Writing Tone Matters
Striking the right tone is vital in your electronic newsletters and emails to connect with your audience and build credibility. Choose the wrong tone and you can confuse or alienate clients, customers, prospects and employees. Choose your tone for the kind of company you are and the audience you’ll address. Conversational writing is very casual, like the friendly verbiage it mimics. Punchy sentences and current slang may trump correct grammar, as in “Ugh, you’re so basic” If you’re a personality or lifestyle blogger, this may be the tone for you. If you’re cultivating an image as an authority, expert or dignified entity such as a government agency or traditional business, avoid the conversational tone. Casual tone is a bit more formal than conversational. It follows standard punctuation and grammar and relies on word choice to keep things lively. Casual is great for subject matter experts, authors, small businesses and people who are straight-laced in public but want to be more relaxed and personal online with fans or customers. Example: “We were so pleased to have XYZ Software’s team at the winery Friday night. Everyone raved about the Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and Chef Andre’s truffles were to die for.” Formal is the tone for corporations, luxury service providers, government agencies, lawyers, doctors and any person or entity not seeking an overly cozy relationship with customers. It need not be dully and stodgy. The key is to follow traditional writing forms and norms, avoid slang and convey clarity, trustworthiness and stability. Example: The North Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30. The U.S. Census Bureau produces timely local statistics that are critical to emergency planning, preparedness and recovery efforts.” Stick with a tone that reinforces your brand and you’ll build strong relationships with your customers and fans.