There are two aspects to any communication, explains Elizabeth J. Natalle in Teaching Interpersonal Communication. The report aspects conveys information, while the command aspect refers to the relationship between the communicants. The command aspect sets a tone, which might be focused on:
- this is how I see myself…
- this is how I see you…
- this is how I see you seeing me…
Natalle contrasts two statements about driving a car to make her point:
- “It is important to release the clutch gradually and smoothly.”
- “Just let the clutch go, and it will ruin the transmission in no time.”
One interesting perspective on the work we do as professional bloggers is that we are interpreters, translating clients’ corporate message into people-to-people terms, trying to find exactly the right tone. That first statement about the clutch would be purely informational, for example, with no connection being formed between the reader and the business owner or practitioner. On the other hand the second statement takes a “how to” tone, a tone that can be very useful in blog marketing.
Crystal Gouldey of AWeber Communications names five different “tones” to consider when planning a blog:
- The formal, professional tone
- The casual tone
- The professional-but-friendly tone
- The sales pitch tone
- The friendly sales pitch toneConsistency is important, Gouldey thinks. “It will be very confusing for subscribers if you talk to them one way and the next week you talk to them in a different way,” Gouldey says.
’T aint necessarily so, I teach. For one thing, a company blog can have different contributors, each of whom might have a different styles of presenting information. But even with a single author, the use of different tones can lend variety and interest. The only exceptions would be the “sales pitch” tones, probably better left out of the blog mix.
Does your blog post command or report? Your business blog can do both!