Your language has the ability to make meaningful relationships & build connections but it’s equally able to create barriers & can impact someone’s sense of belonging in today's modern world of social media.
Using inclusive language means people are more likely to feel like they belong & can be their authentic selves online. Below, we’ll explore what inclusive language is & provide examples to make sure you can create inclusive marketing material for 2022 & beyond.
So, what is inclusive language?
Inclusive language is the words & phrases you use which may discriminate against groups of people based on race, gender, age & ability. You can be more personable by writing in ways that everyone understands & makes everyone feel welcome.
Hannah Fleishman from HubSpot has stated that "Language has a big impact on our sense of belonging in the workplace. The challenge is, language is nuanced. The changes we should consider making to how we talk & write are often subtle.'
Think about the last time you were in a group & someone said, "Okay, guys, let's do this", do you think that made females feel a little less-welcomed than their male peers? Would it have been better if he'd said "everyone" or "folks"?
Try not to solely present the privileged, tech-savvy, wealthy, able-bodied, white, cisgendered, anglo-centric male experience as 'standard' & everything else as 'other' or 'diverse.' Try and find ways to place the 'other' in the center of things instead.
If you're inclined to monitor your communications online & if they're exclusive to certain groups, you can look at resources & tools online. For example, I often use a program called Textio which is a writing tool that identifies whether you're using gendered language in your writing or words with a strong feminine or masculine association. This can be so helpful for email writing, campaign planning, social posting and even blogging!
If this all sounds like a lot of work to you, it's important to note, this isn't just about creating a more inclusive environment online. It's also critical for your company if you plan to expand your services to other countries in the future to really understand other peoples cultures & norms..
For some, writing inclusively may feel like a restrictive set of rules, hindering instead of helping. In reality, it's just the opposite! Inclusivity opens up & amplifies your message to more people, making your blog post, social media post or website copy more accessible than ever before.
How do you feel about inclusivity? Do you think the online word is inclusive? Will you be writing more inclusively now? Let me know your thoughts!