Unless we’re talking about video or audio, the only way that your audience (your raving fans) can know you is by the tone of your content writing. As you know, I have terminal snarkiness. I write exactly as I speak, and those of you who know me personally know that well…
That’s just how I am. I was raised that way. My dad was the King of Snark, and it’s in the genes. My daughter has it even worse than I do, and who even knew that was possible?
Some people dislike us. Yes, it’s a blow to the ego to think that anyone can dislike moi, but there it is. Some people just don’t get me and don’t like me. They don’t like the way I write content, and they are NOT my raving fans.
I don’t want them to be.
I’m OK; You’re OK
If they don’t like my message, they’ll never pay attention to what I have to say and I’ll never teach, inform, or sell them a darned thing. We’ll just never get along — in real life OR on the Internet.
My in-laws, for example, don’t get me at all, and for forty years, it’s been rather difficult. I’m just not their type of person, and that’s OK, too. My husband thinks I’m HIS type of person, so that’s all that matters. That’s not to say that they’re bad people, because they’re not, or that there’s something wrong with me, either. It just takes a LOT of different types of people to make the world, and we are NOT all going to get along.
But that carries over to your professional life. If I were a doctor or lawyer, I wouldn’t write with the style I do. It would be a complete disconnect for people. Most people think of doctors or lawyers to be staid and no-nonsense. If they wrote with a tone like mine. nobody on the ‘Net would take them seriously. Am I right?
Or, let’s take a religious person. A little light humor is OK, but if you’re off the wall with your jokes, it wouldn’t be good.
But let’s flip that around, too…
If you’re a Web designer and talk about the way your text and images should sit on a page and do it so that the explanation is so dry that people need a glass of water beside them just to read it, with lots of $50 words that nobody understands, people would be scratching their heads. What the heck? Right? They would consider you to be a total egg-headed geek and go find someone who speaks a real language instead.
There has to be a balance.
That doesn’t mean that lawyers can’t tell a joke now and then or even that they can’t write with a humorous tone that’s not out and out wacky. In fact, if you have the ability to write with a light tone and just a hint of humor, most people eat that up.
The bottom line is that you should put on your “architect,” “veterinarian,” or “game developer” hats and see yourself as your potential client might see you when writing professionally. You don’t want to give those people a picture of you that doesn’t fit. You want them to know who you are, but if you ARE totally off the wall and happen to be a lawyer, you need to put a lid on it when writing professional content. Tone it down.
Be YOU, not who you think you should be
There’s nothing worse than someone trying to be erudite when they really aren’t that sophisticated. The writing comes off as stilted and not believable at all. Or, if you try to be funny when you just aren’t, it will be lame. Don’t do it. Be comfortable when you write content — with your words and with the voice you use. Project what you need to project, but try not to lose yourself in the words. Make them come from you, not through you.
Sometimes, reading what you have written out loud is a good way to gauge what you’ve written. Does it “sound” right to your ear? If not, revise and regroup.
Another writer’s trick is to let your writing sit a while before actually publishing it. Put it in a drawer for a day or two or even a week. Then, go back and read what you have written again. Seeing your work with a fresh eye really, really helps you to see the gaps in what you have written or places where it just sounds ridiculous!
Once, I had a book deadline and to stay on it, I needed to finish one chapter a week. So, I was on track and feeling pretty good about everything I had written up to that point and BOOM! I got the flu. But you see, since I work at home, I rarely take a sick day. BIG mistake.
A week later, I went back to Chapter 7 and thought, Who wrote this? It’s horrible! It was obvious to me that I’d done a terrible job because I wasn’t feeling well, and the “percolation” time allowed me to see that. Plus, it told me that I should never try to write when sick. 🙂
Anyway, a couple of writerly tricks for you. Think about how you want your readers to see you before you put your stuff out there. Give them the impression of you that you want to give them and really think about what you write.
Typing, “What’s up bitches?” into Facebook when you have a page for your business isn’t the smart thing to do.