Someone once said that writing content was tough. They said that you had to know what your were talking about, engage a variety of audiences and most of all, be original. I agree with all these points and as much as I can be extremely opinionated on a subject I am passionate about, I try to follow these simple rules.
What I have never heard however, is that you must use really long words that most of your audience won’t understand, simply to sound intelligent. I have lost count of the amount of articles I have read in the past few years that felt like I was reading a thesaurus rather than a article about the next big thing in affiliate marketing.
“Well I say reading, more like scanning and then closing through boredom and frustration.”
Now some may say I’m uneducated with a limited vocabulary, and they may be right. I am a 35 year old manager with 14 years experience under my belt dealing with teams and a range of different personalities, ego’s and issues. I class myself as pretty good at what I do and have an extremely engaged team around me to back that up. Do I need to know the meaning of every single word in the dictionary to do my job well? No.
Think about the conversations you have with your friends, colleagues, clients and anyone else you come into contact with. How do they flow? What type of language are you using and do you change your approach depending on who you are talking to?
With the line between personal and professional becoming more and more blurred, is it not our aim to make every business relationship as natural as a friendship? Do you not get so much further with someone if you come across as real and honest?
Write how you speak…
This same trend applies to the written word. You really need to think about the way you engage people in real life and get that same personality across in your writing. Is the occasional swear word really a big issue if it’s in context with the nature of the article? Would your audience really be offended or would they more than likely have a little chuckle to themselves?
How about some comedy? What kind of person doesn’t love a good laugh? Reading articles designed to tackle ‘Serious’ business topics can be extremely dull and un-engaging. It’s almost as if anything business related has to have a serious tone as laughter in the work place is clearly forbidden. Well excuse me, but bollocks to that!
It’s time to take that stick out of your arse and start writing the way people naturally read. The way they engage with people in person with words and phrases they can relate to rather than breaking their stride every 20 seconds with a word they simply don’t get.
It’s time to make people laugh with your words, grab their attention with something a little controversial and keep the unwanted ‘word clutter’ to an absolute minimum.
Does that mean you just write without thinking?
Hell No! You have to focus on the main parts of a great article…Engagement, relevancy and original content. If you are trying to create a laugh as well then you have just made the task even harder so no, it’s certainly not easier having made the decision to leave the word jumble at home!
What stops people embracing this model and sticking with their stiff upper lip style of writing?
Lack of imagination and understanding of how people really want to read. A reluctance to believe that I am actually speaking sense and that I am nothing more than a bullish manager that likes to chat shit all day. Maybe a mixture of the two?
Either way, there will always be a variety of styles and many of them will be a lot better than anything I can come up with. My message to anyone looking to write content of any description is clear. Write how your audience wants to read.
Think about how they will speak to their friends & colleagues and what comes naturally to them. Don’t go down the road of trying to sound intelligent with long fancy words that you never use and worse still, don’t even understand. Write how you speak and show your personality with every piece you produce.