It’s perhaps an unfortunate, but highly relevant coincidence that the word “we” in business writing is a homophone for wee, as in urine.
Why? Because upfront and excessive use of the W word usually means that the text it appears in is all about what WE do and not about what we can do for you and why that will help you.
Now before some of you jump down my throat and say, “you’re not STILL banging on about the W word?” … get this.
Just a few days ago I was reminded about the we-wee effect by my good friend Mark Garner, an Australian colleague, who wrote a very hard-hitting and absolutely wonderful article about just this issue. Please read it: it’s brilliant.
So what else is new, already?
Exactly. Despite vast numbers of us business writers / bloggers pouring scorn on the awful, defunct, should-have-been-thrown-out-in-the-garbage-years-ago “corporate we,” it STILL hangs around.
I would love to quote some real examples here but despite removing names and places I might still get sued. So here are some made up examples. These show how to make them more YOU orientated which could help those of you (shame on you if you’re still doing it!) grab more interest and business from your readers.
That works by showing them, upfront, what’s in it for them. And what’s in it for them, dear readers, is – understandably I have to say – all that matters in a business context.
OK … how about these?
We offer a wide range of services based on our consultants’ extensive experience in our field
You’ll gain right away from our consultants’ extensive experience in what you need for your business, across a wide range of services
We are acknowledged as the leaders in our industry within our area
Many clients like you have voted us as leaders in our industry, so you know you’re using the best in our area
We have been established since 1995 and have in-depth experience of trading in our town
Whether you’re new to our town or not, you’ll benefit from our in-depth experience of the business scene here to help you grow yours
We are proud to announce the arrival of a new consultant here at (NAME) – she brings a vast range of (TYPE) skills to our business and will add substantial value to our team
Please help us welcome (NAME) to our team: her skills make a hugely valuable addition to the team, and to the range of help you get from us
We have been established as a reliable firm of (WHATEVER) in this area since 1980
You’ll be pleased to know our firm has been around since 1980, so our experience handed down over time gives you the confidence that we know what we’re doing
We welcome your comments as these help us improve our services and develop our business
Please add your comments her as this helps us offer even better services to match your needs
Rocket science? No, the YOU angle
Just think, as I was taught many years ago by a copywriting boss, about the YOU angle … always remember that no matter how formal or “corporate” you think your web text or blog posts or other business communications should seem … if you don’t get YOU in there upfront you’ll lose your readers’ interest.
And whatever you write for business, remember this … in fact print it out and stick it up on your office wall, so it inspires everything you write for business and marketing purposes:
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?
What do you think? How can we make our bizcomms more effective by using the YOU angle?
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