The moment you commit to a brand tone of voice, you instantly humanize a brand. Tone — which describes the way you write or speak with others — adds authenticity to every marketing message and helps consumers connect with a brand.
For agencies, the importance of tone of voice comes down to two key benefits: helping clients distinguish themselves and get the right message across. As you write content for your client, keeping your tone consistent can help you build a stronger brand. Here’s what you need to know about improving tone of voice.
How to Keep a Consistent Brand Tone of Voice
If customers love the upbeat content on your client’s social media pages, an apathetic tone on your website may throw them off. It’s like seeing someone you love become a different person, right before your eyes. Even when a brand has multiple marketing channels, they’re all part of one complete experience, so you need to keep them aligned.
Consistent brand tone of voice is key to building long-term relationships with your clients. It fosters trust, recognition, and connection — which you certainly don’t want to break.
Here are four tips to keep all of your content writers on the same page about your brand tone of voice.
1. Define the Brand Personality
Brand personality is a set of human traits that customers can associate with a business. For example, a brand can be:
- Funny or serious
- Formal or casual
- Respectful or irreverent
- Enthusiastic or matter of fact
Tone of voice is a key component of a complete brand personality. Think of it as the expression of a personality. When you clearly define a brand’s personality, your team members can easily narrow down the best writing style to adopt for any part of your site.
As an example, let’s say a brand is compassionate, lighthearted, and encouraging. To express this personality, writers may take on a positive and highly enthusiastic tone — perhaps using exclamation points and emojis to keep your content fun. To counter this, imagine a brand personality that’s described as compassionate, nurturing, and gracious instead. Your writers would be more likely to take on a more mature and thoughtful tone.
2. Define What the Brand Is Not
Defining a brand personality can still leave a lot of gray areas. For example, writers can interpret “fun” as adventurous or silly. This could lead to two very different tones of voice. Defining what a brand is not can help you create boundaries that lead to more consistent website content.
For example, you could say that a brand is:
- Youthful, not naive
- Athletic, not masculine
- Clever, not quirky
- Sophisticated, not exclusive
- Creative, not edgy
Clarifying what your brand isn’t can also help writers avoid getting too over the top with a certain tone or personality. (This can make your brand feel more cartoonish than human.) If you say your brand is intelligent, but not pretentious, your writers can be extra mindful of taking a condescending tone or over-referencing niche subjects.
Looking for a way to improve the way your agency collects content from clients and stakeholders?
SimpleStage is the only platform that unifies the client experience by providing tools to help agencies collect content, feedback and track bugs.Learn More
3. Create Content Guidelines for Each Marketing Channel
Continue expanding upon your brand definitions by creating content guidelines that are specific to each of your client’s marketing channels — for example, Facebook, Instagram, email, and their blog. Your agency won’t necessarily write content for all of these channels. However, this will help keep your website tone of voice in line with your client’s broader online presence.
For instance, you could suggest replacing keywords with emojis on Twitter to keep word count low. This could help a writer maintain a laid-back tone to express a casual personality.
4. Prepare Brand of Voice Examples for Content Writers
Offering as much clarity as possible is key to helping your writers nail down a tone. To do so, create brand tone of voice examples that illustrate your client’s brand personality and content guidelines in action.
For example, for a client with a practical and actionable tone of voice, you can offer this example of how to cut the fluff out of your content: Write “Start with the first step. Then, move onto the second step.” not “The second step always comes after the first, so be sure to work in that order.”
Ideally, you should make your brand tone of voice examples relevant to your client’s content. Offer examples that your writers might actually use in the future. If your client is an ecommerce clothing store, your writers might need to know if it’s okay to use “tees” instead of “t-shirts” and when to use “sneakers” instead of “tennis shoes.”
Establish a Clear Brand Tone of Voice
Brand tone of voice is critical for sending the right messages, both about what your client is promoting and about their brand. With these four steps, you can keep your brand tone of voice as consistent as possible. Start by developing your brand personality and guidelines. Then, prepare helpful tone of voice examples that clarifies tone for your writers.