Your tone of voice is about building trust – a vital commodity when you are asking clients to invest money on their behalf. By talking in straightforward language, engaging the reader and building a compelling narrative, you can create memorable copy.
I’ve spent a lot of my career writing for retail audiences, and they are demanding readers. Most want to be engaged from the start and are happy to move onto something new if you don’t grab them with your opening line. But what I’ve come to realise is that professional audiences are exactly the same.
Your writing is your first conversation with a potential client, so make a good impression. Here are five easy-to-implement ideas that will let your voice shine through.
1. Create a narrative
Everyone likes a good story. By introducing anecdotes, allusions, and real-world context you can bring the most abstract ideas to life.
Remember, you want your unique tone of voice to come through in your writing. Dry, technical language could be anyone, but the way you tell a story is unique to you, and your company.
2. Ask questions
Ask and answer questions to move the story on, preferably ones your audience wants answers to. Even ask those questions yourself in the text as cliff-hangers at the end of paragraphs and then address them directly.
3. Make it a conversation
Hearing the voice of a real person coming through the page can put us at ease, which is vital for building trust.
And don’t be overly concerned about coming across as too informal. Writing in a conversational manner does not mean colloquial – it’s possible to be both professional and engaging.
Address the reader in the first person or use the second person to demonstrate that you have the same goals. Don’t be afraid to use contractions, such as you’ll and we’ll, and coordinating conjunctions, like ‘and’ and ‘but’ at the start of sentences to maintain momentum.
4. Creating energy
And conversation creates energy. It’s about using techniques that translate that energy onto the page. Another technique to create energy is to keep your writing active. Remember, Brutus killed Caesar, not Caesar was killed by Brutus.
5. Keep it simple, get to the point
Get straight to the point. Complex terms and long-winded explanations hide our enthusiasm, personality and – perhaps surprisingly – our expertise too.
Not only will your tone of voice and enthusiasm come through, but you’re also far more likely to grab your readers’ attention from the start. And believe it or not, you’re going to come across as more authoritative and in command of your subject matter – nothing demonstrates grasp of a subject like being able to describe it in the simplest terms.
By following this advice we can create clear, engaging, authentic copy that will draw your audience in.
Let’s leave the technical stuff to the legal department.