With a little practice and some helpful insight from my personal experience, you can become better at communicating with your intended audience and promote your business.
This summer, I am a writing intern at Exodus Place. I began three weeks ago and average about 20 hours per week. This ministry is a cross between a rehabilitation house and a halfway-house. Some of the residents were homeless until recently; others have been released from prison and need a safe place to readjust to society and having responsibilities. Many of the men who live there were sentenced for more than twenty years. Can you imagine living in jail for more than twenty years and suddenly being released into a tech-savvy, hyper-efficient culture? Jobs require computer skills, even if it is to type a resume or fill out an online application. It's humbling interacting with these men.
Read over that paragraph one more time, but this time, focus on how I’m telling you this story rather than what I’m telling you. You’ll find that I do a few things in my ‘business explanations’, where I explain the who, what, where, and why of the companies and nonprofits I work for.
I Place Myself in The Story
Audiences connect more with people than they do entities. Whether you work for or run a large or small business, your clients will respond better to a personalized story from another person like them. If you can make even a one or two sentence connection using “I” or “me”, do it. It will help your readers picture you telling them the story rather than a large, unfamiliar company.
I Ask Questions
While many college professors say to avoid rhetorical questions, a well-placed rhetorical question can invite readers to think more in-depth about the story or product you’re telling them about. Just don’t get carried away. Rhetorical questions stacked one on top of the other start to feel like a nagging mother.
I Use Emotion
(This is also why the media successfully feeds off of intense and scary situations like the Ebola virus or school shootings.) This might be tricky if you’re trying to promote a product, but promoting services can definitely call for a dose of emotion. People like to feel something when they’re reading. If they get bored or don’t think they’re getting anything out of your article, they’ll leave and find something that does catch their interest (and engages their emotions).
I Use Facts
Be objective. Try not to oversell your product. Always avoid inaccuracies. Your audience will appreciate being informed, and a well-informed audience is more likely to support your business.
Kelsey May is a writer and poet from Grand Rapids, Michigan and currently attends Grand Valley State University where she majors in Writing. She lived on-and-off in Washington, D.C. over the course of two years and owes much of her inspiration and content for her poems to her time there. She is passionate about social and environmental justice. She writes grants, newsletters, and other goodies for nonprofits, businesses, and magazines. Her work has been published in The Maine Review, Voices, and HowlRound. Read more on her blog or email her directly.