Is Your Marketing Voice Active or Passive?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Have you ever read something that “should” be good and informative, but it was so boring that you just couldn’t keep your mind from wandering?

 

You can probably blame passive voice.

If you’re like me you probably forgot all those grammar terms from High School. After all, you don’t exactly go around discussing “voice” or “tense” and diagramming the sentences you read in the newspaper.

But you do know what sounds good. You know the difference between a narrative that sounds dead and one that has life.


Some of the definitions of the word “passive” are “lacking in energy or will” – andbland or spicy “lethargic” and that’s just how passive voice affects language.

I think teachers must think passive voice sounds academic, or proper – because they encouraged us to use it when we were writing essays in school.

So exactly what is it? Read the minutes from almost any meeting and you’ll see it. It looks like this:

  • Fundraising ideas were discussed by those in attendance.
  • A committee was chosen to plan the next event.
  • Income and expense reports were given.
  • Refreshments were served by the hostess.
  • And of course the good old standby: “A good time was had by all.”

Ugh. Pretty bland and boring stuff! The secretary could just as easily have written:

  • We discussed fundraising ideas and chose a committee to plan the next event.
  • Betty read the income and expense reports.
  • Susan served apple pie and ice cream.


The trick to avoiding passive voice is to put a person at the beginning of the sentence
. When somebody does something it becomes active – and infinitely more interesting. And of course, when you add some detail you paint word pictures and get your readers’ minds involved.

I know – we all advise against starting any marketing message with “I” – and a marketing message really is about you and your service. But you don’t have to let it look that way. Turn it around and make your sentences begin with “you” and you’ll probably write a winning message.

A good rule of thumb – write the way you talk, with the focus on your client/customer/prospect!

 

close

Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Carol Williams 05/16/2016 04:00 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
Real Estate Rookie
Almost Anything Goes
EXPRESS WITH WORDS AT ACTIVERAIN
Addicted to Active Rain
Blogs Happen...
Tags:
best blogging practices
real estate marketing grammar

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Ambassador
2,757,603
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Marte - That's a great point and one I hadn't thought much about, but it makes a lot of sense. I'm going to take a look and see what I've been doing with that.

May 10, 2016 09:17 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,523,768
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Dick Greenberg - it really does make a difference to the "life" of the copy. 

May 10, 2016 09:34 AM #2
Rainmaker
3,978,945
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I like to think it is active and on point also...but I keep checking to make sure

May 10, 2016 09:41 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,523,768
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

William Feela - Checking up on ourselves is something we all should do from time to time. 

May 10, 2016 09:51 AM #4
Ambassador
783,030
Mimi Foster
FALCON PROPERTY SOLUTIONS - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Good info here, Marte. I learned early in my career that they may like you, but they don't really care what's going on in your life because when they're in the home buying or selling mode, it's all about them. So I learned how to focus it on them, and it works great. ;) 

May 10, 2016 10:11 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,295,012
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Right on, Marte... It should always be about them, not us.  It's something we all probably struggle with.   Thanks for the post!

May 10, 2016 11:23 AM #6
Rainmaker
2,742,370
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Thanks for the refresher on active and passive voice and the differences in the two styles. Great stuff!

May 11, 2016 03:28 PM #7
Rainmaker
2,742,370
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I haven't done a re-blog in a while that had this type of marketing subject matter in this way. Might I be able to use this?

May 11, 2016 03:29 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,939,115
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Excellent stuff Marte Cliff !  I look forward to your posts! 

Dec 22, 2017 03:53 AM #9
Ambassador
2,961,449
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

 

Marte Cliff Such a great example using meeting minutes. Thanks for taking to time to share with us.

Dec 23, 2017 08:36 AM #10
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainmaker
1,523,768

Marte Cliff

Your real estate writer
Do you have a question about real estate copywriting? Just ask!
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention