The Copy Corner: How can you keep your writing professional & approachable?

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When is casual writing okay?

Managing to keep your writing professional while appealing to a large audience is one of the most difficult feats in content writing. Here are a few tips:

Consider Your Target Audience

Once you determine your target audience, think about casting a wider net. Casting a wider net can allow you to reach an entirely new group of customers.

Consider your audience and then any related groups that could benefit from the information you’re sharing.

Pro-tip: Consider what words you’d use if you were having a face-to-face conversation with a member of your target audience. Talk in the manner you would in a conversation with one of your audience members.

Avoid Slang

Nothing will manage to make your writing less professional and less relatable than using slang. You might get lucky and only scare off one group (people who don’t use slang); if you’re unlucky, you’ll scare off both those who don’t use slang and those who do. Slang is ever-changing and chances are it’ll be outdated by the time your content publishes, which can date you and your content.  

Pro-tip: Also be sure to avoid industry jargon. While it’s professional, you’ll likely end up alienating anyone who isn’t in your industry.

Use the Fog Index

Professional writing, put simply, is content that can be easily understood by your target audience. The Fog Index determines your content’s reading level and helps you identify parts of your writing that are difficult for readers to understand. You can keep your writing professional and accessible by aiming for a reading level that is consistent with that of your target audience.

If you are expanding your reach and writing to a more general audience, aim for an 8th grade reading level. Most agree that this is the most appropriate reading level.

Pro-tip: Have someone outside your industry read it over. If they understand it, you’re good to go. If not, see if you can explain it more clearly.

Stay Consistent

Remember to stay consistent on each page of your site. If you explain industry terminology in layman’s terms on one page, make sure to do it on the other pages.

Pro-tip: If it’s a tricky subject, consider writing a page explaining exactly what it is. It will give your readers the information they need (and keep them on your site longer). For example, if you’re writing about out-of-state drivers recovering compensation for car accidents in New Jersey, a page explaining the Deemer Statute will be extremely helpful as it’s known to be one of the most complicated accident laws out there.

Finding the balance between writing that is too professional and too casual is not something that will happen overnight. Just keep at it and you’ll start seeing improvements.

For help with content writing, feel free to give us a call: 888-521-3880.