In blogging and newspaper writing, describing your own experiences has become a standard technique. It can be narcissistic, annoying, or just plain dull, but the world and dog feel a need to share their life with us.
But can this work in B2B writing?
Maybe not to the same extent, but itâ€™s got a role. Business writing can easily get really boring, and talking about personal experiences makes a connection for the reader, and gives them a story to respond to.
Remember that your reader is always a person, not a company, and that purchasing decisions are made by real people. If you talk to your audience about your own experiences, they may just care that little bit more.
It may sound like a detail, but agreeing on a style guide for your project â€“ or your whole company â€“ will save countless arguments.
Usually, no one can agree on exactly how particular things should be written. Does this word have a capital letter? Do you need to spell out abbreviations? And donâ€™t get me started on Oxford commas.
The style guide acts as a referee to make those decisions for you, and to ensure all your written materials follow best practice â€“ as well as making sure you avoid glaring, amateurish mistakes.
Two UK-based ones that I recommend are The Economist and The Guardian â€“ both are free and easy to use online.
You may well want to customise one of these by adding your own jargon or personal preferences â€“ but if you just stick to the standard version, youâ€™ll be fine.
Recently, I was asked (perfectly reasonably) by a client to do some edits an article Iâ€™d ghost-written. One of the main changes needed was to go for a younger tone of voice â€“ which got me thinking, what does that actually mean?
There was no suggestion we should use teenage text-speak, but it was a challenge none the less. Iâ€™m typically used to focussing primarily on the reader, and picking the right tone of voice for them, so it was interesting to think more about the writerâ€™s persona. In fact, the only times I tend to have to think mainly about the â€˜writerâ€™ for whom Iâ€™m ghost-writing is when Iâ€™m putting together a speech.
I think the end result hit the mark, partly due to just loosening up the language and dialling back on the formality. And it was good to be reminded that copywriters shouldnâ€™t only think about the reader â€“ remember the writer as well.