One of the first questions I ask starting to write - whether it's a case study, training guide or even an internal email, is: "Who is this for?" We've been trained to look at what our readers' concerns are and write content that addresses those interests.
But it is important to remember that there's an exception to every rule. Take the case of Microsoft. In a recent marketing campaign, the writer focused on who they were writing for (millennials) and the purpose of the message (recruiting interns). So far so good. But what they didn't do was ask what they wanted the readers to think or feel about the email, or look at the potential impact of their writing style. Unfortunately, instead of engaging readers in a friendly informal way, the email came across as awkward, patronising mimicry.
In the age of social media, it's more important than ever to be read as authentic. So as marketers wanting to engage our audience, and hoping they sign up to our campaign rather than delete the email, we should choose our voice with care.
Microsoft’s latest attempt to recruit the next generation of engineering talent has backfired, as its rather awkward attempts at ‘Millennial speak’ have been roundly mocked on social media. The email went viral after it was shared by Twitter user Patrick Burtchaell, who said his room mate received an email from Microsoft to the upcoming Internapalooza, an annual event for Silicon Valley interns. In a bizarre effort to look hip, Microsoft promised “dranks,” “noms” and other buzzwords at a party for “bae interns.” In millennial speak, ‘Bae’ is a term of enderment, often used for boyfriends and girlfriends, rather than prospective employees. The email concludeed with the even more cringeworthy line: “HELL YES TO GETTING LIT ON A MONDAY NIGHT”, which would mean that the company approves of everyone getting drunk on a work day.