Speaking the right language

Love him or loathe him, Donald Trump definitely got one thing right in his presidential campaign: he engaged with his electorate. He spoke to the US people in language that persuaded a sufficient majority of them to vote for him.

And when it comes to selling yourself online, that’s what you need to do too.

The first step is to assess your target market. Think about the age and education of your audience, and the issues that are important to it. Then write in a way that takes all three into account.

This means that unless you really are writing a research paper about rocket science, don’t make your audience feel like they need a physics degree to read it. Because they won’t. Read it, I mean. Equally, if you are writing an article for a professional journal, don’t dumb it down too much, otherwise your readers won’t take you seriously.

It’s a real balancing act, and research is required.

Try to work out what else your audience likes to read, and immerse yourself in that type of material. It will help you spot the tone and type of language you should be aiming for. It’s also worth having a  look at what your competitors are doing. If it works for them, it will work for you too.

The other option is to speak to an expert.

It’s something that my husband was forced to do recently. He was due to give a talk to 100 teenagers and while he is a good speaker, he was a little nervous about it. He took advice.

This turned out to be short and sweet, delivered in the withering tones that only a teenage girl can employ.

“Just DON’T be boring, Dad,” said my daughter.

And she was right.

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