Should You Choose the First, Second or Third Person for Blog Posts?

Laura Ginn

Photo by Dhilung Kirat
Photo by Dhilung Kirat

If you remember your old school English lessons, you probably already know what the first, second and third person voices are in writing. Just in case you have forgotten, though, here is a very quick recap before we get to the meat of this article:

  • The first person is when you write things from your own perspective, and you use ‘I’ or ‘we’.
  • The second person is when you directly address your reader, and you use ‘you’.
  • The third person is when you describe things without using either of these, and use ‘they’, ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘it’.

When you are thinking about writing a blog post, it is important to choose the right voice, because it actually has a big impact on the tone that you put across. All three are perfectly acceptable ways to write, but just as in fiction a writer has to pick one and stick to it or the story will become confusing, you should keep the same voice throughout your blog to make it consistent and coherent. Here are some of the things each voice is good for:

What the First Person is Best For

The first person is good if you want to create a sense that you are revealing something interesting and personal, and you want your reader to identify with you specifically. If, for example, you have a food blog, and you want the brand of the food blog to be personal and give your readers a sense that they know you and are getting recipes from a trusted friend, you may write:

‘I make these low fat turkey burgers for my family all the time, and my husband hasn’t even noticed that this is a healthy thing to eat because he thinks they taste so good!’

What the Second Person is Best For

The second person is best for when you want to instruct and inform the reader in a direct and conversational tone. Because it focuses on the reader, it engages them while putting the writer in a position of authority, offering instructions, ideas or advice. The second person is also used for any calls to action in sales or marketing copy. If you were writing the same recipe but for a food blog that wanted a more informative, instructional feel while still remaining casual and approachable, you may write:

‘You can use these low fat turkey burgers as a substitute for beef burgers when you and your family are in the mood for a burger but want a healthier option.’

What the Third Person is Best For

The third person gives a much more formal feel, and is best for things that need to be purely informative. It is good for reporting events or telling stories where the writer and the reader are not involved. If you were to write the same recipe on a very factual, educational food blag you may choose to use the third person and write something along these lines:

‘Turkey is one of the leanest meats there is, so substituting beef mince for turkey mince creates burgers that are considerably lower in fat, yet still high in protein.’

Whatever the tone you want for your blog, at Ink Elves we have professional writers who are able to match it effortlessly. Contact us today for all of your content needs!