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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

writer's perspective

 2:22 am on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've hired a travel writer to develop content. She's an author of a couple of books on the subject and it looks promising. She's sent me a draft of the first article and she's written it in the first person. Though I haven't used the first person perspective before, I kind of like it. The style fits a travel site very well, adds a personal touch.

Here's where I thought I'd "bring it to the board." She and her husband travel together and she often makes references like "my husband and I visited the antique stores." I'm undecided as to whether I want her to be referencing her husband. On one hand, I like it ...very warm. On the other hand, the singular "I" may connect with the reader better, as it doesn't project gender. Before I bias the board any further, I'll put out the question;
For a travel guide site, what say ye? Is she an I or a We?



 5:40 am on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think this depends on your audience. And your audience depends on the travel destination, to some extent. If it's a club-bed kind of resort that caters to singles, then use the first person. If it's a family type vacation, then use the second person.


 2:33 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

  • female
  • works
  • is family decision-maker or "recommender"
  • 35-55 yrs old
  • some college education
  • middle-class income
  • probably caucasian
  • has kids in grammar school and high school
  • has a dog
  • likes outdoor stuff, but not too extreme
  • lives in the mid-Atlantic states
  • loves the water, even if its just looking at it

She is researching a family vacation or the location of a likely job transfer.


 3:03 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd go with "I". Its more personal, more emotional appeal. Since your target audience is female, I think it should work better. Also since there are references to hubby, the writer is clearly female, and there will be some unconcious identification going on. Bonus!


 3:32 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Since first posting this, I've presented the issue to others that have long-term familiarity with the project. Like me, they sense that the choice of a more personal "voice" -as Marcia calls it- could be a pivotal event in our strategy.

> since there are references to hubby, the writer is clearly female, and there will be some unconcious identification going on. Bonus!

Yes, I agree. But will it play well with the 40% of visitors who are male? Or those that aren't married? If we have a bio page for the author, most of our visitors will never go to read it and they will identify with the "I" as being of their own gender.


 3:58 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Would the more formal "we" go down well with the 60% who are female?

Don't worry about the bio page - noone needs to read it. References to a husband will mark the writer as female at the subconcious level. Even people who don't conciously realise it, will get it

Those who aren't married, aren't planning a family holiday - they may fall outside of your target area anyway

For family hols, you want to project a nice warm fuzzy feeling - give 'em the impression of a caring, family sort of place. Use "I"


 6:52 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

RC - I am ‘almost’ your average visitor and I find the ‘I’ very appealing, particularly with regards to planning a family holiday. If your writer throws in ideas about vacationing at that particular spot with three kids, each 8 years apart in age, even better. ;)

On a side note have you looked into the travelogue category of ODP [dmoz.org]? This approach ‘could’ open your site up to new marketing opportunities. I think it becomes a case of whether you want to promote her personality as an accent to what you are doing already. It could be very interesting and if she’s a really good writer you can supplement her personalized commentaries with the nuts and bolts writing as well.


 10:40 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think you're being obsessive. :-) Let her do what she thinks works best--you hired her for her expertise, and she's writing editorial content (well, maybe advertorial content), not ad copy.

FWIW, I've written books, magazine articles, Web content, and advertising, and I've always had far more "editorial input" from advertising clients than from editors. I've often wondered how much money companies would save (and ad agencies would lose in hourly revenues) if advertising clients had as much faith in writers as editors do. :-)


 11:45 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors, I don't think it's a trust issue but more an issue of what direction you want your site to take, with regards to the presentation of content. I believe the clearer RC is with regards to this issue, the clearer his copywriter will be and that can only be a good thing.

Once she's on track with how he wants things to flow I'm sure there will be less need to direct.

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