Let’s Get Personal – ‘I’ not ‘We’
One of the first things I do when I take over a client’s blog is to ask whether there is any specific reason for their blog content to be written in the third person. Have a look at a random selection of business blogs and I’m sure you’ll find that many of them are written in a corporate voice, they share what “we believe”, and what “we think”; even when the post is attributed to an individual.
So, what’s wrong with that? Well, I think this is a missed opportunity as well as missing the point of what a business blog is for. Notice the “I”? No doubt your website pages are full of what we think, do, believe, want; and how we help, solve, challenge, work and play. There might also be a few “ours” and “us-es” to complete the corporate speak. But what about the individuals in your business, what do they think, believe and do? Don’t they have opinions and expertise they can share that enhances your business brand, in which case surely they should be saying this is what “I think”?
Why Write Business Blogs In The First Person
I’m sure that many companies haven’t given much thought to whether a blog should be written in the first person or not. A blog is an extension of other online content, and although posts may be attributed to a particular member of the team, many people presume that content should be written on behalf of the company in a corporate voice.
Of course what is shared in a blog post needs to be closely aligned to the company’s business and culture, but allowing your authors to claim their posts as their own, has advantages for your business and online marketing efforts. For example…
To show the human face of your business: the adage that “people like to buy from other people” is very true and this presents a problem for online businesses who have little direct contact with their customers and clients. Even with a “About Us” or “Meet The Team” page, your target audience is hardly going to build a relationship with your team from short bios. This is where your blog can step up, starting the customer relationship building process by allowing visitors to get a little more insight into the individuals who work for your company.
Top Tip: Be approachable and invite engagement with the author in your blog posts. For example; “If you have a question for me about blogging for business please use the comments box below.”
Independent advice: if your company is made up of a bunch of experts a blog is a great way to showcase their expertise and the wealth of knowledge within your business. You may already be attributing blog posts on specific subjects to those members of staff who have this expertise. But are they written in the first person? If not the impression visitors will get is that the information contained is the company’s view and this, of course, is true. But readers like to feel like they are getting personal, independent advice, “trade secrets” or the latest thinking and opinion on particular subjects: to convey this your posts really need to be written in the first person.
Engenders trust: blog posts written in the first person help readers identify with the author and what they are reading. This also increases trust. Let’s face it we’re all a bit suspicious of any company’s advertising and marketing efforts; “can we believe them?” “they’re just trying to sell me something”. When content is written in the first person we are more likely to trust that what the author is saying is true.
Here are a few ways you can go that step further to create content that is not a faceless company blog post:
- Pose Questions: Ask the reader “do you have this problem?” or “what do you think?”, start a conversation with your readers and engage with them.
- Be Emotive: We all make decisions based on emotions so getting that emotional connection through your blog writing is another step closer to a sale.
- Share Your Opinions: readers are interested in what you think, not what your company thinks, although these are probably the same! When you state your believes you are asking your readers to either agree or disagree, either way it engages them with your post and you now have an opportunity to convert them to your way of thinking.
- Write About Personal Experience: as humans we are all interested in other people and their experiences. Sharing your own experience helps your reader identify with your content and makes them think about themselves and how they can use your experience to improve their situation. This might be by following you advice, buying your product or employing your services.
One of the primary reasons for having a company blog is to demonstrate that you are not another faceless corporate, but in my experience many businesses are failing at the first hurdle by writing in the third person.
Writing your blog content in the first person does not mean you have to get individual members of staff to contribute blog posts, although this would be great if you can! I ghost blog for a number of businesses in the first person; sometimes knowing who the post will be attributed to from the start, other times an author is selected once the blog post has been approved. Either way the content is always more engaging and authentic than when written in the company voice. Be human, personalise your content!
I hope you have found this post useful, if you have please let me know – it’s great to get feedback!
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