Use Familiar Language For Digital Audiences

write like you talkUse Familiar Language for Online Writing

It’s increasingly important to be able to write in a style accessible to online users. If I had to gamble, I’d bet that there was an online aspect to your business. It’s 2014, everything is online; you’re reading this online right now (unless you printed it off…in which case, think of the trees, man!)

When we write, as when we speak, we use different styles to communicate. You wouldn’t use the same language to speak your pet cat as to speak to a potential client; in the same way, it’s important to be flexible in your style of writing. We realise that, as a non native English speaker, this can be tricky. But we’re here to give you a few tips to help use familiar language.

“Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all”

Winston Churchill was talking about punchy prose when he uttered the above quote, but it can be applied to writing online too. It’s tempting to show off your impressive vocabulary when writing a blog post, but most readers won’t engage with it.

“I lost track of time” is a much more useful phrase that “i was chronologically discombobulated”, and while they’re both saying the same thing, you’ll lose a lot more readers by using the latter phrase. Keep your language to the point, easy to understand and familiar and you’ll keep your readers.

Do keep your audience in mind, however. If your business is aimed at healthcare professionals, for example, it makes sense to use specialist language.


An added bonus to using short, commonplace words is that using familiar language will make your page more searchable. When people type a phrase into a search engine, they are much more likely to use short, familiar language than complex technical terms.

A useful site for learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Neil Patel’s Quickspout. A beginner’s guide to SEO can be found here.

Let us know if you have problems with SEO or with any other aspect of digital content creation or marketing. If we get enough asks, we’ll try to write a blog post explaining what people are finding problematic. Otherwise we can direct you to useful online resources. We’re here to help you!

I’ll be back next week with more on writing for digital audiences. Until then, I hope that you have a productive week!
Katie, BEHQ team.

1 thought on “Use Familiar Language For Digital Audiences”

  1. Pingback: Writing for a Digital Audience; Short Sentences, Shedloads of Space - Business English HQ | Business English HQ

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