Welcome to the world of copywriting, where every word counts and every sentence has a purpose. As a copywriter, your primary goal is to persuade your audience to take a specific action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a service, or simply clicking a button. One of the essential tools in your arsenal is your writing voice, which can be either passive or active.
Passive voice is often characterised by its use of indirect language, where the subject of the sentence is acted upon by the verb, rather than taking an active role in the sentence. This can make your writing feel detached, impersonal, and less engaging. On the other hand, active voice puts the subject at the forefront of the sentence, making your writing more direct, powerful, and engaging.
The choice of voice you use can significantly impact the effectiveness of your copy, and understanding the differences between the two is crucial for any copywriter. In this article, we will explore the types of voices in copywriting, focusing on the key differences between passive and active voice. We’ll discuss how each can impact your writing, and when you should use one over the other.
So, whether you’re a seasoned copywriter looking to fine-tune your skills, or a beginner just starting, let’s dive into the world of passive and active voice in copywriting.
Active voice in copywriting
Active voice in copywriting is a powerful tool that puts the subject of the sentence at the forefront, making your writing more direct and engaging. When writing in the active voice, the subject performs the action, which creates a sense of momentum and energy in your writing.
For example, consider the following sentences:
Passive voice: The product was purchased by the customer.
Active voice: The customer purchased the product.
In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is the product, which is being acted upon by the customer. This can make the sentence feel impersonal and detached. However, when we switch to the active voice, the subject becomes the customer, who is now performing the action of purchasing the product. This not only makes the sentence more engaging but also puts the focus on the customer, which is where it should be in any effective copywriting.
Using active voice in copywriting has several benefits. Firstly, it makes your writing more straightforward and easier to understand. By using active voice, you remove any ambiguity in the sentence, which can help your readers better understand your message.
Secondly, active voice can help create a sense of urgency and encourage your readers to take action. By putting the subject at the forefront of the sentence, you create a sense of momentum, making it clear who is taking action and what needs to be done.
Active voice is an essential tool in any copywriter’s arsenal. By using it, you can make your writing more engaging, direct, and impactful, which can help you better connect with your audience and achieve your goals.
Passive voice in copywriting
Passive voice in copywriting is a writing style where the subject of the sentence receives the action, rather than taking an active role in the sentence. In other words, the sentence is structured in a way that the subject is acted upon by the verb, rather than performing the action themselves.
Passive voice can be recognised by the use of words like “was,” “is,” “were,” “has been,” or “will be” followed by a past participle verb. For example, “The product was purchased by the customer” is an example of a sentence in passive voice, where the subject “product” receives the action “purchased” and is not the active agent in the sentence.
Passive voice in copywriting can often make the writing feel less direct, less engaging, and less persuasive. It can create distance between the writer and the reader, making the writing less personal and less impactful. This is because the passive voice tends to obscure the agent responsible for the action, which can leave the reader feeling uncertain or disinterested.
While there may be some situations where using passive voice in copywriting is appropriate, such as when emphasising the object of the sentence rather than the subject, or when discussing actions that are not the focus of the sentence, it is generally recommended to use active voice in copywriting whenever possible. Active voice is more direct, engaging, and persuasive, and can help to establish a more personal and authoritative tone in your writing.
What are the key differences between an active and passive tone?
Active and passive voice in copywriting are two distinct writing styles that can significantly impact the effectiveness of your writing.
Here are the key differences between active and passive voice in copywriting:
- Sentence structure: The most apparent difference between active and passive voice is the structure of the sentence. In active voice, the subject is at the beginning of the sentence and performs the action, while in passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb, and the agent responsible for the action is often omitted.
- Clarity and directness: Active voice tends to be more direct and clear, making the writing more engaging and persuasive. The active voice is more straightforward, and the reader can quickly identify the action and the person or entity responsible for it. Passive voice can be less clear and less engaging, and can sometimes obscure the action or the responsible agent.
- Tone and emphasis: Active voice can help establish a more personal and authoritative tone in your writing, as the subject is taking an active role in the sentence. Passive voice can feel more distant and less engaging, as the subject is not the active agent in the sentence.
- Word count and readability: Passive voice can often lead to longer, more convoluted sentences that can be more difficult to read and understand. Active voice tends to be more concise and easier to read, making it ideal for copywriting.
To illustrate the differences between active and passive voice, consider the following examples:
Active voice: The company released a new product.
Passive voice: A new product was released by the company.
In the active voice example, the subject “company” is at the beginning of the sentence and performs the action “released,” making the sentence more direct and engaging. In the passive voice example, the subject is acted upon by the verb, and the agent responsible for the action is omitted, making the sentence feel more distant and less engaging.
Understanding the difference between active and passive voice in copywriting is essential for any writer who wants to create engaging, persuasive content. By using active voice, you can make your writing more direct, engaging, and personal, while passive voice can often make your writing feel less engaging and less persuasive.
When writing copy, it is essential to keep in mind the purpose of your writing and the intended audience. In some cases, using passive voice may be more appropriate, such as when emphasising the object of the sentence rather than the subject or when discussing actions that are not the focus of the sentence. However, for most copywriting purposes, using active voice is recommended.
By using active voice in your writing, you can make your copy more powerful and more effective. You can establish a more personal and authoritative tone, make your writing more concise and easier to read, and ultimately persuade your audience to take the desired action.
So, whether you’re a seasoned copywriter or just starting, understanding the difference between active and passive voice is crucial for creating compelling, persuasive content. With these tools at your disposal, you can create copy that engages, persuades, and converts.
Read our previous article on Psychology in Marketing: https://scribespace.ai/psychology-in-marketing-and-how-it-affects-consumer-behaviour/
Watch this video on how psychology influences buyer’s decisions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB4o0tRjAw8