November 28, 2006

Setting the Tone in your White Papers

What is tone? While it may refer to a fuzzy bass, or a tinny treble in audiophile terms, tone in writing refers to manner in which words are used that elicits a particular perception on the part of the reader. Why is this important? The use of the proper tone in your white paper can have a significant impact on how well your paper is read and understood by your target audience. There are several types of tone that you can apply for your white papers: Authoritative - a tone that presents information using basic facts and data to project an air of authority and credibility. Research and analyst firms frequently use an authoritative tone in their white papers. "The problem of identity theft is best exemplified by the fact that the average amount of fraud per case has increased from $5249 to $6383 over the past two years." Referential - a tone that uses references an examples from other persons or companies as a way justify a position and to demonstrate the impact of a particular situation. "Your family could be a victim of identity fraud just like the Jones family of Springfield, who recently lost several thousands of dollars after submitting their credit card information to a bogus on line banking website." Conversational - a easier and more friendly tone that represents an actual conversation taking place between two people. This tone is used to make complex information easier to understand. "If you've ever purchased anything on line, you know the threat that identity theft can bring. In fact, the amount of fraud has increased about a thousand dollars per case over just the past few years." Can one change their tone? Usually tone is part of each writer's style, and each customer will often have a tone that represents their corporate style. But with proper self-training, one can change their tone in a white paper from one style to another. How do you describe the tone you use in your writing?

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