Your appearance can catch anyone’s attention but it’s your personality that makes them stay.
Okay, so it’s a trite phrase, but it’s true. You can spend countless hours building the perfect website and making sure every detail of your web design is exactly right. That might be enough to get people interested in what you have to say. However, if what you have to say is bland, or you’re just repeating the same thing as all your competitors, there’s no reason for visitors to stick around on your site.
Personality is important. It’s an immediate attention grabber, helping to boost engagement and make people care about your message. But beyond that, injecting personality into your web content lets people know there’s actually someone on the other side of the computer screen – a person they can connect to.
It builds trust. It creates an emotional connection. Most importantly, it helps you stand out, so you’re not like every other ABC Company offering XYZ solution.
Breaking the (Writing) Rules
Most of us learn to write in school, and let’s be honest – the way they teach is designed to strip out every ounce of a writer’s personality. One of the hardest things I had to learn as a content writer was that it’s not just okay to break the rules, but most of the time you have to if you really want to make an impact.
You don’t want to toss out your grammar rulebook. Just push it aside once in a while. Here are just a few “rules” you shouldn’t be afraid to break:
- Don’t Use Cliches – Perhaps you shouldn’t start every other sentence with one, but cliches exist for a reason. They’re something people can immediately connect with.
- Don’t Use Sentence Fragments – People don’t spend their lives speaking in beautiful, perfectly constructed sentences. How do they talk? Well. Like this. Write like people actually speak and you can make an instant connection
- Don’t Use Personal Pronouns – I’ve already broken this rule a couple of times here. Seriously, though – don’t be afraid to talk about yourself a little bit. It’s one of those things that helps you connect with readers.
- Don’t Start Sentences With Conjunctions – And this rule is made to be broken, even in more formal content writing. Feel free to start a sentence with “and” or “but” so long as you don’t do it excessively.
- Don’t Use Slang – Sometimes this is a good rule to follow. Example: “This senior life insurance policy is so EXTRA it will have you SHOOK!” That doesn’t really work for this target audience, but slang like this might fit right in if you’re targeting a 30 and under crowd.
I’ve Got Character, Yes I Do!
As a starting point for pumping up the personality in your web content, think about your business’s character. In the marketing business, we tend to think a lot about our target audience, but perhaps not enough about who we should be to meet that audience’s needs.
Let’s say we’re focused on Mary, the 40-something small business owner who’s just setting up shop selling her potted geraniums. Mary doesn’t know a lot about the world of content marketing. All she knows is her neighbor, Regina, said she hired a content writing service to help sell her potted posies and now, business is booming.
If Mary clicks onto a site looking for a content marketing service, she’s probably going to be a bit intimidated by tons of industry jargon and technical terminology. She’s probably going to click away.
What Mary needs is a mentor – someone who can tell her what this content marketing stuff is all about. When you develop your business’s character, you can do exactly that. You can be a helpful mentor, a trusted guide, or your customer’s snarky best friend. What matters is you create a character your customers can build a connection with.
Did I Ever Tell You About the Time…?
Humans are inherent storytellers, and it’s been that way since the dawn of our species. Maybe you’re not communicating your message through paintings on a cave wall (though that would be a pretty interesting marketing tactic…) but the stories you tell still help you connect with people in the same primal way it did our ancestors.
Sometimes storytelling is literal. Talking about ways you’ve helped customers in the past shows potential customers how you can help them. Sometimes storytelling is a way to relay a message (see our anecdote about Mary in the section above). And sometimes storytelling is about the message you want to put across to others: who you are as a brand, what motivates your team to come to work every day, and what inspired you to create the product or service you’re putting out there.
Let’s Get Emotional (We Won’t Judge)
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember when you’re trying to put some personality into your content writing is it’s okay to get a bit emotional. Emotions aren’t a bad thing. Not only do they help readers connect and engage with your content, but getting an emotional response out of your reader may even lead them to share your content.
Typically, it’s positive, “feel-good” emotions that get the best response out of people. Everybody wants to hear a story with a happy ending (and if your business played a part in that happy ending, you definitely want people to know about it). But all kinds of emotions – sadness, fear, anger – can have an impact.
The best content writers know that regardless of whether you’re crafting more formal content or you’re writing something edgy and conversational, personality matters. When people land on your website, they need a reason to stick around. In the vast, broad expanses of the Internet, attention spans are short and competing websites are just a click away. You need more than a pretty face to get people to care what you have to say.
That’s part of what makes iwebcontent different. We’re dedicated to capturing who you are, the stories you have to tell and your personal identity, right on the page. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create personality-packed content for your site.