Before we go any further, let me tell you a few of my favourite songs. It’s important, so stay with me:
- Heaven’s Door Was Knocked On
- The Sheriff Was Shot
- You Were Put Under a Spell
Classics, I think you’ll agree.
But how much more do you want to listen to these songs: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, I Shot the Sheriff, and I Put A Spell On You?
That’s right. At least 1875% more.
Your business’s writing needs to EXCITE people, otherwise they won’t stick around for very long. But how do you make your writing more exciting?
You use the active voice, not the passive.
The active voice is far more interesting. It adds impact, grabs attention, and allows you to claim your words. That last one is important, particularly from a business perspective.
If I said to you, ‘Writing is the service sold on my website,’ would you hire me to write for you? Doubtful. Or if you did, you’d pay me a shitty wage, because I’m clearly crap at what I do.
Now how about this: ‘I write smokin’ hot words for badass businesses’? That’s ME, claiming that shit right there. Not allowing anyone else to take responsibility for what I do.
Using the active voice shows authority, commands respect and lets people know you’ve got your shit together. All of which are important if you want to build a business based on trust, customer loyalty and being fucking awesome at what you do.
I learned this lesson the hard way, back when I was a gentle 18-year-old college student. I was filling out my university application, and I decided to write about the time I did work experience at my local newspaper.
‘I was accepted on a week-long placement by the Grantham Journal.’
I thought I was very clever to write this because it meant my local newspaper had deemed me good enough to write for them.
My tutor reprimanded me. ‘You need to tell them you actively sought out that placement, because it shows you’ve got gumption!’
Ah, how right she was. Because damn it, I DO have gumption! And people with gumption are the ones you go to when you need something doing.
So how’s your business looking right now? Does it have gumption? Or is it a little sad, unsure of itself, and ready for a makeover?
I want you to take away three things from this:
- The active voice is more exciting than the passive, and that’s good if you want to get people ramped up about what you do.
- People are more likely to believe in you if you sound like you believe in yourself — and the active voice can help you with that.
- I have excellent taste in music.
If you’re sold on the benefits of using the active voice, but aren’t quite sure how to implement it (or even how to identify it) you should read this excellent article by Grammar Girl.