Are Your Writing in Your Reader’s Language?

Whatever it is you are writing – a book, a blog, a newsletter or an advert – it is never about you. It is always about your customer or your reader.

I know I’ve said this before but it’s so important and folks still aren’t getting it.

I think it’s great that some people use Facebook like a public journal. You know, those long, philosophical status updates, which if you read to the end of leave you thinking ‘well I’m pleased for her/him but what was the point?’!

I also think it’s vital that you use emotion in your language (fodder for another time and something we go into during my writing workshops) but if you’re selling something – you, a concept or a product – you need for your reader to connect with you. Using a language they understand is the first step in doing this.

In order to get someone to buy in to you, either financially or as a concept, you need your writing to meet them where they are at rather than expect them to tune it to your language.

It’s a concept I’ll be exploring at this year’s Fitpro LIVE event where I’ve been asked to speak on a panel discussing how to talk to women.

I love this article on expanding your vocabulary:

http://www.poynter.org/2016/go-early-stay-late-and-9-other-tips-to-expand-your-writing-vocabulary/393202/

Whilst I don’t expect you to diligently follow every step, it does give you pointers for how to tune into your potential customer.

Let’s think about your customer:

What do THEY read?

What do THEY watch?

WHO do THEY connect or network with?

Even if you aren’t writing for Psychologies magazine yet, by reading it and reading the books that the contributors have written, you’ll begin to tune into that vocabulary.

Likewise if your customer is a tabloid reader it’s time to tune into Daily Mail or Mirror speak.

This is something I learned first hand on my first day as an intern at The Sun, fresh from journalism school. I’ll never forget the health editor saying to me very frankly (they don’t have much time for saving feelings on a tabloid news desk) as I handed over my first news story, “Well that’s great Karen if you’re writing for The Times but that just won’t work for The Sun.” There followed a 10 minute speed lesson on tabloid speak. Something I’ve never forgotten.

It doesn’t have to take forever. But by watching a bit of Eastenders, Celebrity Big Brother or Newsnight, you begin to tune in to the language of your potential customer.

Putting it into practice is a little more tricky and comes with experience. When you’re in your creative writing space you don’t want your logical inner voice spoiling your flow by chipping in with thoughts about your use of language. But unless you’re writing for multiple publications or you’re a professional PR, the chances are your potential clients will be constant and therefore consistent.

So before you put pen to paper, ask yourself these questions:

Am I solving my reader’s problem?

Is my language meeting my reader?

Am I tuned in to my reader?

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Do you want to come and spend a Saturday afternoon with me working on your writing?

Do you have a project you’re working on which needs a little one to one focus?

I’m hosting a writing workshop on the afternoon of Saturday 27th February in Epping Forest. For more information check out the event information.




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