Every written work has its own voice – a unique personality and energy giving life to the words.
What impression does your writing voice give people?
Some writing voices get tiresome pretty quickly. They’re used too much and usually not well. They might convey indifference to your readers or something mean-spirited or lazy in the way you think.
Here are three common examples:
The Slick Dealer
Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. The Slick Dealer is full of buzzwords. And promises and guarantees. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)
This voice promises to let you in on all kinds of secrets that will propel you to success. The problem is, there’s usually little substance in the writing. And even when the writing has a legitimate purpose, this voice can make the author sound unsavory. It has an oily quality.
Is there a place for buzzwords in writing? There can be. You can use the buzzwords you love in a fresh and interesting way, so that they no longer sound like buzzwords. (That’s one of the challenges I’ve successfully taken on when writing for businesses.) You can write in a persuasive way without giving the impression that you’re slick and pushy, or running the risk that you’ll remind people of this guy.
The Frazzled Lady
She’s professional, she’s successful, and she can Barely. Keep it. Together! She’s just crazy! And (*sigh*) exhausted. Everything’s a mess, LOL.
Sometimes – when used judiciously and in smaller doses – this voice is entertaining. However, it can get tiresome to see a competent professional always writing as if she barely has a handle on anything. (Casting herself as the dizzy heroine of a run-of-the-mill chick lit novel.)
The Smug Nitpicker
The Smug Nitpicker lives for “gotcha” moments and mistakes. A tiny error is a source of supreme pleasure. This voice feeds from the unending supply of flaws and slip-ups provided by lesser humans.
Some writers get a steady flow of web traffic from pieces written in a smug “gotcha” voice. But this approach is generally tiresome. Bigger ideas, warmer feelings, and complex discussions give way to pettiness and misrepresentation. Needless controversies erupt, perhaps leading to a temporary boost in web traffic but ultimately damaging the reputation of the writer and others involved.
If you’re writing for your business blog, do you want to be associated with a smug voice and petty outlook? Customers could find it unattractive and unprofessional. (Similar to how they often don’t respond well when businesses badmouth competitors.) You don’t want to be seen as arrogant and mean-spirited.
What’s Your Voice?
One common problem with the three voices mentioned in this post is that they undermine trust. They can make you seem shifty, incompetent or mean.
What kind of writing voice do you find effective? The voices you use need to reflect the personality and purpose of your written works. If you’re running a business, you’ll use your writing voice to say something important about your character or brand. Working with a professional writer is a reliable way to communicate in a voice that will attract and engage readers and customers.