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What is Your ‘Writing Voice’ When You are Not the Writer?


Your Writing Voice Defines You

Most savvy businesspersons understand that ‘content is king,’ meaning that good, appropriate content is an important key to the success of marketing campaigns today. Where content production is concerned, these same businesspersons can be divided into roughly three groups, two of which find original content difficult to come up with:

  • Those who write and publish articles on a regular basis
  • Those who don’t write because they don’t like to write
  • Those who simply don’t have the time to write

If you belong to one of the latter two groups, read on.

Does the following sound familiar…?

When your marketing department/person informed you that your company’s future success will depend upon stories, opinions and ‘how-to’ articles that come from YOU in particular, perhaps you were relieved to find that a ghostwriter (or two) was perfectly willing to write these articles FOR YOU. Whew! Dodged that bullet.

Okay. But not so fast.

If you spend considerable face time with your customers, how do you think you will sound to those same customers if they happen to read something a ghostwriter created for you? Will you sound like the person they know or will they wonder who this mysterious writer is that has your same name?

Likewise, if your prospective customers read something “you wrote,” will they be able to understand that the “you in writing” is supposed to be the same as “you in person?”

Development of a Writing Voice

Generally speaking, people who write on a consistent basis not only improve their writing skills with time, they also “begin to sound like themselves” in a sense. What’s really happening in this case is two things:

  1. Writing is a contemplative activity. The act of writing actually changes us over time, and changes the way we speak… including our grammar, word choices, typical expressions, and many more aspects of verbal communication.
  2. As we grow, our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors change. And with those changes come changes in the way we express ourselves when we communicate.

The Benefit in Using Ghostwriters

Ghostwriters are individuals who write for others. In general, this is how it works…

  1. You or your marketing folks tell a ghostwriter what to write
  2. They write it
  3. You proof the writing
  4. They make any edits you request
  5. You pay the writer
  6. You or your marketing team publish their writing under your own name

Many ghostwriters are either staff writers for publications or are freelance writers. Others are sometimes subject matter experts such as accountants, electrical engineers, nurses, et al., who have a “day job” but who write as a sort of side business on issues relating to their areas of expertise.

The benefit in using ghostwriters to write your content is in saving time while producing acceptable – and sometimes excellent – results.

The Drawback in Using Ghostwriters

On the other hand, is there any hope of your latest article sounding like you if…

  1. You don’t write and don’t have any writing samples to offer your ghostwriter?
  2. Your ghostwriter doesn’t know you and cannot even guess how to mimic your unique writing voice using the printed word?
  3. Neither you nor your ghostwriter have a guide that explains what your writing voice actually “looks like,” including nuance and specific expressions? With examples?

If your writing voice is significantly different from your speaking voice, the drawbacks of using a ghostwriter include:

  • Your current customers may not recognize the You who is writing as being the You they’ve come to know and trust as a person.
  • Your prospective customers may find it odd that the You they encounter in your writings doesn’t match the You they meet in person. So which is the real you?

Turning Drawbacks into Benefits

There is only one way I know to help bridge the gap between how a person communicates verbally with how a person appears to communicate in writing… when the writing is actually done by others. It is a process we’ve developed for our clients over time and we’ll have more to say about it when we address the issue again in the near future.

About Jeff Hayes

Jeff is Principal at AlignTech Solutions and is a digital strategist with many years of marketing and engineering experience in the areas of healthcare, assisted living and professional services.He has served on various community and educational boards in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin as well as in Chicago. He was instrumental in creating a regional business symposium with the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and in developing programming for fast growth businesses that show promise.
 

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