Writing with Style
Whether you’re putting forward a blog article, some website copy, PR copy, or even a quick social media post, it’s important to write with style. In a world so driven now by written communications (and thank God for that, right?), it’s never been more imperative to get your messaging right. And while having great substance is the foundation, certainly, communicating that substance with style will help you stand out and capture imaginations.
So, what does it mean to write with style? In some ways, it means following some principles, while in other ways, it means being authentic to who you are.
When we say you should stay active, we’re not talking about exercise. It’s all about voice. Thankfully, my great high school English teacher, Mickie Knight, really stressed writing in the active voice, rather than passively.
Writing in active voice communicates strength, power, authority, and credibility, because the between-the-lines communication is “we own this.” Here’s an example of the difference that active voice can make in corporate communications:
Active: “Since our founding, Company X has led the market, generating more than 100 new solutions that help small businesses achieve consistent, sustainable growth.
Passive: “Over 100 new solutions have been generated by Company X since our founding.”
While the difference sentence-to-sentence may not have as much impact, imagine an entire article, web page, or even social post written one way versus the other. In the first example, Company X takes authority for its work, while in the second, the language makes the situation seem as if the solutions may have authored themselves, and that Company X was along for the ride.
Capture the Voice
In addition to staying active, the old adage of “write the way you speak” remains true, whether it’s the voice of an individual or a company or brand. There are many ways to achieve this dynamic. One of my personal favorites is via punctuation.
We have a client, Trip Holmes, who is off the charts when it comes to passion for what he does. I think that’s what 35 years of success does for you. There hasn’t been a single conversation I’ve had with him where I couldn’t hear a parenthetical exclamation mark. So, while others may eschew this particular mark, I’ve embraced it when we write together. Anyone who knows Trip, and his client and referral database is as vast as you’d imagine, feels the same immediacy and passion in his written work as when they speak to him. And if someone discovers him through his online marketing, they surely aren’t let down by his tone when they do speak for that first time.
Adapt to the Subject Matter
In today’s content world, you have lots of opportunities to write on a range of subjects. It’s actually a must—variety—because content can get monotonous without changes in tone.
Sometimes, you’re looking to educate or inform, and at other times, you’re looking to inspire. This article, for example, is an effort to educate our clients and friends about how we go about writing with style. For this type of content, I’ll tend to utilize sub-heads and speak in the plainest language I can, along with examples of what I’m talking about. Frankly, it’s what people expect from educational content, and they may miss your point if you veer from a common educational style.
In contrast, articles meant to inspire, like a think piece on company culture, worry less about formatting and plain language and take on more of an essay approach, common to the way philosophers have been getting their points across for centuries. For this type of content, it’s much more important to operate stylistically on that higher plane, so as not to oversimplify your message.
All of these concepts are up for debate, but I think our work with companies and agencies in dozens of industry sectors validates these points to some degree, while others may see their approaches validated as well. It’s a big world out there, and you have to decide how to approach it in ways that make sense. Framing how we write with style at Parklife is only meant to show the level of care and professionalism we put into every piece of work that bears our name—or yours.