Why it’s ok to show emotion in business writing (and how to do it!)
It’s business. Leave your emotions at the door!Jordan Belfort
So said The Wolf of Wall Street. And, while there’s no doubt he tasted a certain success, I think most of us know how that story ends! So, when it comes to business communications, I’m an strong advocate for making your emotions work for you.
For a very long time, many have believed that your business profile should be free from the ‘complications’ of emotion, allowing you to focus instead on solid and deliverable solutions to practical needs.
In my experience as a Freelance Writer working with a wide range of businesses, however, those who make the deepest connection with their customers (existing or potential) achieve this by remembering one key fact.
We are all human and we all feel emotions, be those fear, loss, panic, ambition, or joy.
So, not just showing emotion but truly humanising your business writing and communication will ensure more meaningful engagement with your target audience and stakeholders in the long run.
Four key principles of humanising business writing
If you are considering writing a blog post or newsletter for example, to drive traffic to your website, there are some key principles that I would recommend you follow:
Keep your customers in mind and try to talk to THEIR emotions – use empathy and understanding to connect as quickly as possible with the specific ‘pain point’ that you can best help them solve.
Selling family portrait photography? Then tug hard on those parental trigger points. Remind them that their children are growing up fast and those precious and heart-warming family moments and stages must be caught now or lost forever, in a tidal wave of regret and fading memories.
Selling financial services? Even products which may, on the surface, appear less driven by emotion than practical need, can connect using emotion. Feeling overwhelmed by the burden of tax compliance? Can a trusted and reliable professional take this heavy load off your overwhelming to-do list?
Include your colleagues in your communications
Here’s a secret you may have heard before – people connect with people far more than products or services. So, introduce your team and colleagues as real people with lives, opinions and personal experiences to your business writing. This can include anything from employee recommendations to an ‘employee in focus’ for example. Personally, I love reading the staff reviews of books in Waterstones. What a brilliantly personal touch.
Use Video and Imagery to tell your story
Humans are, by nature, a very visually stimulated bunch. There is plenty of impressive research out there to prove the transformative power that a brief engaging video clip or still image can have on our business posts, tweets or e-marketing. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be taken by a professional. A 60 second montage created on any one of the many free creative tools out there such as Vimeo or Canva is just perfect.
Invite your audience into the side of your business they might not always see.
Consider for example, an ice cream seller. We all know what a tub of your favourite ice cream looks like, tastes like and makes you feel when you see it sitting in your freezer on a hot day, beckoning you forth to devour it straight from the tub. But, if you knew a little bit more about the decades long relationship the makers have with the same British farm whose dairy cattle supply them with cream, wouldn’t you feel a little bit more invested in the brand? Or, if you heard from the factory employee who has, for the last 30 years, put his heart and soul in to making the beautiful bedroom furniture you are browsing for your child’s bedroom, wouldn’t you be a little bit more inclined to trust the end product?
Stay targeted and don’t go off topic
One of the surest fire ways to lose your audience, through almost any media or communications channel is to veer repeatedly off topic and indulge in unnecessary ramblings.
Trust me, this is the death of effective business communications. Now more than ever, we are all time starved, over-burdened humans often just trying to get through each day with minimal stress and maximum achievement. If you want to capture a reader’s attention, you have to work hard and fast to make your point.
Generally speaking, if it’s an article, blog post, press release, newsletter or thought leadership piece, you have the headline, first and – if you’re lucky – second sentence to convince readers that ‘s worth going any further.
Keep focussed on one topic, service, product or feature/ benefit at a time. Offer your audience clear take-aways, a call to action and never loose sight of the core objective – whether that is to provide valuable, sharable content, drive click-through rates or convert a sale.
And finally, keep the look of your communications simple and non-intimidating, avoiding too much clutter and remember plenty of white space to let the words and images stand out.
If you need any further support of guidance with your business communications, I’d be delighted to have a chat about how I can help you achieve your goals.
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