Written by Leslie Brown
I read something the other day that went like this: “Being human is the new black.” I think it’s true. Today, writing with a more personal style is almost expected.
This style is characteristic of the human-like voice of Siri, the digital personal assistant that comes with the iPhone. In an almost friendly way, she tries to understand questions and then proposes what you hope will be a helpful answer. Before responding, the voice says something reassuring like “Let me check on that” or “Let me think about that.” If the data isn’t available, she simply says, “I can’t answer that.”
The trend toward a more personal style of writing is a growing one. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
1. Relate to your readers.
Include encouraging language in your content, like “It’s easy” or “Don’t worry.” Give readers a hint of what’s coming up next—let them know what material you’re going to cover next. In this way, you instill a feeling of camaraderie. Find something in your own life to relate to your readers.
2. Tell stories.
People enjoy reading technical documentation or blog posts even more if they get a sense of who’s writing it. Get chummy with your audience. Try to add personal anecdotes that make a point or clarify a detail.
3. Be an expert.
If you’re not a subject matter expert when you start writing, become one. Get to know your audience so you can relate to them. Readers should be able to trust you with facts that are accurate and complete. Don’t just learn the buzz words, try to get some insight into the culture and character of the business so you can write with authority and understanding.
4. Be likable.
There’s a difference between being friendly and being likeable. If you’re trying too hard to be friendly when you write, you can come off as annoying. Be likeable by giving readers a reason to appreciate your efforts. They might want to spend only a few seconds scanning your content to see if it’s helpful, so make it worth their while. Even with a serious subject, you can be entertaining.
5. Write content that readers will want to share.
There is a lot of value in having your content appreciated and shared. When you provide fresh, unique ideas, it gives you credibility. Don’t hide behind words. Writing with a personal style is key to other’s desire to share it.
Try to be a person in your writing. Whatever business you are in or are writing about, it’s always a people business in the end.