One of the great equalizers in online content is tone. That’s right! Your English teacher might cringe, but if you can weave a story and get your audience to stay tuned, let her cringe.
This means you don’t have to be 100% grammatically correct. But to succeed, you should at least be able to spell and have the right tone. So we can all thank word processors for squiggly lines that tell us when we spelled something incorrectly. But how the heck do we master tone?
Know Your Audience
Tone starts with understanding who you are speaking to. Even though you are writing, you want to pretend that you are speaking. In fact, I’m speaking to my computer at this very moment. His name is Jake. Okay, maybe that isn’t entirely true.
I’m not really talking, I am typing but I am imagining how a person who is smart and capable of running a business wants to get a chuckle o two after a long day at the office while learning a new skill.
While I will make a silly joke here and there, the reality is I know you are here to enrich yourself. You want something bigger and better for your business. You know the Internet is the way to go. You just aren’t quite sure where to start. Not knowing where to start is true for most of us for most new things. So don’t worry, you’re in good company.
In fact, you are welcome to join our good company tribe on Facebook where you can learn more about this and all sorts of other business tips and tricks. But I digress.
Stick With a Story
The story I’m talking about isn’t a fairy tale or a bedtime story for your children. When writers talk about telling a story in this context it means have a purpose to your content.
For example, a plumber might talk about the many ways you can try to fix your clogged toilet yourself. He can go through an entire list of good efforts until he gets to the point, when all those other things fail, call him.
Why is it important for him to even mention home remedies? Because the reader is going to think about them anyways and perhaps try one or two or three. In the end, most people still need a plumber so let the reader relate the writing to his own journey. His journey becomes your journey.
As you can see by my writing, I’m a bit of a goof. I like silly puns and odd cliches. In fact, I’m the queen at getting cliches wrong and mixing them up which can lead to comic gold under the right circumstances.
But at the end of the day, my personality needs to come through as part of my writing. When you have a great experience with a sales rep at the department store, their personality had a lot to do with the connection.
Adjust for Topic
That is the last part. When you write the draft, follow everything in the first three sections. When you edit, follow this section. Why? Because if I were writing to lawyers I’d probably tone down the puns. If I were writing to housewives looking for work-at-home opportunities, I’d probably increase the sarcasm and drinking humor.
Professional writers know that getting out of the starting blocks is the hardest part of writing. Once you have the draft, go back and read it out loud. If you don’t want to read it out loud to yourself, feel free to ask the dog for his attention.
This is where you will really be able to imagine speaking to your audience and catch all the little nuances that just aren’t quite right for them.
If you need some help, don’t worry. We can take your drafts and make them into gold.