Your brand’s tone of voice characterizes how it interacts with its audience and determines how they interpret your message. It helps you connect with your audience by reflecting your brand’s personality, goals, beliefs, and areas of expertise.
You probably may have heard the quote, “first impressions are the last impressions.” It applies to your brand’s website as well. First impressions are directly related to the amount of time a visitor stays on your website.
To ensure that your visitors stick around, your brand’s tone of voice should be friendly and memorable. It is how you communicate a piece of content to your audience.
The tone of voice reflects your brand’s personality. It helps in finding the correct language to connect with your audience. A good tone of voice will lead to a lower bounce rate and higher pages per session from your visitors.
To find your brand’s tone of voice, there are some guidelines you should follow:
The first step is to know who your targeted audience is and understand them. The key is to find the right language to connect with your audience.
See your customers as an individual with needs and expectations. Put yourself in this individual’s shoes and understand what they expect from your content.
Identify who your targeted audience is. Find out their age, gender, interests, etc. Discover what type of content they prefer and actively read. Understand how they communicate with one another.
Once you have done proper research, it will be easy to figure out your brand’s tone of voice.
You can also use Google Analytics to find out your visitor’s demographic information and add a little local touch in your tone of voice.
Before writing your content, you should first identify your brand’s core values. Defining your brand’s core values will help in finding your brand’s tone of voice.
To know your brand’s values, find an answer to these questions: –
After you have defined these brand values, create a mission statement. The mission statement consists of what purpose your brand serves, what difference you want to create in your society, how your brand will help people, who you are, and who you are not.
A Mission statement allows the audience to relate to your business especially if the values are shared.
Before defining your brand’s tone of voice, do an audit of your existing content and find out what your brand’s tone of voice sounds like.
Make a list of your best-selling articles and identify what is your brand’s tone of voice currently and what brand values from the mission statement it consists of.
Understand what your brand’s tone of voice sounds like currently and get closer to the way you want to sound.
After doing proper research, you can proceed with defining your brand’s tone of voice. Group all the data and identify what you sound like and what you want to sound like.
Define the tone of voice according to the data and develop content accordingly.
Here are the characteristics of a list of the tone of voice: –
Humor is a great way to attract the audience’s attention. It adds to the playful nature of an article and enhances memory recall. But overusing humor in the content will invite negative feedback from the audience and leave the impression of a lack of seriousness and unprofessionalism.
A serious tone will help in achieving trust and credibility for your website. But overusing a serious tone also has consequences. Seriousness will make the article tense to read for the audience, and they will get bored quickly.
Choosing between a funny and serious tone depends on the type of business and your preferences. Humor should not get in the way of communication with your audience. You can also combine these tones.
There are times when you should add humor and times when you should add seriousness in the article.
Choosing your tone of formality has a big impact on how your customers see your brand.
Choosing a formal tone will make you appear more professional and authoritative. But using a formal tone will make customers feel that you are not connecting with them on a personal level and make you seem impersonal.
Choosing a casual tone will create a sense of friendliness and personality. Being too casual will make you seem unprofessional or inexperienced.
Choosing between these tones depends on your preferences and the type of brand. If you want to use both these tones, make sure the tone fits the context or it will backfire.
Using respectful language will give a feeling of friendliness and personality. Overusing this tone at inappropriate times will make it seem like you are using this language to please your audience so that they buy your product or service.
Using irreverent language will make your brand seem strong, confident and give a feeling of supremacy over your competitors. However, this tone might offend readers.
Using an enthusiastic tone will give a sense of friendliness and helpfulness. Overusing this tone might bore or irritate a reader.
Using a matter-of-fact tone means portraying information in a straightforward and unemotional way. It gives a feeling of honesty and simplicity. Overusing the tone in the wrong context may give a feeling of lack of personalization and indifference.
After choosing your tone of voice, you can select a specific list of tones like playful, quirky, sarcastic, etc. This will give you an idea of how you want to sound to your readers and choose a specific tone that will define how your customers will see your brand.
Every brand needs a tone of voice that is appealing to its targeted audience. Sometimes, while writing articles, the brand’s voice changes, and there is no consistency no matter how many people are involved in content creation.
Therefore, a specific brand voice style guide is needed so that your company’s style remains constant. It is a set of guidelines that defines a company’s personality and style. It makes your brand voice easier to use in content creation.
With a style guide in hand, a content writer will produce content with the right tone and according to the company’s preferences.
A brand’s voice style guide also serves as a valuable feedback tool. When a content writer does not include the right tone in his content, you can easily refer him to the guidelines mentioned in the style guide.
Depending on how big your company or standards are, a style guide’s length varies. It can just be a single page or two or more than 100 pages. Here is a list of common style guide sections:
Include the purpose of your brand’s voice and what it aims to accomplish. State several goals and explain how the brand voice will affect their work.
This section is an introduction of the style guide to the readers.
Your brand’s voice is very important so that your content does not misrepresent your brand’s personality and values. Without a clear voice, the content will become inconsistent and will not reflect a brand’s style.
Therefore, a voice section is a must in voice style guides. Explain how your company communicates and give links to the top-selling articles on your website for reference.
Show the reader what are the top qualities the content should reflect. For example – visionary, friendly, practical, etc. Include the qualities of your brand that you want others to see.
Tell your readers how to achieve these qualities by giving specific guidelines for each quality.
Include information about your targeted audience. What language they use to communicate with, their age, gender, job title, etc.
Show details of your buyer’s person as it shows the reason behind your brand voice. Give as many details as possible about your audience. Include their needs, expectations, and problems to ensure that effective content is produced.
When your audience feels understood by your brand, your content is most likely to sell and earn maximum shares from the readers.
Include a content strategy so that the reader knows the “why” of content. Include goals for the next months or so and ask the readers to develop content accordingly.
Provide clear direction and purpose of content so that effective content is produced. Regularly update this section according to the change in strategy and completion of a goal.
Every content writer has a different writing and grammatical style. Give grammar and spelling preferences in the guide so that every writer produces content with the same grammatical style.
The content writers should stay on the same page.