sharon tanton portrait

You are my one and only

love heart sweets

With love in the air it feels like a good time to get a bit, and to explain what writing love letters got to do with great business copy.

I thought I’d start by sharing a secret with you – who I’m thinking of when I write my blog posts. Because I’m always writing to a person. A real one, that I know in the real world, and I think that’s what makes my writing feel immediate.

I’m usually writing to Sonja, my Valuable Content partner. She’s the one I want to impress. She absolutely knows her content stuff, and I know I can’t get away with anything less than good with her.

Though I’m writing to Sonja, I know that what I have to say will be relevant to more people. And the writing attitude that I take, of talking to a friend who knows as much and more than I do, means I’m writing on a level. Talking either up or down to a reader is a turn off, and I want to keep her switched on.

Of course it’s not always Sonja. Sometimes I write blog posts with a particular client in mind. If I know someone is facing a business challenge that I can help with, I’ll write a blog post and send it to them. (John BD, the newsletters one was for you.) And of course, I know that lots of businesses are facing the same dilemma, so I’ll post it on the website too. The fact that it was written with John BD in mind gives it an immediacy and relevance that makes the copy come alive.

So, here are seven reasons why you should write with that special person in mind.

1. It makes your writing warmer.

2. It makes you think of the best and clearest way of saying something. Friends don’t talk in jargon.

3. It makes you want to impress, make them smile, share something – all good ways to engage.

4. It makes you focus. Cutting out anything unnecessary gives your writing more impact.

5. It gives your writing immediacy. You’ll choose words that connect, rather than distance your reader.

6. It will make your writing pacier. We use active verbs rather than passive ones when we’re talking to friends.

7. It will make your writing more real. Authenticity is valuable, and you’ll achieve it by writing from the heart.

If you liked this, try these too.

The seven deadly word sins

Writing rules you should break

How to make Linkedin love you


  • 1
    February 3, 2011 - 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Sharon.

    Thanks for the advice! Have to admit I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now on a personal level, writing about hobbies I have, games I’ve played, etc. but I had never considered that I was writing to somebody in particular. A bit odd really when you realise that’s exactly what you’re doing!

    I like the sound of your approach and will be writing my business blog with your advice in mind.

    Thanks again!

  • 2
    February 4, 2011 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks Nick – give it a go! I hoped it would be interesting to people.
    Writing has been something I’ve taken for granted for years now, and since I’ve started the blog I’ve had to stop and think about how I actually do it.

  • 3
    February 15, 2011 - 2:28 am | Permalink

    I love this idea and can completely relate to it. I catch myself grinning as I write when I imagine a friend reading the post.

  • 4
    February 15, 2011 - 4:41 am | Permalink


    Another thing I try to do when I blog, and even when I write professionally in my job at a large corporation, is to write at a sixth-grade reading level. Someone close to me has a learning disability. I want that person to be able to read what I write without stumbling.

    I’d like to think I’ve always met that goal in my writing, and as I’ve edited the work of others, I’ve shared the story to help them do the same. It matters. I can’t imagine what it must look like to see a bunch of chicken scratches on a page and not be able to see them dancing together to tell a story I can understand.

    Nice article. Thanks.

    • 5
      February 15, 2011 - 8:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks Ann. I really like your ‘read without stumbling,’ being accessible is so important. Glad you liked it!

  • 6
    February 15, 2011 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Thanks Angie, glad you like it. Your website looks great!

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