited about the prospect of finally speaking with them and having them help you and being able to tap into their expertise.
You speak to them.
But something isn’t right.
The mental picture in your head that you’ve built up from all the emails, newsletters, website and social media of how you imagined them to be doesn’t fit with the voice on the other end.
It’s not congruent.
There’s a disconnect.
You say you want to think about it.
You don’t buy.
When you write authentically, it means that you write how you would say it.
It’s not how you were taught in school how to write.
Authentic writing has your personality woven through it so that the reader can imagine it’s you speaking it.
People who say they can’t write, imagine that they have to write in a style that would get them A grades in their English tests and this isn’t the case.
Writing in your authentic style that’s full of your personality is what will set you apart from your competition. It puts you in a class of one – you and your uniqueness and the experiences of what you offer.
The moral of the story
You can’t outsource your authentic voice. So don’t.
This particular client has decided that he will dedicate every Sunday to writing his thought pieces to be sliced and diced up by his team for dissemination through all his communication channels.
What can you learn from this
Only you can write as you. If you think the solution to getting yourself ‘out there’ in the social media world can happen purely by outsourcing and not taking any part, then think again.
Even the best copywriters and social media implementers need your participation for it to be successful. Otherwise all the leads their work generates will fall flat at your feet because the mental picture they had of you built up by your brilliant copywriters won’t ring true. Lost sale/referrer/raving fan.
Does this resonate with you? Please share your experience in the comments below.