I was inspired to write this blog by Colchester United Football Club. Not only is the club already injecting personality into its own marketing, its local hosted networking events highlight one thing; people do business with people they like. It’s a fact. But sometimes this gets lost online. Quite often content lacks in personality.
Writing content that truly reveals the character of your business can be a challenge. It involves taking a step back and reflecting not on who you want to be, or who your competitors are, but defining exactly why people want to do business with you. What aspects of your business’ personality make you different and are you demonstrating this in your content? You need to tell the story of your business.
To help make your next piece of content pop with personality, here are 7 straightforward tips that will help you with your copywriting.
1. Decide on the purpose of your content
If your content has a purpose, it will be so much easier to write with intent and add personality to your copy. Broadly speaking, I tend to categorise B2B content into three purposes.
– Poses and answers questions relevant to the target audience
– Piques curiosity of the reader
– Provides the reader with new insights
– Provides solutions to specific challenges
– Encourages the reader to consider a potential scenario
– Challenges the status-quo
– More decisive in its tone, it makes the reader make a comparison
– Substantiated content with facts and reviews
– Strongly encourages the reader to act. It has a sense of urgency
Crucially, all the types of content above will require you to inject the right language to add give your content personality. So, if you are writing a decision-making piece, you’ll want to choose language that is authoritative but if it’s an inspiring piece, you’ll want to use language that is thought-provoking.
2. Become a storyteller
You don’t need to become the next J K Rowling. You just need to remember that people love stories. In much the same way as you would share a relevant story with a new contact at a networking event, you can do this online too.
Creative business copywriters will use anecdotes or quotes to make a personal connection with the reader. In a recent blog I wrote for a charity I support, Headway Essex, I opened it with a quote of personal value to the interviewee:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow”
Now, most people will empathise with this quote and instantly make it relevant to themselves. They’ll also want to read more to find out what it means to the person being interviewed.
Of course, it’s very different writing for a charity than it is for a business, but the same principle can be applied.
3. Connect with the reader’s emotions
Every action we take is based on how we feel. Therefore, appealing to your readers’ emotions plays a central role in making content engaging.
You’ll want to introduce emotionally charged wording into your content that is appropriate to your audience.
Your content will not only have lots more personality, but it’ll also be more shareable because when someone discovers something they like, they want to tell others about it.
4. Think rhetorically
Have you ever thought about using a rhetorical question?
You’ll want to make the reader consider why they need to engage with you or buy your product. By using rhetorical questions, you will encourage them to stop and think for themselves. They will feel in control of what they are reading; giving them a chance to respond. It recreates the feeling of conversation.
You won’t want to overdo it, but a carefully positioned question before a well-executed answer can be very powerful. You must have a great answer though otherwise, they will feel disappointed.
How do you make sure you don’t overdo it? Well, I tend to follow a general rule of using no more than two per article or blog.
5. Pay attention to the structure
There’s nothing worse than reading one long block of text – it’ll literally suck your text dry of any personality. Plus, it has no SEO benefit if you do not carefully introduce subheadings.
Good use of short paragraphs, subheadings, bold type, and visuals can make your content much more appealing.
Use italics and indent quotes and research from third-parties, and if you want to draw attention to a key point, you can use bold.
Rather than having long sentences (my absolute pet-hate), use parentheses to make additional points – although don’t overdo it – too many can make the content feel disjointed.
6. Use relevant vocabulary
I wouldn’t recommend using words that you would never say, but if you are finding you use one or two words frequently, try replacing that word with another comparable one. It’ll make your content feel much less wooden. If copywriting isn’t your forte, use a thesaurus.
Make sure the words you use to describe a product or service are accurate though. There are very few products that are truly unique or revolutionary. Think, would you say this to someone at a networking event and would they instantly believe you. I find that’s a good barometer.
7: Write with passion
If you are knowledgeable on a subject or product, chances are, it will show in your writing. And if you are passionate about it, you’ll stand more chance of influencing the reader.
If you even have a niggling doubt that the subject feels a little dry or too technical though, run it past a colleague, or better still, a client.
8: Include fascinating facts
Regardless of their age, people read for two reasons: to be entertained or to learn. Quite often it’s both. I liken this to a favourite teacher; they somehow manage to educate whilst keeping the class amused.
One of the best ways to do this is to find fascinating facts; these can either be educational or entertaining or a mixture of the two!
Here are three of my favourite copywriting facts:
– Poor grammar on website scares 59% away (RealBusiness)
– The average reading age in the UK is nine
– People scan-read web pages in an F pattern (Nielson Norman Group) – more on this in a later blog!