Writing with the you-attitude does not mean playing around with pronouns or switching ‘I’ with ‘you’. It means writing from the point of view of your reader.
In business writing it leads to goodwill and positive results. On the web, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
But how do you write and make the reader feel like the post is written only for them? How do you make it sound more personal and more believable? The following 6 points will help you get there.
1. Creep Inside Your Reader’s Head
Get to know your reader really well. This will help you to zero in on your purpose and take all the guess work out of your writing.
Imagine you are a Mommy Blogger. You have created your ideal profile and it looks something like this
- Mums age between 22 -35
- Stay at home
- Time is at a premium
- Sleep derived
- Doesn’t go out often
- Looking for support from others mums - without judgement
- Looking for adult conversations
2. Try Your Reader’s Shoes On for Size
Since you know what you average reader looks like, you can confidently – and comfortably – slip in their shoes. Or slippers, by looking at the profile of your mommy reader.
You know what topics your readers are most interested in. You know you can write about something controversial like breastfeeding vs bottle and really hit the ball right out the park.
You know what topics to stay away from – for instance, size 6 clothing that is all the rage on the international catwalks. Or who threw the best dinner party in town with their 6-course meal highlighted. Would your average mom be interested?
As a new mom, what sort of posts would you find irresistible? What kind of writing would be hard to put down?
By having a clear picture of your reader, you are now equipped to see things from their point of view.
Now write keeping this in mind – at all times.
3. Sit Down With a Cup of Coffee, for Starters
Write like you are having a conversation with your readers.
Not all mediums or genres will allow you to write like this. Think of how your teacher might react if you write your report like that. Or imagine the look on your fellow researchers faces if you are writing a highly technical, specialised report meant for senior level executives.
What about literary fiction or creative writing? It depends on the writer’s style. But on the web, this is the way to go.
When my readers tell me that reading my posts make them feel like we are sitting down, sipping our drinks and talking about things, as friends do, I take it as the biggest compliment. People never pay more attention than when they are talking to friends. If I achieve this, I feel heard.
4. Spell Out Reader Benefit Clearly
Answer this question clearly and thoroughly – what is in it for the reader?
Writing for self-expression can be a worthy goal, but not a realistic one if you want to have people actually reading your posts.
Why would anyone read if your blog reads like an online journal? Your mom yes, most probably your best friend but no Alice Brown in Sydney is going to read your stuff if it doesn’t improve her life in any real way.
Instead of complaining about your lack of sleep, the fact that you are up for the 5th night in a row, or that your husband is no real help; write about how you dealt with it, and you are more likely to find readers that read and subscribe.
Educate them, entertain them and inform them. Have a purpose to your writing that has a clear benefit for your audience.
5. Respect Your Reader’s Time
Long posts vs short posts; this is often a matter of heated debate among bloggers and other writers on the web.
In this time where an average adult’s attention span struggles to beat that of a toddler, we frequently worry about: is this too long? Will this get read?
It will be read if you are doing everything right. You are writing for your reader. You are personal, friendly, have a clear purpose and you write with conciseness.
Brevity – ah, how I love you.
Being able to cut all the unnecessary from our writing is a highly admirable trait that few of us possess. Sure, your copy can be long, but does it have to contain all your ramblings? When you make sure every single word matters, you make your words work that much harder.
Write all you can but remember this is your first draft. Tighten it, polish it, remove every single thought that doesn’t add anything to the piece. And you will have people lapping it up. At least those ones who don’t take immeasurable pride in their scanning ability.
6. Care About Your Readers
Does your reader deserve content that is pushy, condescending or over the top? No. They need content that is courteous and considerate.
Always write at your readers’ level. Don’t try to impress them with your newly acquired vocabulary, and don’t try to dumb it down either.
Your readers are very smart - give them credit. Avoid implying that you are the authority when you writing about your journey, and always be gracious.
You-attitude assumes that there is a real human at the receiving end of your communication.
Empathize with your readers, show them they are the most important people in your world, and you will never go wrong.