Victoria Lowry

Victoria Lowry is a writer from Daphne, Alabama. She has a degree in Management and Supervision Technology and owns her own business. Victoria considers writing to be a vital fusion of creativity and entrepreneurship and is excited to bring her perspective to the Trojan Digital Review.

A Trendless Strategy for Engagement: Writing for Parasocial Interaction

Big brands thrive online. However, in a digital world run by social platforms and search engines that are constantly altering the way their algorithms prioritize content, it can be difficult for a small business owner to have the resources to keep up with the latest SEO (search-engine-optimization) or other organic promotion strategies. This makes it difficult to compete with large brands that can afford paid strategists and advertising specialists to keep their content at the top of the algorithmic food chain–where conversion and sales are the easiest. 

Luckily, some aspects of content creation are timeless. Good stories create connection, connection creates loyalty, and loyalty creates sales. Even tiny brands can leverage this storytelling skill to generate parasocial relationships with their followers, which makes online selling less like shouting into a crowded town square and more like chatting with some friends at a party. 

What is Parasocial Interaction?

Parasocial interaction, named by Donald Horton and Richard Wohl, is the illusion of a face-to-face relationship created by celebrities, influencers, and brands. It is one-sided, with the audience being more connected to the Persona (content creator) than vice-versa. Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, Rachel Hollis, Kanye West: these are all Personas created to facilitate a marketing experience to consumers. Note that they all have very different niches and appeal to very different types of “followers,” but the end result is the same: their word carries weight with certain ideas, products, and trends; I chose these specific Personas because they have received significant backlash from people who do not follow them which has not affected their success in their niche. Parasocial relationships are more powerful than traditional marketing strategies because they are built to prioritize engagement rather than other metrics like sales conversion.

Is Parasocial Marketing Ethical? 

It might seem like creating content focused on building this parasocial relationship with consumers is a slimy thing to do business. However, the research shows that these relationships are not a source of manipulation for lonely or otherwise vulnerable people–humans are simply wired to connect, and they enjoy parasocial relationships for the benefit that they provide in an increasingly isolated and insulated world. 

The reality is that your consumer already craves interaction with the brands they like, and by facilitating that connection you are finally meeting that need.

How to Write for Parasocial Engagement

When writing with the goal of creating parasocial interactions, consider these important and timeless strategies to increase the likelihood of success. 

What to Include

Jose Gallegos writes that the most successful parasocial marketing “transfer[s] cultural meanings and values onto a product.” When you’re aiming to successfully make this transfer, here’s what you should be sure to do:

  • Become your audience’s idealized alter-ego. Wohl and Horton’s research indicates that successful parasocial interactions occur when the audience is able to project their own ideals onto the brand. This is why the disconnect occurs when the real person is unable to remain in their audience’s eye as the Persona–which is why so many people have stories of their favorite celebrity being a “jerk” in real life. Because your brand can’t actually ever be a human person, this is great news for marketers.
  • Speak directly to your audience. In order to build the illusion of a relationship, writers must engage their audience as though their work is actually part of a larger discussion. This creates space in the audience’s mind for them to respond to the content.
  • Mingle. Your brand must engage with its audience wherever they are if it hopes to build a relationship of any kind. This can be as simple as responding to comments or as complex as creating live content that invites real-time audience participation, but it simply is not a negotiable aspect of creating a valuable brand Persona.
  • Become a part of your audience’s daily life. Regular digital publishing is necessary. Your brand Persona must give the appearance of inhabiting the digital space and perpetually acting and reacting to its environment. A great rule of thumb: if you talk to your best friend more than your Persona talks to its audience, then you need to create and publish more content. 
  • Tell well-constructed stories that feel authentic. There are no shortage of guides on how to write for general reader engagement – like this one from – and you should always start writing with these tips in mind. As a discipline, writing has a high level of research and development, and the principles of good writing rarely shift by large degrees. Additionally, this content is what your consumer is looking for. Gallegos notes that consumers “crave stories, they crave connection, and they crave interaction with other humans, with real people (a byproduct, perhaps, of the increasing amount of time we spend in front of a computer screen?).” A content creator who is trained in traditional writing has the advantage of being able to craft authentic-feeling stories without relying on user-generated content, which can be expensive and time-consuming to acquire. 

