Whether you’re writing an email to a colleague or scheduling a post for social media, it’s likely that you’ll think about the words you use. Though formal language is widely acceptable across a range of contexts, there tends to be a question mark over the more colloquial phrases.
Whilst it might seem a grey area, that doesn’t mean it has to be ruled out completely; depending on the nature of the text you’re writing and the intended audience, slang can be very effective when used in the right place.
What is slang?
More common in speech than writing, slang is a type of language consisting of words and phrases that are typically regarded as very informal.
When using slang, always bear in mind that English slang cannot be translated, so if you are targeting global audience, avoid using it where you can.
Use of slang is likely to be more appropriate for companies that have a younger demographic audience, as they can relate to this language and will therefore be more engaged.
You may also find that slang is more generally used internally within businesses, particularly where emails or inhouse instant messaging is concerned. Communicating informally may help to keep some employees engaged, particularly if they want to adopt a more down-to-earth persona within the workplace. What’s more, knowing they don’t always have to speak formally can encourage them to voice their opinion and share their views more openly.
When thinking of using slang within content that’s being distributed on your platforms such as a website, social media, blog or advertisement, always bear in mind that you are representing your business and content plays a big part in how a reader judges you.
Top tips for using slang
- Consider the tone of the content – if it’s a serious piece on an important matter, be sure avoid slang if you want to keep the reader focused on the topic you are discussing.
- Maintain a professional persona – when delivering content to external clients, it’s important to represent your business in a professional way. Staying away from slang and informal language is the best way to ensure this.
- Building engagement – when posting on social media, consider using slang to fit in with the particular platform. Regular use of hashtags and interacting with relatable people online is the best way to stay prominent within the sector.
- Don’t forget your brand – if you have spent months developing the desired tone you want for your business, make sure that inappropriate use of slang doesn’t jeopardise this.
- Check, check and check again – always make sure colleagues proof read your work before sending it externally. As well as sense checking, receiving feedback can improve the quality of your writing style on a long term basis.
Where the legal profession is concerned, we all know how difficult it is to write interesting content.