Active Vs Passive Writing
Think about some of the most recent things you have written. Can you say that you wrote in an active voice?
Perhaps you haven’t even heard of writing in a passive voice or even know what active vs passive writing is.
I took three English courses in College and not once did I hear of such a thing. It wasn’t till I started online marketing as an affiliate marketer that I heard the term.
So what is active vs passive writing anyway?
Active writing is straight to the point and easy to read. On the opposite end, the passive voice is indirect and difficult to read.
Active Writing Examples
He delivers the newspapers.
She delivered the newspapers.
He will deliver the newspapers.
She is delivering the newspapers.
In the next section, you will see how big of a difference it makes when written in a passive voice.
Writing in an active voice can be a little challenging to for some writers to keep a handle on. A great tool to help evade the problem is the Hemingway editor.
The Hemmingway app is a free online version. Saving your work with this tool is a must. I copy my work and paste it to Word periodically.
This robust tool will keep you from using the passive voice while you are in content creation mode. Next, we will see how those four sentences look in a passive perspective.
Passive Writing Examples
The newspapers are delivered by him.
Those newspapers were delivered by him.
The newspapers will be delivered by him.
Those newspapers are being delivered by him.
As you can see, there is quite a difference in how these sentences appear. The biggest difference is the positioning of the object and the subject.
In the passive examples, the object (newspapers) come first in the sentence. While the subject (him) comes last in the sentence. These four sentences also look and sound difficult to read, don’t they.
The Active examples look much easier and straight forward to read. The subject (He) comes first and the object he interacts with (newspapers) is last.
Why is Active Writing Better for Marketing?
It may seem little obvious but people do not like lied to. Using a passive voice when you write almost sounds like a lie or trick.
Look at this sentence again.
The newspapers are being delivered by him.
If you look close and take note that newspapers come first in the sentence. The subject isn’t about the newspapers. It’s about the guy that delivered the newspapers.
So it’s almost as is if we are hiding him behind the newspapers.
You could also argue the fact that passive sentences are plain and simple, hard to read.
It is much better to stick with the straightforward active clear voice when it comes to marketing.
How to Avoid Passive Writing
This has been a struggle for me for over a year now. The best solution that I have found is to use the Hemingway app.
I do not like to rely on tools but when I am writing at the moment, it is difficult to remember not to write in a passive voice.
Active vs passive writing detection isn’t a natural skill for me. In the future, after many articles have cleared my blog, I may gain a knack for avoiding the passive voice.
For now, I will use this free tool that has an awesome interface and alerts me when I use the wrong voice.
Should the Passive Voice Stay out of Marketing?
In most cases, you would want to stay away from the passive voice. There are a couple of exceptions, though.
In business, we like to announce when a company started. For example, “Google was founded in 1996.” We care that the business has been there for a long time. Who started the company isn’t a big concern.
When an issue is a consistent problem but we don’t know who or what the cause is. For example, “The window was left wide open.” You aren’t sure what happened but you want to address the issue.
These are a couple good reasons to use the passive voice but it is rarely a need.
Active vs passive writing is a challenge to understand in the marketing world.
Active Vs Passive Writing Tools
I will mention the Hemingway app once more here. The editor has a clean white writing and editing area.
The editing button will allow a no alert writing area. When engaged the editor will show adverb usage, passive voice, and other hard to read items.
Yoast is the next tool I would recommend. This tool is great for sniffing out active vs passive writing problems.
The last tool I would like to mention is Grammarly. This tool won’t help with active vs passive writing but it is the best tool out there for grammar.
The tool will occasionally cause some havoc with formatting inside of WordPress. Text sizes and other things will not convert over if errors corrected with Grammarly.
It can be a pain to get the formatting back the way you had it but other than that the tool is fantastic.
Active vs passive writing may seem like a scary beast at first. When I started researching it I found otherwise.
Researching the examples and knowing what to use them for is the biggest step. Always remember that an active voice is better in most cases for marketing.
Avoiding the passive voice can be as simple as going to a website to do your writing projects. Monitoring the passive voice with the WordPress plugin Yoast can also help.
P.S. If you want to check this post for the passive voice on any tool, I encourage you to do so. The examples of the passive voice are the only place you should find them.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article today. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them below. Be sure to sign up for the Buzz Boxer newsletter and check out my Wealthy Affiliate Review.