Good as far as it goes but remember your listener is just one person.
It was the late 80s. The World Wide Web was only a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee‘s eye. I was writing scripts for various BBC radio presenters. It was an early lesson that I had to learn quickly. My experienced colleague continued:
This radio station might have thousands of listeners but they listen as individuals. Speak to him or her as an individual.
It was, and still is, useful advice. When you’re looking at hits, clicks and visits, it’s easy to see your readers as an anonymous crowd. Just as, in the 80s, I viewed listeners as a vague mass of people.
So I fell into the trap of addressing them in the plural or talking about them in the third person. I’d start sentences like this: “As many of our listeners know…”, or, “As many of you know…”.
Wireless Rule No.1: Use the singular.
It’s the same for your website. Thousands of people might be looking at it right now. Several hundred people might be reading this post all at the same time. As far as I’m concerned, the only person who counts is you.
If I mention ‘they’, you’ll think I don’t mean you. But I do.
So cut out the middle men of ‘they’. Speak directly to your reader. Say ‘you’ whenever you can.
Wireless Rule No.2: This is the subject of my next blog post.
It relates to the time when I turned up to my first ever radio job. I had a shiny new degree under my arm. I was promptly told to forget everything I’d learned in the previous three years. At least, when it came to writing for listeners.
I was a bit miffed at the time but it stood me in good stead. I’ll explain why soon.