What to Avoid

Australian videogame publication Doublejump has a great writeup on one of the worst attempts at leveraging parasocial relationships in our times. Videogame company Riot Games created an imaginary Persona named Seraphine to market a virtual product in their League of Legends videogame which received harsh criticism from its community. Here’s what you can learn from their mistake. Make sure that you don’t: 

  • Hide your intentions from your audience. Your followers are both smarter and more resilient than you think. Attempting to hide your desire to monetize your online presence is the quickest way to feel inauthentic and turn potential consumers away from your product.
  • Be too aggressive or coercive. Again, your audience gets it. You don’t have to manipulate them into purchasing from you; if you provide enough value, they will be eager to invest in your relationship.
  • Sell out your loyal following for short-term gain. Your Persona’s reputation is invaluable to your brand. Never make the mistake of seeking quick monetization by devaluing your Persona’s value as a historical source of positive consumer interaction. You can court all the controversy from outside of your audience that you want, but creating negative interactions within your parasocial following is a great way to lose consumer trust. 


Digital publishing is increasingly the primary way that businesses interact with their consumers. For small and micro-businesses to survive, they have to know how to understand their analytics, define their voice, create cost- and energy-efficient content, and create consumer relationships that don’t rely on the latest marketing tips and tricks. The best way to monetize digital content is to create a parasocial Persona for followers to connect with, value, and ultimately trust. 

The best brands live online. Does yours?

How To Make Your Digital Content’s Voice Match Your Brand

You have seven seconds to make a first impression and even less time on the web. Digitally published content is most potential clients’ first interaction with your business, and how they perceive your brand is going to affect whether they choose to spend money with you. Understanding which Voice and Tones are appropriate for your niche will go a long way in fostering trust and encouraging sales. Additionally, formalizing your brand’s voice and tone will give you the freedom to delegate content creation to a lower-level or offsite employee.

Matching Your Business Voice with Your Brand

Think of your brand’s digital content as communication with your consumer via a virtual human voice. CoSchedule notes that brand Voice is the combination of word choice, personality, and phrasing your brand uses to communicate with consumers; it is “consistent and unchanging.” It is crucial to create the impression that your business is participating in a dialogue with the consumer rather than merely talking at them. To figure out what your target customer wants to talk about, you will need to have studied your analytics and clarified your brand’s unique value in the market (AI can help you generate this statement if you get stuck!). Armed with this information, you can choose a Voice that is appropriate and engaging. Within that Voice, you can choose Tones that suit your brand’s personality and may address the full spectrum of business-related communication concerns.

Defining your Business Voice

Your brand can – and, often, should – choose a blended voice. Your brand’s “personality” should ideally be driven by data, but many marketing sites offer brand personality quizzes that can get you started with keywords. This unique blend of identifiers is what will help you stand out and maintain your position as a thought leader in your industry. Once you’ve narrowed this list down to a few adjectives, you can use the Content Marketing Institute’s Voice Chart to flesh out your brand’s voice:


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Choosing Appropriate Tones

Tone is the inflection of your brand’s Voice in context. CoSchedule notes that tone “adjusts to what’s suitable for a particular piece or message.” Your subtext is going to communicate your brand’s identity whether your consumer is messaging with a customer service chatbot or reading an article from your company website, but exactly how it does so should differ. From vocabulary to phrasing to punctuation, there are no limits to the subtle nuances of your brand’s tone. So, how do you know how to adjust the tone of your voice for each message you need to craft? Like so many things, it comes down to knowing your audience.

Start with the basics: is it more in-line with your brand’s Voice to use formal or informal Tones when speaking to its audience? Is your brand approaching conversations with its consumers from a place of superiority or sameness? How does your brand address a concern without igniting further tensions? Even a quirky, casual brand will want to respond to allegations of racial insensitivity from a place of respect and seriousness, for example. AI content production company Acrolinx offers a definitive guide to the tonal choices your brand should navigate, including education level of your audience, intended emotional response, and immediate impact on the consumer.

