Clients are often confused about voice. I often get the question “what voice should I use on my web pages and blog?”
Like the answer to so many questions, the answer to this question is…it depends. It depends on who your intended audience is.
It seems that there’s a lot of confusion about voice. The voice you use on your web pages and blog should be the voice that your intended audience is most comfortable reading.
Generally speaking, active voice is better than passive voice–but that’s more of a grammar concern.
What Is Voice?
Voice refers to the unique way that you present your material. It includes your style of writing.
In business writing, the voice used for a piece represents your company. It should be consistent throughout most copy the business publishes. Ideally, the reader will think to themselves, this sounds just like XYZ Business.
Whatever voice you decide to use, you should stick with it. A good copywriter can help you ensure that the voice throughout your content is consistent and appropriate for your intended audience.
Some General Rules About Voice
While every business is unique, there are some general principles you should consider when thinking about what voice to use and who your intended audience is.
Here’s a short list of common writing situations and a good voice choice for each:
- Your personal blog (not affiliated with any company). Your personal blog represents you. It’s okay to use very casual language here. If you’re not sure what voice to use on your personal blog, try writing your blog posts as though you were having a conversation.
- Content intended for a general consumer audience. Typically, it’s a good idea to use a conversational voice when speaking with the general public. Avoid slang, text message shorthand, and any terms that aren’t mainstream. Humor often works well.
- Content intended for a general business audience. Writing for a business audience is slightly different than writing for consumers. A confident and concise writing style that gets right to the point does best with most business audiences.
- Content intended to promote high-dollar items. If your copy is intended to promote high dollar items, avoid being overly casual or flippant. Be sure to stress benefits and include any proof that you have.
- Content intended for teens and young adults. You can use an extremely casual voice, including slang and trendy language, when writing for this audience. However, if you are going to use slang terms, you must get them right or you’ll just seem silly.
Think carefully before you choose a voice for your content.
What voice do you generally use in your writing?