Do you remember learning about the first person, second person, and third person narrative points of view (POV) in school? In this age of terse email and mobile text communication, this differentiation in writing style is often lost. However, for a digital content writer, the use of the right POV is incredibly important for ensuring that the content is attention grabbing, plausible, and engaging. Understanding the different narrative point of views
Here is a quick look at the various writing narratives and choosing the best POV as per the type of web content.
1. First person point of view: The first person POV is from the narrator’s or the writer’s point of view. The pronouns ‘I, my, we, our and me’ express the first-person point of view.
There are several advantages of writing web content in the first person point of view.
- It humanizes your content, often helping you connect with your readers on an emotional level.
- It allows for an openness that is unachievable while writing in second person or third person POVs.
- First person POV instills authority. Individuals who are a voice of authority in their industries extensively use the first person of view to share their knowledge.
- It makes the content sound honest.
2. Second Person Point of View Second person point of view is when you are speaking directly to the reader. You address them as ‘you, your, and yours’. Use of second person narrative is common in web content, and in particular in writing attention grabbing article headlines. The second person point of view also comes in handy when you are writing instructional manuals or product reviews.
With second person it is easier to persuade the reader to take action, and appeal to their emotions . This is especially significant when you pitch a product, service or social cause. However, when writing in the second person narrative be careful that the content does not sound patronizing or like a ‘hard-sell’ pitch.
3. The Third Person Point of View The third person point of view is less popular in web content writing. It is when you do not directly refer to the reader, and instead use ‘he, she and it’ in reference people and things. The third person point of view commands a formality that is not present in first and second points of view. However, you risk alienating your readers with the third-person narrative .
Example of the same sentence, different narrative
First person – As a first-time user, I found the manual helpful.
Second person – If you are a first-time user, you will find the manual helpful.
Third person: Most first-time users will find the manual helpful.
As an internet freelance writer myself, writing in the second person narrative has become the most natural way to write and appeal to the audience. However, a second person POV is not always the best fit.
Blogs: The aim of a business blog is to share information with the reader and start a conversation. The most effective way to do this is to ‘speak’ to them directly, which is through second person narrative.
Website and marketing communications: For any business campaign to be a success, the content has to connect with the target audience. This means appealing to their emotions and own experiences, and you can do that in second person POV.
Press releases (PR): A press release is an unbiased reporting of an event or business development. The third-person POV renders the objectivity needed for a PR. A second person narrative would not be apt for a PR.