I’ll admit it. Sometimes I’m not too quick on the uptake with Gen Z hashtags and slang. And you know I love me some slang.
I’m old school and use classics like — biatch.
I love the word so much, it’s front and centre in my Instagram post on proofreading without ugly crying.
So when I came across IRL in an article, my 51 year-old menopausal brain shouted, “IRL. What the hell does that mean?”
It took me a good ten seconds to realize it stands for in. real. life.
Umm, why don’t I use this?
That’s what I’m all about.
Using sentence fragments, slang, non-jargon words ─ anything that sounds like me IRL.
Because your audience wants to know what you’re really like.
People are drowning in content. To the point where they feel a sense of freedom unfollowing and unsubscribing from things that no longer interest them.
perfectly polished= easy to unsubscribe/unfollow
So…here’s where I get advicy on your ass. But I’m gonna back it up with what to do about it.
When you’re talking to someone (you like) IRL, do you use perfect grammar?
Think about the last conversation you had when you weren’t bored to tears or faking it.
How did you sound?
Casual and relaxed, or perfectly polished and grammatically correct?
What words did you say that are sooo you?
Did you bust out some slang?
I bet you did it all.
Because that’s you IRL.
When you relax the Darth Vader grip “rules” have on your writing, people see you.
And that’s how you write copy that sounds like you — and nobody else.
Now, let’s get THAT YOU in there.
Rule: Only capitalize proper nouns and the first letter of the first word in a sentence. nope
You can write whole words in caps to add emphasis.
i.e. My husband, however, DOES NOT SWEAR.
#2 the period
Rule : Only use a period at the end of a sentence that’s intended to make a statement. wrong
Use multiple periods to break up a sentence, to add emphasis and make a bold statement.
i.e. Only use a period at the end of a sentence that’s intended to make a statement. I. Don’t. Care.
Rule: While it’s fine to use slang in conversation, do not use it in business writing. hell no
Slang is not unprofessional. It’s about making copy conversational. Use slang to take the stiffness out of your writing.
i.e. 5 rules for running a successful workshop vs 5 rules for crushing your workshop
#4 conjunction function
Rule: Never start a sentence with OR, AND or BUT. that’s a negatory
This was mock grammar, drummed into you by your high school English teacher, to prevent you from writing like you talk. It is NOT an actual grammar rule. Feel free to use them in your copy like you do IRL.
i.e. My Cosmopolitan was delicious. But to hell with paying $14 for a freaking cocktail.
I’ve got more simple but effective tweaks to change up our writing style. But I’m gonna stop here.
When you feel like experimenting, break one of the rules above. Hell, break them all.
Start writing like you ─ and nobody else.