How to Formalize Your Voice and Tone

Because Voice and Tone differ for every person, and sometimes for every kind of business, they should be established and formalized early in the development of your website and content strategy. By following the Voice and Tone establishment techniques in this article, you will eventually be able to compile a data-driven resource like Mailchimp’s Content Style Guide. Realistically, compiling a few writing samples covering various content concerns will be enough to get your brand’s content speaking from an impactful and unified perspective—even if you outsource the content creation itself.


Making sure your brand’s voice is consistent across all marketing channels is a crucial element in successful marketing. As an owner, you need to be the expert on the way your digitally published content is communicating with consumers. With a professional approach to content writing, you can harness the power of your brand and drive significant business growth.

AI Copywriting: A Solution for Small Business

Maintaining an aggressive digital presence requires powerful and focused advertising copy. A business needs to provide a clear and consistent message on all its digital channels to advance in the marketplace. Finding and hiring an adequate copywriter can cost a small or micro-business owner substantial time and money—a combination that is finite and already in high demand.  

AI copywriting services may provide an answer. These programs can do things like writing ad copy, editing website content, and creating mail campaigns. Artificial Intelligence cannot take the writing task completely off a business owner’s plate, but it could help save energy and resources.  

How AI Copywriting is Changing the Marketing Landscape 

Good copywriting traditionally depended on the work of trained marketing experts. These specialists command salaries that are usually out-of-reach for the small and micro-business owner’s advertising budget. Luckily, AI is making small businesses more competitive by offering low-cost copy generation. A Smart Insights article notes that AI “writers” are currently sophisticated enough to avoid readers’ detection and boost conversion. Business owners can trust this proven level of AI competency when using copywriting software.  

Using AI-generated Templates 

Software like copy.aiarticoolo, Writesonic, and Copysmith can turn a vague idea into marketable copy. Even better, the absolute beginner can make use of these writing programs. Templates can take a user from developing a product description, to isolating keywords for search engine optimization, and onward to writing a listicle including a recommendation for that exact product. According to a Forbes article, the creative director for eBay even described one of these programs as being “to copywriting what Photoshop is to designers.” A more timely comparison might be to Canva –the accessible graphic design program that comes stocked with thousands of editable templates.  

As an example, I wrote the following description for an imaginary one-person consulting agency called Russo Results:  

I research and write articles to introduce small and micro-business owners to time and  money-saving technology that can make their marketing strategies more aggressive.  

-input into AI software

By filtering that poorly written sentence through template generators in three different programs, I was able to derive the following unique value proposition (written by AI but compiled from many templates by me):  

I’m a solo entrepreneur, so I know you have limited marketing resources.  

1. I’m a self-employed hairstylist and salon web marketing manager. I also run my  consulting service, Russo Results, to help small business owners save time and money  with proven marketing strategies.  

2. I’m a researcher, not a saleswoman. I work to give owners actionable advice based on  my analysis of their challenges and needs.  

3. I’m affordable. That’s right; my services won’t break the bank for your business’s  marketing budget.  

AI-generated copy

This proposition is far more potent than the vague description I provided. The AI synthesized my meaning and offered complete and confident copy that would be useable as written.  

What’s the Catch?  

Unfortunately, no single AI copywriter could take my idea from start to finish. Instead, I had to: 

  1. input my example sentence into’s brand mission generator,  
  1. then put that brand mission into Writesonic’s keyword extractor,  
  1. then finally into Copysmith’s unique value proposition generator.  

The process only took about five minutes. Still, it required access to all three programs and the ability to filter between the many templates each process generated. These programs still need a small-business owner to have both the financial resources to subscribe in the first place plus the writing and marketing background to optimize their results. By selecting a weaker option at any level of content generation, we go from the copy shown above to this – much more anemic – output:  

I’m Hope Russo, call me at [XXX] XXX-XXXX.  

