Writing style helps with how you deliver your intended message. And that means you need a decent grasp of the four main writing styles to make your copy effective.
So, writing style refers to the way in which the core message of the writing sounds.
It might be informative and instructional - as this post attempts to sound (so far).
Your writing might tap into the five senses and be more of a storytelling piece.
If you are writing in a convincing and persuasive style, that counts too.
Or, you could be telling a story with all the nuances and details that does the story justice.
These are your writing styles:
In truth, a piece of writing might use more than one style. But before we look at some examples, let’s figure out why it matters.
Certain types of writing demand a certain style. For example, news stories will always be expository. That’s because a news story conveys the facts.
So, you wouldn’t write a news story in a narrative style. That’s a bit misleading because it’s a story. True, but news articles focus on the facts of the matter.
A feature article, by comparison, will be expository but contain a narrative too. That’s because you are revealing facts within the framework of a story.
Then, there’s this: ad copy is nothing if it’s not persuasive.
So yes, writing styles matter.
I rubbed my eyes and ran my hands through my hair, trying not to look at the empty whiteness of the screen in front of me.
My mind searched along empty corridors, seeking the merest hint of an idea. But these were indeed, empty corridors.
Determined to write something, I looked through my notes file where I fling stuff that might be useful. There’s bound to be something in there I can riff on. Surely?
Those last few paragraphs used the descriptive style. It describes a writer struggling with writers' block.
The descriptive style is a powerful way to write. That's because it allows your readers to sense what you were experiencing. And that’s a compelling technique. You should give it a go.
That last paragraph was your persuasive example. It features a benefit, an explanation of the benefit and a call to action.
Tone of voice is one thing. That's to do with how a piece of writing sounds. The style of writing sets out the internal structure of the piece.
So, when it comes to your website copy, you'll need to adopt different styles depending on the content type.
Your blog posts, for example, are likely to be expository. While your page copy is likely to be more persuasive - with calls to action. And your case studies could use a narrative style.
Choosing a writing style gets easier with practice. You need to think about the main purpose of the piece you are writing. You can then write to inform, describe, persuade or tell a story. And you can do in whatever combination fits your topic.
If you need help with the style of your copy, drop me a line.