Second Person vs. Third Person in Your Business Copywriting

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Business Writing Basics

When you start a business, your plate gets piled high. Regardless of what industry you fall under, you’re much more than an owner. You handle client interaction, outreach, staffing, accounting … and the list goes on.

One position that many new business owners don’t typically think of right off the bat is copywriter. But unless you immediately outsource to a freelancer, you’re probably going to find a good chunk of your time being spent writing things such as:

  • Blogs
  • Marketing pieces (mail outs, brochures, newsletters)
  • Web content
  • Press releases

2nd Person Vs. 3rd Person Writing

Now, business writing is handled in different ways depending on the type of piece you’re composing. And one place novices usually get things wrong is in what point of view they write in. Most specifically, they get mixed up between second and third person.

That said, I’d like clear up the mess and help you make sure you’re getting it correct. I’ll begin by defining each:

Second Person Point Of View

This is the point of view you take when you are speaking directly to the reader. You address them directly as “you.”

2nd Person Writing Example:

You will love our product because it will save you time.

Third Person Point Of View

For our purposes, we will simply define third person as when you do not refer to the reader directly. Instead of saying “you,” you speak of them as if they are not part of the conversation.

3rd Person Writing Example:

The buyer will love this product because he will be able to use it to save time.

When Should You Use Second Person vs Third Person?

By nature, we tend to write in third person. That’s because it’s drilled in us all through high school and college. It’s considered a faux pas to ever address the reader in a work of academia. However, when it comes to business writing, the opposite almost always applies.

  • Blogging – Why have a business blog? Because you want to create a platform for conversation with your clients and potential clients. So in order to converse, you must engage the reader. That means using second person to speak to them directly.
  • Marketing Pieces and Web Content – The most successful marketing pieces are the ones that speak to their target market and connect with them on an emotional level. That means speaking their language. And you do that in second person.
  • Press Releases – Press releases represent the exception to the rule. Never write in second person, as they are supposed to read like unbiased news pieces. And writing in second person implies an obvious bias because you’re the speaker. Stick with third person to appear as an objective third party.

Writing Press Releases

As mentioned above, press releases should be written in third person, because they are not sales pieces, they are providing information for the media to use, and journalists are supposed to be objective third parties.

That’s great, but this brings up a bigger question:

Do You Have Press Release Writing Expertise In Your Company?

Most companies don’t, and that becomes blindingly clear when we see the press releases they produce.

That’s why our team of professional editors oftentimes works with our clients to rewite key elements of their press releases as we distribute them to the media, usually focusing on the headline and the initial hook.

But I’m going to step beyond this and make a bold statement:

You need a press release writing and distribution expert on your team.

This person does not have to be full time, and doesn’t even have to be an employee. 

But when you have a press release writing and distribution expert on your team, you tend to:

  • Get increased media coverage, because you write better press releases.
  • Get better media coverage, becasue your press release gets distributed and submitted to more media and journalists.
  • Get ongoing media coverage, because you start seeing the power of a well-written and distributed press release, and develop strategies to write and distribute more of them.

eReleases Can Be Your Press Release Writing And Distribution Expert Team Member

Between our press release writing expertise and our press release distribution specialty, our team of professional editors can add true expertise and capabilities to your team at a fraction of the cost of hiring a team member.

May I suggest you book a call with one of our professional editors to discuss how we can provide that expertise for your company?

Hope that clears things up for you. Let me know if you have any questions!

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (https://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: https://www.ereleases.com/free-offer/pr-checklist/

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