Has anyone else noticed that corporate communications are becoming increasingly casual?
It seems the days of formal content are behind us and we’ve all started to get a bit ‘more chatty’ and, in my view, we’re better for it…
I’m not completely sure when this shift began, but when writing articles, advert copy or social media content, I’ve subconsciously been relaxing my tone of voice for a while now. I consciously clocked the change a couple of weeks ago when refreshing the web copy for annual event – even though I wrote it the first time round, it dramatically needed toning down.
More and more, we’re writing how we speak. Whether we attribute this to the rise of social media, which seamlessly blurs the lines between publishing and talking, the move from traditional PR to content marketing or simply a shift in mind set, our comms are becoming much friendlier. It’s not just certain sectors either, even in ‘serious’ industries such as MedTech and law, we are seeing a relaxed approach.
So, why do I think this shift is a good thing? A key word here is authenticity – I think it’s great that companies are not longer writing to give off a particular impression, but instead simply talking to potential clients in an open, honest way.
There’s been a power balance shift too – two-way communication (such as social media) has changed the way we relate and transfer information. Before, we were writing for someone; channelling expertise and knowledge, in a one-way stream. We spoke with authority, an approach we use less obviously today. Now writing is more like a dialogue – we communicate with an audience and recognise that the reader is on the same level as us.
It’s no surprise that a switch to the conversational would change your company image – we’ve already spoken about authenticity, it would also help you appear more approachable, friendly and open.
Relaxing the tone of your copywriting can take some practice, especially if you’ve long steered clear of the colloquial. Here’s my five tips to injecting some of the everyday into your comms plan:
- Make it accessible – even if you are writing for an informed audience, write for a novice. This will help you keep it simple – if it doesn’t need to be complicated, why make it so?!
- Avoid jargon – we tend to switch off or skim over buzz words or the opposite, end up alienating the readers that don’t understand certain examples.
- Don’t use six words when you can use two – be concise in your writing, say what you need to and no more – this keeps the attention of your reader.
- Be warm and friendly – don’t be afraid to make your audience laugh. Think of the cues in conversation that endear people and how you can use signifiers in your writing to do the same
- Proof and proof again – making revisions will help you relax your writing style. As you read back through you can ask yourself, is there a simpler way or putting that? Would I say that out loud? Is that an old-fashioned turn of phrase?