The Secret Life of Blog Words

humanizing through corporate blog writing“The smallest words in our vocabulary often reveal the most about us,”asserts James Pennebaker in “The Secret Life of Pronouns" (in the September 2011 issue of Science in Society). Hidden inside language, explains Pennebaker, are “small, stealthy words that can reveal a great deal about your personality, thinking style, and connections with others.”.

No information could be more important for blog content writers, since words are the power source in blogging for business. As I explain in corporate blogging training sessions, words and pictures are the tools we use in business blogging to create connections with others.

James Pennebaker, I learned, is a social psychologist who developed a computer program to analyze the language people use, discovering that words associated with positive emotions have therapeutic value.  From the vantage point of the freelance blog writers I train, however, the most important discovery to come out of this research involves the use of pronouns.

The Pennebaker team’s most striking initial discovery was that the more people changed from using first-person singular pronouns (I, me, my) to other pronouns (we, you, she, they), the better their health became!  The scientists went on to discover that gender, age, social class, and leadership ability al related to their choice of pronouns.

These discoveries could be of the most amazing business blogging help, I realized. One of my own discoveries in abandoning my generational bias towards long, individually composed pieces of business correspondence and traditional marketing brochures was that the core “mission” of blogging for business is to humanize online communications.

In four and a half years of providing business blogging services in Indianapolis, I’ve realized that whether the business owner him or herself is doing the writing, or whether they’re collaborating with a ghost blogger partner, the very process of deciding what to emphasize in the blog is a process of self-discovery!

And, since engaging readers’ interest in blogs is about expressing your understanding of their problems or dilemmas (“It’s- not-just-you-we-solve-this-problem-all-the-time”), pronouns in your business blog are your way to “get down and human”!

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