“I struggle to sound professional when I’m writing for work.”
It’s not an unusual comment from people who aren’t in communications but might have to write stories for internal newsletters, intranet or even external stories.
So how do you sound professional when writing for work? I would counter that question with: What does professional B2B writing look and sound like?
There is a common misconception that sounding ‘professional’ in B2B writing means using a different language to what you would use in a normal conversation.
That sounding professional means using long, fancy words, jargon and ‘corporate speak’.
And following certain rules that were drilled in when studying English at school, such as starting a sentence with ‘and’ as I’ve just done.
But that’s like saying that you aren’t professional unless you wear a suit and work in an office.
It’s stuff and nonsense. Being professional is about being skilled at what you do first and foremost.
The key purpose of B2B writing
And, just as labelling a certain way of dressing as professional misses the point, so does the idea that you have to write in a certain way.
Yes, correct English and spelling are a good idea, but using words and phrases you wouldn’t use when talking to people ignores the key purpose of B2B writing: To communicate.
If you want to communicate a piece of news, pass on information or get people to do something, you need to write in a way that is clear, concise and engages your audience.
And the easiest way to do that is to use familiar words and phrases – the language you would use in conversation.Continue reading “The myth of ‘sounding professional’ in B2B writing”