Regardless of what you’re writing – a blog post, an article, a sales message, etc. – your copy should sound personal and relevant to the person reading it. You don’t want to sound like you’re writing a textbook to a class of students or a news article to the masses. Instead, your tone should be similar to a one on one conversation with a friend.
So how can you achieve this? With a little research and a healthy dose of imagination. This is one of those tricks that natural writers do without thinking about, and the rest of us can learn with just a little practice. What you’re going to do is create a “persona” of your ideal reader. For example, if you’re writing a sales letter, your persona is the customer. Hopefully you have a good idea of who your customers are, and if not you might want to engage in some research to find out.
Choose one customer: Someone who has purchased your products in the past and reads all your stuff. This person might be real or imaginary, it doesn’t really matter. Now write a bio for your customer, answering these questions: Male or female? Age? Where does s/he live? Occupation? Likes? Dislikes? Desires? Goals? You get the idea – you’re creating this person just as if they were real and sitting there in the room with you. Picture them in your mind, or choose a photo from the Internet.
Now for the fun part: Make friends with this customer. Imagine having a face to face chat about your latest product or the blogpost you’re about to write. What do you tell him or her? What questions do they have? Do they understand what you’re saying, or do they need clarification?
If you’re thinking you can’t do this, it simply means you’re out of practice. All children have imaginary conversations in their heads, and you did as well. This is your chance to let your subconscious mind go to work, filling in the words your persona would say to you in a conversation. You’ll be surprised by what you discover because you’re opening the door to knowledge you didn’t even know you had.
Now then, once you’ve got a good sense of who your persona is, go ahead and write that blog post or article or sales message directly to your persona, just as you would write a personal letter. Be sure to connect with them on an emotional as well as intellectual level. Your persona is the only one that matters when you are writing because it is just the two of you having an intimate conversation.
And if all of this sounds terribly silly, don’t worry. Just try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better your writing can become when you’re writing to that one specific persona.
BONUS: As you get to know your persona better and better, you might try asking him or her questions and quietly listening for the answers. Your persona can tell you why your marketing is falling short, how to market your product for more sales, and even what product to create.
Once you’re well acquainted with your first persona, consider getting a second one that is quite different from the first. For example, if your niche is Internet marketing and your persona is a 50 year old male looking to make extra money to sock away for retirement, your second persona might be a 22 year old looking to earn a full time living online as fast as possible, or perhaps a newly divorced 35 year old mother of 3 trying to make ends meet.
These personas will make your writing come alive, as well as accessing useful and sometimes brilliant information and insights that take you by complete surprise and significantly add to your bottom line.