The “We” Pattern Giveaway

I thought I’d share today one of the insider patterns that we use to identify articles that are too promotional to accept: It’s called the “We” pattern and here’s how we identify this type of article:

An author will be giving tips or techniques to the reader as if they were talking 1:1 and all of a sudden, they will say something like this in the middle or near the top of the article: “We at boat1ship builders know how to clean boats”.

Did you see the voice change from *I, My, Me* to *We or Our* – we are suspect of the article being too promotional. It’s like the conversation just changed from a 1:1 writer/reader relationship to a team/reader relationship…which is good in sales copy, but not good in article writing for this type of site.


Edward Weiss writes:

At least they didn’t use the “royal” we:)

Comment provided October 13, 2005 at 10:37 AM


MaryAnne writes:

Chalk it up to the English teacher in me (in addition to SEO consultant, am also a college prof teaching writing), but “we” and “our” are first person, not second person. Second person is writing to the reader, using “you.” Third person is when you write objectively about “he, she and it.”

Comment provided October 13, 2005 at 3:28 PM


Mud writes:

Thanks MaryAnne for catching that… ooops, call me mud. I fixed the blog post to not refer to a voice change, but rather a 1:1 vs. multiple:1 conversation with the reader.

Hopefully this will communicate better what I was trying to say.


Comment provided October 13, 2005 at 10:05 PM


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