In the current digital era where every social media app is saturated with dozens of advertisements and marketing campaigns, something as basic as your writing styles can make a cut.
It’s more difficult than ever to stand out of the crowd and make an impact on the customer. One such way to truly make your brand content different from the rest of the pack is to utilize different writing styles.
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What are writing styles?
A writing style is basically the manner in which writers craft sentences to express their thoughts, views or opinions. Grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary choice all contribute to the tone of your writing style.
An important step for writing content is figuring out the type of style that best fits you. Although each writer eventually develops a writing style that’s unique to them, a blogger for instance will have a different tone compared to a press journalist.
Content can basically be classified into 4 broad categories.
Types of writing styles
Although there are multiple types of writing styles like technical writing, analytical writing, reflective writing, etc. the four widely used writing styles in digital marketing are :
As the name suggests, descriptive writing relies on a ton of descriptions. Content written in this style is rich in detail and usually engages all the senses of the reader. Writers using this style usually pepper their sentences with similes, metaphors, allegories and other poetic devices.
The ultimate objective of this style is to set the scene and paint a vivid and colourful picture in the reader’s mind as if they were living the experience.
Take for example a review for a dish, “the food was tasty” does not quite evoke the same emotions as this review from Tejal Rao – “The rotis were flawless, king-size rounds. Each one was thin and even, freckled with char and shimmering.”
Descriptive type of writing is majorly seen in poetry, journal writing and screenplays.
This style of writing deals with concrete facts and figures. Unlike with descriptive writing, here the majority of the text is just raw, condensed information without any sort of purple prose.
This type of writing is best used in cases where you’re delivering pure information in an unbiased manner, without displaying any perspective.This can also use graphs, statistical data, charts to further back the content with data and visual graphics.
Some of the examples of expository writing include scientific research papers, textbooks, how-to articles and instruction manuals, all of which are informational and factual.
Narrative writing specialises in telling a story, typically this is a more long form type of writing where there’s a clearly defined beginning, middle and end portion and the story follows plot points and characters.
A classic example of this is the hero’s journey technique used in novels which follows a sequence where the hero goes on an adventure, falls into a crisis and finally emerges victorious. This also makes an appearance in biographies and memoirs.
In the context of digital marketing, testimonials are good examples for the narrative structure, the customer describes issues they faced before the product, their experience using it and then their feedback.
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Persuasive writing is used when the author attempts to make a case by convincing the reader to follow their beliefs or stance on a particular topic. They come up with evidence and justifications to back up their claims.
It’s also the most common type of writing you will find in digital marketing campaigns as advertisers attempt to get the customer to purchase the product by listing out their best features and creating an argument to justify its importance to the client.
An example of this is cover letters where candidates use persuasive writing to convince the company to recruit them. Similarly, letters of recommendations, product reviews and political speeches also follow the same writing style.
Why is writing style important ?
It’s very clear that writing styles can either make or break the brand but picking the correct one and being deliberate with the content is equally as important. You can cumulate huge traffic if you’re able to masterfully utilise the various writing styles to keep users engaged.
The writing styles target the subconscious mind of your audience. You must’ve heard that how you tell something is mostly precedent over what you are telling. The readers cater to your tone and style of communication as much as what is being communicated, if not more.
Let’s take a look back at some of the popular marketing campaigns of the past. We have some that worked, for example, the food chain – Wendy’s social media presence causing an influx of traffic after they decided to tweet in a sarcastic tone, playfully mocking customers who chose to buy food from their competitors. While it was a risky decision, this form of persuasive writing came across as personal and funny and garnered positive reception.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad that was incredibly tone deaf. Despite using a narrative writing style, as the ad was dealing with protests and resistance, sugar coating such a brutal incident led to more outrage instead and negatively impacted public perception of the brand.
Another example is Spotify, after receiving multiple complaints of the frequency and content of the voice recording ads interrupting the music, Spotify shifted into banner ads with simple expository writing displaying the prices and benefits which was ultimately much more favourable in the long run.
The writing styles should be perfectly cohesive to the entity being communicated. Being real and authentic while adapting to writing as a writer becomes important when you have an audience. The audience starts to notice your personal style that is voicing what the brand or the entity is about.
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When to use which writing style?
Content must always be created after deciding the target audience and the message of the writing. If you’re trying to sell a product via pamphlets to an audience that requires facts like price, description, features, etc. expository writing will produce more results.
Meanwhile, an influencer might attract more traffic on their social media page by using an informal form of descriptive writing.
Writing styles need not only be used in isolation as well. In certain scenarios, mixing certain styles can make a stronger impact on the reader. Most research papers use both persuasive and expository writing in combination.
Tips to develop your writing style
Once you have a decent grasp on the previously discussed writing styles, it’s essential to further develop your craft to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
Expose yourself to a variety of content, critically analyse them and carefully dissect what word choices, structure, topics you prefer and why.
As Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. Unoriginal writing can come across as dishonest and boring. Instead of following the same formula everyone else is using, elevate your writing by using details from your own experiences or by flipping the narrative.
Writing only when inspiration strikes is a trap that most authors fall into. Spending a fixed amount of time daily to consistently write is ideal but might not be plausible for most, which is why setting small realistic goals for yourself like fulfilling a quota of words, or paragraphs, although may seem insignificant and tiring in the beginning will lead to better writing in the bigger picture. Creativity is, after all, a muscle.
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As a writer, it’s essential that you get more familiar with the different types of writing styles, how they can be used in digital marketing to get the right attention to your content and to grow your audience.
For better results, switch up the writing style keeping in mind the type of content you’re writing and the audience you’re targeting and keep practicing to ultimately establish a special style that stands apart.