Entries Tagged 'copywriting tips' ↓

How to Create a Tone of Voice Guide

Tone of voice

 

The tone of voice you use in your marking communications is important.

It gives your reader a sense of what your company is like, how you operate, your approachability, in fact it is something that will help your reader make up there mind as to whether you are a company they want to do business with.

So how do you find the right voice for you?

That is a question answered by Sally Ormond of Briar Copywriting Ltd – this is what she had to say:

 

You’ve read it numerous times. Every marketer on the planet is telling you that your company needs a tone of voice guide. You get it, but convincing your management to fork out for one is proving tricky.

How to get your management team on board

If you’re going to do this properly you need your whole team to be on board, including those in their corner offices with the to-die-for city views.

How do you do that?

Simple, just talk brand consistency.

Your company wants to deliver the best experience possible to its customers to build loyalty. Part of that comes from consistency across all forms of interaction – website, email communications, YouTube, social media, brochures, in-store and mobile.

If you have multiple writers producing your content (rather than using a well-trained copywriter, ahem) you won’t get that unified voice without a tone of voice guide. Your brand becomes confused, your customers can’t connect with it and it slides from their memory faster than a fast thing.

The guide will present a set of rules for what can and can’t be said and the language that should be used. It will clearly define a:

  • Voice – described in adjectives (i.e. friendly, lively, professional, approachable etc.)
  • Tone – adaptations of the voice to suit different audiences and content type

How to find your voice

Now the hard work begins.

Finding your voice requires input from your management team, so ask them if the brand was a person what kind of personality would it have?

Then you have to tighten it further, for example, if the response was “upbeat” find out exactly what that means – vibrant, modern, colloquial?

Also ask what it’s not – this is often easier to answer.

Finally, think about your relationships with your customers, what would that be like – friend, guide, confidante?

Slowly a picture should start to emerge.

What about your tone?

I mentioned earlier about how your voice would have to be adapted to suit different content types and audiences.

So your writing will differ from blogs to social media, website content to white papers because they are addressing different audiences.

Think about:

  • The type of content you’re writing
  • Who will be reading it
  • How they are feeling/why they are reading it
  • Tone that should be used (i.e. professional, empathetic, friendly, authoritative etc.)

It’s also a good idea to then offer an example to show the tone and type of vocabulary that would be suitable in that situation.

You did it!

Creating a tone of voice guide isn’t a quick process and can, at times, be rather frustrating, but hang in there.

Once it’s in place, the consistency of your marketing approach will create a coherent and memorable brand.

 

 

 

Write Your Content to Match The Way People Buy

This blog first appeared on our sister blog, Briar Copywriting Ltd, but we wanted to share it with you here also.

make people buy

 

 

If you knew what made people buy, writing your marketing content would be a doddle, right?

I’m not talking about features versus benefits or anything like that; I’m talking about the processes that go on inside their heads when they make a buying decision.

Most people’s decisions to buy are made subconsciously so there are certain things you can do as a copywriter or marketer to nudge them in the right direction.

Prey on their self-centeredness

It’s a sad fact, but your customers really don’t give two hoots about your company (other than you’ll provide them with great service).

The only thing they care about is how you’re going to make their lives easier. They want you to make a difference to them, to take away their pain and bring them more pleasure.

If you can show them how your product or service will do that, you’re on to a winner.

Be different

You, just like your customers, are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day.

Which ones do you take notice of?

Probably the ones that stand out, right?

It’s the same for your customers. If you can create something that’s different to everyone else’s message you stand a chance of breaking through the noise.

Use their laziness

There are a lot of adverts out there than use loads of words and some fairly abstract ideas, forcing the buying public to try and make sense of them.

The problem is customers are generally lazy and just want simple messages with relevant and eye-catching visuals.

Give them what they want and they’re more likely to buy.

Story time

Our brains have a tendency to pay attention at the beginning and end of things. Therefore, if your marketing is to have the right impact start strongly and recap your strongest selling points (i.e. your benefits) at the end.

Visual

Captivating videos and graphics will do the selling for you because people process and make decisions visually.

Emotion

How many times have you made a snap buying decision based on an emotional response to something?

Emotion is a powerful marketing tool – make someone think they’re going to miss out and they’ll buy. Whether it’s using adorable animal images to get donations for your dog charity or showing that only fashionable people wear your jewellery, emotion will make people buy.

Successful marketing comes down to giving your customers what they want – not only in terms of your product or service, but also in the way you tailor your messaging.

 

The Right Way to Deal With Typos (yours and someone else’s)

You’ve settled down for a coffee break.

Being the diligent, dedicated worker that you are, you’ve decided to spend your 15 minutes reading up on a subject that you’re working on at the moment.

After a quick Google search you’ve found an article that looks as though it will tell you everything you need to know.

As you settle down the writing engages you and you lose yourself in it completely, soaking up the knowledge from the screen.

Just as you reach the final paragraph you notice a typo. It’s nothing catastrophic, there’s just a letter missing. It doesn’t detract from the information, but it stands out to you.

