I was reading the ‘Rush-Hour Crush’ section of the Metro today and something struck me…
The first one strikes me as creepy. ‘Man in Blue Uniform’ has noticed way too much about his crush – too much detail. It makes you wonder just how long he was staring at her – particularly her ‘smoky grey tights’.
The second one is slightly more respectful, given it ends with ‘if you see this message, and provided that you are single, please say hi tomorrow when we’re on the same train…’, although you have to wonder how he knows his crush is Eastern European: has he heard her speak? Did she speak in another language and he recognised it? Does she have an accent? Did she state ‘I am Slovakian’? Or does he just think she looks it?
The third one is inherently more respectful and intelligent than the previous two. It’s softer and more thoughtful. ‘Handsome man’ is far less offensive/nauseating than ‘classy, chic lady’. It states clearly how they met, where, what they talked about. This is someone who’s making a real effort to connect with her crush again, but without sounding desperate or creepy.
It’s fascinating how three people, all with the same aim, can sound so different.
It’s why not everyone can write for your organisation.
It’s why you can tell when a company’s copy or content has been written by two or three different people, at different times.
It’s why you can tell when someone has just ‘had a bash’ at your copy or content.
It’s why when Bob, from Accounts, says ‘I can write copy’, he can probably write as Bob, but doesn’t know how to write in the voice of your company or adapt to different audiences.
It’s why you need a dedicated tone of voice guide and a style guide, with clear rules for writing copy and content.
It’s why it’s best to have a resources devoted exclusively to your copy and content – namely copywriters; ideally in-house.
Ultimately, you don’t want to sound like ‘Rush-Hour Crush’, three disparate individual statements with broadly the same aim – you want to sound like one coherent, smooth, well-oiled machine.
So, write in your tone and your tone only, and don’t let any old fool write your copy – have a dedicated resource.