Conveying your ideas to an audience is challenging enough, but trying to do so in a specific, consistent brand voice and tone that speaks to your business is even more difficult. In a way, presenting information on your website is like presenting your business to a live audience. Your message needs to be cohesive, consistent, and create a connection, or you start to lose their interest.
With your business or brand, your voice and tone with any written copy online needs to be treated the same, with language that can engage readers and encourage them to interact, whether it’s purchasing your products or services, engaging with your social media, and more. You need to portray your brand in a way that ignites the same electricity and passion around your business that you feel for it so the audience is excited to buy in and invest in your offerings. Unfortunately, if you haven’t paid enough attention to your brand voice and tone, there could be a huge gap between how you and your audience see your business.
How can you close that gap? How can you communicate and showcase your brand in a way that doesn’t lose the message? The simple answer: establish your brand’s voice and tone.
What Exactly are Brand Voice and Tone, and Why are They Important?
When it comes to voice and tone, it’s easy to understand what that means when speaking, but how do you convey those same intentions via the written word? Understanding your voice is essentially saying how you would portray your personality to your audience. It also takes into account the language you choose – casual, informative, professional, etc. – and even the point of view you want to take – using “we,” “you,” or maybe something more impersonal.
Whatever you choose, you want to allow your audience to feel connected to not only your business but to the human(s) behind it. Finding the right voice for your brand or business comes down to two things: understanding your business and understanding the audience. A consistent voice and tone will also help your business maintain a professional online presence as an authentic, knowledgeable authority on your topic or industry.
Understanding Your Business
Yes, you know your business inside and out, but how would you describe it to someone who has never heard of it and possibly knows little about your industry? Is it a formal, no-frills law firm? Is it a down-to-earth, family-owned roofing company? Are you a bright, friendly pilates instructor? Who you are and the personality of your business should be reflected in your branding. The right voice means it’s easier for your audience to understand your point of view for a better chance at connecting what you have to say.
Understanding Your Audience
How much do you really know about your audience? You may be the tough and formal law firm, but if your target audience is construction workers hurt on the job, the approach you take with your language should be different than if you were trying to talk to CEOs seeking legal advice on contract negotiations. These two audiences would require different types of language based on what makes the most personal connection with each.
The Difference Between Voice and Tone
When it comes to voice and tone, you can’t have one without the other. However, despite the way they intertwine, they do differ slightly. Think of it this way; if the voice is the personality, the tone is the mood. When you’re conveying your message, you need to ask yourself how you as the author are feeling about the message and how the audience may feel while reading it. The tone is how you would play into the different emotional angles of your audience. Begin with your audience’s perspective, then adjust your mood – or tone – to meet theirs.
For example, if you’re a roofer who is helping people rebuild after a terrible storm, you might imagine that your audience is stressed and concerned. Their home is important to them and now their roof is torn up, leaking water all over their family’s belongings. Memories are getting destroyed, and they’re turning to you for help. Imagining all of this, how might you speak to these customers? What’s the mood they need to be met with? Perhaps a comforting authority that is reassuring, letting them know they’re in good hands. Maybe an urgency, ensuring the customers that you are going to fix their roof quickly, helping them return to their normal, everyday activities.
The tone of your copy needs to match the message just as much as the voice, otherwise it’s going to read as strange or wrong to the audience. If your audience is approaching you, concerned about the state of their roof, for instance, and you’re interjecting your copy with jokes and humor, chances are your audience will be offended that you’re not taking their problems seriously. That’s the power of tone and why it’s so important to find one that’s true to your message.
Keep in mind that your tone can be a bit more flexible than your voice. Your personality (or voice) will typically remain the same all the time. However, your tone can vary depending on where you’re living. For example, the tone or mood of a blog or social media post will be more relaxed than how your content is presented in a case study of your work on the website.
Tips for Establishing Your Brand’s Voice and Tone
Now that you know a little bit more about what exactly voice and tone are, it’s time to start thinking about the best approach to determining what yours should be for your business. Taking the time to establish a brand voice and tone means that you’ll always have this as a shareable guideline, whether you have a new copywriter on your team or you’re looking to outsource any content projects.
Identify Your Target Audience with Personas
Digital marketing personas are fictional representations of your target audience. This may include things like their ages, geographic locations, education levels, needs, and more. These personas need to be as specific as possible. You can create a single one that would essentially represent the full target audience, or you can create several personas that you are trying to appeal to at once. You can even think about what kinds of hobbies these fictional personas are into, helping to flesh out the types of individuals you are targeting.
Once your target audience personas are created, you can begin thinking about how you could effectively communicate with them, keeping in mind the type of personality, language, and tone they would most likely connect with.
Clarify Your Brand’s Mission
Every business should have a clear mission statement which would ideally be established prior to publishing any website. However, if you’ve been redirecting your brand, you may need to reevaluate your brand’s mission, as well. Be cautious of changing around your mission too frequently, though, as this could give the impression to customers that you aren’t invested in your customers and it may even end up damaging your reputation. Once you establish the true mission and values of your business, those should be reflected in your content across the board, using carefully chosen words that align with the message.
Implementing Brand Voice and Tone
Okay, so you’ve got our brand voice and tone nailed down; it’s time to put it into practice. There are several things you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes time to finally implement your brand voice and tone.
Make Brand Cohesion and Consistency a Priority
Staying consistent and cohesive ensures your copy and content will not clash, scaring your audience away from your brand. In order to maintain consistency, you need to portray authenticity. Being authentic requires the ability to deeply empathize with the audience personas you are targeting. Creating a website, blog, and social media presence that is cohesive and consistent will also help you establish trust with your audience as you become a reliable source.
Invest in a Good Copywriter
Let’s be real; words are hard. While it may seem like a simple task to craft a copy for your business, doing so in a way that captures the right voice and tone is another story. There’s no perfect system for achieving the best copy, and it’s a skill that takes years of practice to perfectly hone the necessary copywriting skills to convey ideas with the right choice of words. This is why it can be extremely beneficial to have an experienced copywriter as part of your marketing team.
An experienced copywriter can take your company’s vision and values and present them in a way your audience will connect with them. If you are something of a writer and don’t wish to give up that creative control entirely, a great copywriter can also serve as an editor, offering an outside perspective and offering suggestions on how your writing and messaging can be strengthened. They can also offer the connection your audience needs to feel in order to reach a level of engagement that motivates them to contact your team, buy your product, or invest in your services. The most demanding part of copywriting is writing in a voice that fits your target audience as it requires stepping into another person’s shoes.
Anyone can put words on a page and outline a general idea, but it’s with the help of a copywriter that your ideas can be transformed into meaningful results.
Discover how the copywriting team at Timmermann Group can develop the voice & tone of your business!
Get Help Establishing the Voice and Tone for Your Business
Copywriting with voice and tone is conveying not just information, but human emotions like trust, respect, and passion. Whether you need help establishing this for your business, or you are struggling to write a copy that accurately reflects your message, contact the team at Timmermann Group. Not only will our copywriters develop a proper voice and tone for your business content, but they will also personally ensure you receive copy that makes a true connection with your audience.