How to write a Tribute Notice

22 October 2018 • Online Obituaries

How to write a Tribute 

We pay tribute many times in our lives.

It might be a tribute to your personal heroes, showing your respect to somebody you admire, or celebrating an important milestone.

Tributes can be given at various occasions - think of toasts at weddings or “thank-you's” at birthdays.

Another place where we commonly hear tributes is at funerals.

And now, as the digital era takes over, online tributes have become a popular way to honour a loved one online.

If you’ve recently lost a relative or close friend, it may fall on you to deliver a tribute at an upcoming service.

A touching tribute is important - but it can also be incredibly difficult to write given the circumstances.

Read on to discover some useful tips that will help you create a meaningful, personalised, and tasteful tribute.

The purpose of online Tribute

Just like anything that occurs during a service, wake or memorial, tributes are less for the deceased and more for the living. It’s all about showing your respect and admiration for the person you are all there to honour.

Think of tributes for the deceased as a combination of celebration and mourning. On the one had, it celebrates a life well-lived - on the other, it expresses sorrow that they are gone.

We know it’s a difficult balance to strike.

Luckily, we’ve put together some pointers to put you on track. If you’re stumped with what you should include in your tribute (online or otherwise), simply read on.


The basics of writing an online tribute

There’s no formula to an effective tribute.

Just like an obituary, it all comes down to the person you’re paying tribute to and what you want to say.

That said, there are a couple of staples that are present in just about every tribute out there. If you’re short on ideas, don’t be afraid to...

  • Open with your relationship to the deceased

It may sound basic, but opening with your relationship to the deceased is as good a starting point.

Not only does it give context to your audience, but it also serves as a jumping-off point for anecdotes and stories about the deceased.

After all, the purpose of a tribute is to remember and celebrating the deceased. As the spouse, child, close friend, relative, workmate or neighbour, this gives you a lot of material to work with.

  • Describe admirable traits, qualities and achievements

Part of your online tribute can be to show your appreciation and respect for the deceased.

As such, you might like to mention the things you admired about them.

It doesn’t have to be world-changing stuff - write from the heart. You can include simple things like:

  • Personality traits

  • Their career progression

  • Causes they supported

  • Their family life

  • Overcoming personal struggles

  • Their faith and passions

  • Tell stories

Laughs, tears surprises. Each of these can trigger strong reactions in listeners and readers.

And all can be shared in an online tribute.

Stories - whether they make you laugh or cry -  can serve to highlight the deceased’s personality and reignite memories, bringing them back to life, in a way.

Time to put pen to paper: our tips for tribute-writing

So you’ve got an idea of what to include. That brings us to arguably the hardest part: writing it.

Not many of us will have much experience writing tributes for a departed relative or friend.

As such, it does mean that the act of putting pen to paper can be challenging, to say the least.

1: Use your own words, language and style of speech

When writing tributes, many of us default to a formal tone of speech - funerals and wakes are a formal occasion, after all.

Many default to specific words and phrases such as “cherished friend” and “devoted partner”.

These are powerful, emotive ways of describing the deceased. However, if this doesn’t reflect how you actually talk, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t write exactly the way you would speak.

Some even feel it makes for a more powerful tribute due to its authenticity.

In the end, the choice is always yours.

2: Don’t be afraid to abandon the traditional structure

Don’t be fooled into thinking that all tributes need to follow the exact same formula. While it’s a safe bet, it also means that your tributes don’t reflect the person you’re paying tribute to.

Say you’re paying tribute to a more conservative relative or friend. If so, the traditional approach may be more appropriate.

And if the deceased is more creative, don’t be afraid to pay tribute in a less orthodox way. For example, you may use music if it’s a spoken tribute or frame the entire tribute as a story.

3: Keep it positive, even if things weren’t peachy

We’re not saying you should airbrush the deceased’s warts - life is a series of ups and downs, and you can’t ignore the lows completely.

If your relationship was turbulent, acknowledge it, while also bringing attention towards what any common ground. Also consider bringing in other people’s experiences with the deceased to create a more comprehensive image or speaking about your regrets.

And if the deceased was troubled, focus on their struggles to overcome their troubles. While the tone should be positive, excluding the warts can be dishonest.

Tasteful, lasting online memorials

Paying tribute online can be fraught with risk.

While some social media platforms offer the ability to set up memorial pages, the fact of the matter is that these platforms aren’t great for paying tribute.

For starters, there’s the question of ads. Memorials are sacred - you don’t want garish, tasteless advertising lining the sidebar.

Moreover, a public social media page is completely open to abuse and internet trolls - the last thing you want when dealing with a recent loss.

Skymorials provides an online space where you can create online tributes.

Unlike other social media platforms, we guarantee:

  • No ads - we offer a respectful space

  • Moderation that protects you from online abuse

  • A permanent, public online tribute

  • An affordable one-off publishing fee

Click here to post an online tribute for a loved one.

Have questions? Read our FAQ to learn how we work, or contact us here with your questions.

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