1. I offer affordable marketing strategies for small business owners.  

2. Whether you need a fresh marketing strategy or a marketing makeover, I look forward  to helping your business succeed!  

AI-generated Copy

The first unique value proposition illustrated confidence, skill, and an awareness of consumer pain points. By contrast, this copy is vague, unpolished, and dull. Successful composition still depends on human judgment, making the value of business investment into AI copywriting software dependent on the user’s competency.  

Emerging tech startups such as Joshua Wong’s Hypotenuse AI are already working to solve this problem. In an article with TechCrunch, Wong notes the failures of modern copywriting technology. Further, he suggests that his program utilizes the newest machine-learning tech to write tailored copy that matches a brand’s personality. He also teases “the possibility of the AI enabling infinitely customizable marketing copy — meaning a website could parse a visitor’s data footprint and generate dynamic product descriptions intended to appeal to that particular individual.” Should Wong realize his goals with Hypotenuse, the small business subscriber will have an incredible marketing advantage.  

Bottom Line 

AI copywriting is not a perfect solution. Still, it is a time-saving option for small and micro-business owners operating with a limited marketing budget. While the current output of these programs will still need human scrutiny, targeted copy templates can allow business owners to manage their own advertising. Future copywriting AI technology promises even more freedom for small and micro-business marketers.  

If there are writing purists who still frown on AI copywriting, it’s important to note that tech-assisted writing is not the future of the discipline; it’s the present. Writesonic AI outlined this article, Grammarly proofread it, and Hemingway edited it for clarity. 

Understanding Digital Analytics and Its Value in Digital Publishing

“Digital analytics” is one of those shadowy web terms that sounds intimidating. The truth is much more comfortable to the trained writer, who is taught from her first composition class to know and write to her audience.

What Digital Analytics Means

Analytics is simply the process of examining data and using that analysis to make future decisions. Digital Management Encyclopedia Ryte Wiki notes that digital analytics is a marketing practice used to determine whether audience targeting measures are performing as expected and how to change messaging to target specific groups in the future. For writers, this means that the audience can often be predicted in particular detail before the first outline is drafted.

The most challenging part of understanding digital analytics is breaking through the marketing industry-specific jargon. Nabeena Mali created an excellent guide for newcomers, explaining key acronyms like CTR (click-thru rate) and CRO (conversion rate optimization). Understanding these terms helps writers find out exactly why and where their content may be failing to execute the desired goal–whether that be sales, audience building, or inspiring action. When that information is available, writers are able to target their future writing in order to reach a better ROI (return on investment).

How to Use Analytics in Digital Publishing

An understanding of analytics is helpful to writers in any digital publishing sphere. In an interview with community manager Molly Buccini, advertising content writer John King notes that developing an understanding of analytics led him to understand “what turns an excellent blog post into a solid marketing tool.” Likewise, technical writer Robert Desprez notes that analytics is essential to technical writers so that they can find out whether their content is informing the consumer and meeting his needs. In both of these situations, the writers describe a dynamic relationship between the writer and consumer. The writer’s content is shaped by what inspires the consumer to seek them out and respond to their content.

In a sense, every writer is a copywriter in the digital age. Writers must understand digital analytics because these metrics determine any product’s success or failure on the internet. The more training in analytics that a writer has, the more prepared she will be to succeed in the competitive digital publishing sphere.

How to Get Analytics Training

The most popular analytics program on the web is Google Analytics. Google offers a comprehensive Academy for training customers to use their Analytics program, ranging from the navigation of the dashboard to maximization of program benefits. Adding Google Analytics to a website is as simple as copying and pasting some code.

Even if the analytics program a writer uses is not Google Analytics, their Academy is the most comprehensive background training available and should translate well. After completing Google Academy, a writer may choose to pursue further site-specific certifications such as Facebook Blueprint and Twitter Flight School. Each of these social platforms uses unique algorithms. Writing platform-specific content with an understanding of what those algorithms value will help a writer’s digital publishing career to flourish.