Not All Customers are the Same
When writing inbound marketing materials there are several factors to consider. One factor that can be easy to overlook is the stylistic aspects of the work itself. Being factually correct and well written are only part of a successful marketing campaign. When writing material be sure that its style fits the market you are trying to reach. Not all customers are the same and respond differently to writing voice, tone, and passive versus active.
Your writing voice is an extension of your own uniqueness as an individual. Two writers can express the same idea in very different ways. A good writing voice makes you stand out and makes a work feel less mechanical. In marketing, the general disdain for a lack of sincerity is common to readers no matter what the tone of the work. Your voice should not be lost just because the tone of the work changes for example formal to casual. Much like giving a speech compared to a conversation your own unique way of expressing ideas remains.
Writing can take many tones and formats. The tone of a work relates to its overall feel and the reactions it draws from the reader. In marketing tone can be quite varied. Depending on your target market your tone may be very formal with complex sentence structure, a lack of contractions, objective use of data/source materials, and written in a non-personal way. Or it may be very informal using a conversational tone, slang, anecdotes, and a more emotional approach. The differences can be subtle however, and the University of Technology Sydney shows a few examples here.
The thing to keep in mind is that tone should be decided by your audience. There are notable differences between what a singular buyer, a small business, and a multinational conglomerate are looking for from their business partners. The same is also true for the goods and services you offer. A software company is going to have a different tone than a furniture maker. Always consider who is going to be reading your marketing and what is the best way to reach them.
Active Voice Versus Passive Voice
Active versus passive voice is a common issue with writing. To simplify the concept a sentence written in the active voice has the subject performing the action. A sentence written in the passive voice has the subject receiving the action instead of performing it. See these simple examples.
- Active: He wrecked your car.
- Passive: Your car was wrecked.
In general the passive voice should be avoided in writing. The reason can be seen in the above examples. The active voice is clear and easy to understand. The passive is somewhat ill-defined with the root cause of the action unknown.
Now, this is very important in inbound marketing. Remember the goal of marketing is to present yourself as an expert who can solve the issues a possible customer is facing with a good or service. A passive voice removes that expertise by not staying clearly what you know and more importantly what you can do. Also, passive voice can be cluttered with meaning easily being lost. See this entry by the University Of Purdue for more information on sentence structuring.
How you write is every bit as important as what you write. When writing keep the above facts in mind. An unsuccessful inbound marketing campaign may be perfectly suitable as a written work but may also be completely unsuited to reaching the correct target market. Consider who you are trying to reach and the best way to communicate with them.