Finding the right tone of voice for your brand isn’t easy. It takes time to decide how your brand is going to engage people, both online and in person. No company has begun typing in the exact tone of voice they expect to represent their company for years to come.
The first step of creating your tone of voice is to understand that it takes time. Once you’ve accepted there’s no quick fix, you’ll be able to begin. As long as you continue to build on the tone as you go along you’ll eventually create a voice that fits your brand perfectly.
What Is It?
‘Tone of voice’ is bordering on a buzzword, which means many avoid it like the plague. Simply put, it’s how your brand interacts with people. The language and vocabulary used determines how you’ll be seen by others, which is a big deal for your marketing strategy.
Why It’s Important
The tone of voice is a key component of building an honest and loyal relationship with customers. Readers engage with values if they’re explained the right way (and as long as they agree with them).
For example, you might be an environmentally-friendly focused company, changing the world one piece of a litter at a time. If this is the case, it’s unlikely that you’ll be using strictly informative and stifling language, as it doesn’t exactly invite people to engage in an open conversation.
Looking at your businesses’ mission is a great place to start when you’re ready to create your tone of voice. You should have designed a business plan when forming your company, outlining what you intend to achieve and what your brand’s values are.
This outline will form the foundation of your brand’s tone of voice. This is what you want to tell your customers. Choosing the language and vocabulary is how you tell your customers about your values. By recognising these values you’ll be able to create a voice that is appropriate and relevant to your target audience.
The next step to creating your tone of voice is to think like your customers. What are their interests? What do they engage with? Do they have similar professions? Where do they spend their spare time? Once you’ve started asking these questions you’ll be able to really get into the nitty gritty. Knowing your audience is half the job of marketing and once you have the details you can begin targeting.
From this information you can decide how formal or chatty you need to be. Shared content often evokes an emotion in the reader, and comical posts are some of the most shared on the internet, which is worth bearing in mind when you’re creating your tone.
Explaining Tone of Voice
Once you’ve decided what your tone of voice is, you need to explain it to employees so they are able to convey it when they perform daily tasks and interact with the public. It can be difficult to explain how you want your brand to be communicated, but one system that works particularly well is the Goldilocks rule.
Following the too hot, too cold, just right theme, you’ll be able to show exactly where on the scale your brand lies. One example that’s worth looking at is the University of Leeds, who have an extensive guide on their tone of voice. In it, they explain both what their brand is and what it isn’t.
This system allows employees to see exactly what they should be saying and how it will come across to customers. Have a go at writing out what you want your brand to be and what you don’t want it to be – you might discover how your tone of voice will sound.
The most difficult part of a brand’s tone of voice isn’t creating it, it’s keeping it. A tone of voice that’s inconsistent won’t build up a loyal customer base, it will contradict itself and confuse readers. Having a joke one minute and then you’re launching into the particulars of your mission the next will be sure to throw off your customers.
Keep it consistent by keeping notes of your brand’s tone of voice around. With regular prompts and editing you will be able to convey a consistent tone.
Have you figured out your brand tone of voice? Drop us a comment below with your tips and tricks!