The Proof is in the Writing
Stephanie Hay, Former Viget
- Grammar: For those who remember at least a portion of the teachings of their fourth grade teacher like my own Mr. Grammer (and I’m not lying about that name), basic syntax and language usage are critical to demonstrating that you are credible. And credibility is vital to success.
- Usage: Don’t be outrageously embarrassed if you habitually use “over” instead of “more than” or “which” instead of “that,” or you never fully embraced the difference between “your” and “you’re.” Just stop doing it starting … now. Check out Strunk & White’s Elements of Style for a quick lesson or have an expert proofread your work. Don’t be too stubborn to learn.
- Styles: AP and Chicago are the most popular styles in writing for B2B. They are the styles you see in newspaper writing and throughout the publishing industry. MLA is used mostly in academic writing and is most notably remembered for its reckless use of the serial or Oxford comma (a major debate between English and journalism camps). Pick a style, buy a book (or an online subscription), and keep your site consistent. Or, come up with your own style guide, but write it down and use it in all of your communications.
- Voice: Pick a formal or conversational voice and go with it. I’m talking about the differences between, “Singading Company provides its customers … ” and, “We offer you ... .” There is no correct answer as to which is more effective. You don’t want to turn off readers by sounding like a stiff; but, you don’t want to sound like you’re wearing paint-stained, cut-off jean shorts and inviting them to a BYOB barbeque. Find your happy medium and keep it consistent.