What do you do?

a)    Skip over it, after all it’s not hurting anyone

b)   Slam your mug down in disgust and state you’ll never read any of their work again

c)    Send a DM tweet to bring their attention to the mistake

d)   Leave a caustic/sarcastic comment at the end of their blog post

We are all human

Granted, mistakes shouldn’t happen, but they do.

At times it doesn’t matter how often you read through something errors will slip through.

Why?

Because you’re human.

Can you really imagine a world where no one makes mistakes?

Me neither.

So, getting back to the quandary, what should you do?

As a writer I make mistakes (shock horror!). I try not to, but every now and then one will slip through.

Personally, I welcome a DM tweet to let me know so I can go back and correct it. I see it as something positive. After all, it means that someone has liked my writing enough to read the entire article and that they care enough to let me know there’s a typo – that’s pretty special.

I’ve also had smart arses who have left curt comments on my blog when they’ve found an error. Right, like they’ve never made a mistake in their life. My response is generally a sweet “why thank you so much for pointing that out to me”, but they don’t put themselves in a good light.

You see there are various ways of doing things.

Some decisions will show you as caring and thoughtful, others as someone who loves to revel in the mistakes of others like some God that never gets anything wrong.

Next time you come across a typo stop and think. How would you like to be treated? Everyone makes mistakes – EVERYONE – just remember that.

Why have I written this post?

I’ve already admitted to making the odd mistake now and then. This post is in response to a lovely lady (and friend) who spotted a missing ‘t’ in a recent post of mine. She was kind enough to DM me so I could correct it.

If I’m feeling particularly mischievous I’ll slip in a deliberate typo just to see if anyone notices.

Keep your eyes peeled.

Are Your Newsletter’s Mobile Friendly?

mobile email

 

It wasn’t too long ago that we were all panicking when Google announced it was cracking down on websites that weren’t mobile friendly.

Business owners around the world were frantically trying to bring their sites into line with the search giant’s exacting demands.

If you beat the deadline you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief and relaxing feeling smug.

What about your newsletter?

Is that mobile friendly too?

Today, about 66% (source: emailmonday.com) of emails are opened on mobile devices so if yours isn’t optimised for mobile the chances are it will be deleted immediately.

The good news is that unlike your website, fixing your email readability is relatively straightforward.

Make people open your emails

You have 3 bites of the cherry when it comes to convincing someone to open your email:

  • Subject line – 28 to 39 characters long, personalised (use “I” and “you”), emotive language
  • First line – make it sound friendly, as through from an old friend (e.g. “Can you believe Briar Copywriting has turned 3? It only seems like yesterday…)
  • From line – show they’re from a real person (e.g. sally@briarcopywriting.com rather than sales@briarcopywriting.com)

Is your font readable?

If you use a tiny font that makes your readers squint to try and read it, it will get binned.

Make sure it is big enough to read without having to pinch and zoom. A good size for the body text is 14.

Don’t give your email a garish dress to wear

When your recipient opens your email they should be drawn directly to your text not your design.

Don’t cram it with images; less is definitely more.

Shout about your call to action

Your email needs a call to action – that’s a given.

The problem with text-based calls to action is they’re not overly obvious and can be difficult to “hit” when using a mobile device.

Using a simple, coloured button will draw attention to your call to action and make it easy to press.

See, I told you it wouldn’t be difficult to make a different to your emails.

 

 

Why You Shouldn’t Sound Like a Corporate

Does this sound familiar?

“Through our organisational changes we’ll strategically transition towards a more customer centric approach. Going forward, by leveraging KPIs this paradigm shift will cultivate a results orientated environment cultivating workable growth strategies.”

Eh?

This is the kind of wording corporates love. Their marketers think it makes them sound impressive and worth every penny of their excessive fees.

They’re wrong.

All they’re doing is using a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.

It doesn’t tell their reader anything about them, how they are going to help them or what benefits they will bring.

They will even go to far as to say their clients expect them to write that way.

Really?

Do you think anyone wants to read that stuff?

Presenting your marketing in that style makes me (the reader) think that actually you have no idea what you’re talking about. Especially when I ask for clarification and your response is a barrage of alternative marketing terms that also mean nothing.

The problem is that because it’s become so ingrained in the corporate world if you don’t speak it you’re seen as an outsider.

So what happens if you run a small business and have to sell to corporates?

Dare to be different

Most companies try to emulate this incomprehensible style of writing because they think it’s the only way they’ll be taken seriously by their target audience.

Well, I think it’s down to the smaller business to show these behemoths how it should be done.

  • Don’t tell them permanent recruitment is your core competency; tell them you know a lot about permanent recruitment.
  • Don’t start a dialogue with them; talk to them.
  • Don’t tell them how you utilise your resources; show them how you use them.
  • Don’t tell them you have multiple strengths you can leverage; tell them you have lots of great resources that will help them.

Keep it simple

Yes, your marketing must be targeted to your audience, but in relation to the benefits you offer them.

When it comes to language, keeping it simple and conversational will win every time.

By showing empathy and how you’re going to make their life better will be understood no matter how educated your reader is or how high up the ladder they are in their organisation.

They just want to know you understand their problem and have the solution to make it go away.

Just tell them how it is in plain English.