Entries Tagged 'Copywriting tone' ↓
September 23rd, 2015 — copywriting tips, Copywriting tone, marketing
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.
- 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.
July 1st, 2015 — Branding, copywriting, copywriting tips, Copywriting tone, marketing
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.”
This is the kind of wording corporates love. Their marketers think it makes them sound impressive and worth every penny of their excessive fees.
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.
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.
March 25th, 2015 — copywriting tips, Copywriting tone
Every piece of marketing you write will be aimed at someone.
There are times when that will be one specific person and others when it will be for a large audience.
If you’re writing to one specific person (a rarity, but it can happen), you immediately know their likes and dislikes so it creating persuasive copy should be fairly straightforward.
But happens when you’re writing for a wide audience that could be made up from those who are highly educated, highflying executives, busy mums, or just normal everyday people?
How can you possibly write to a diverse audience like that?
OK, let’s go back a step.
What are you selling?
OK. Think about how your product benefits them.
They don’t seem quite so diverse now, do they?
They all want to keep their families and possessions safe.
None of them want to feel the agony of the loss of sentimental or valuable items.
None of them want to experience the violation of having someone break into their home.
Now you have identified the pain points you have something to work with.
So what language should you use?
My view is, regardless of the level of someone’s education, they are still a person who experiences real emotions.
That means one thing – simple language.
I don’t care how many degrees they have or whether or not they passed their 11+, by keeping your language simple and to the point, your persuasiveness will be heightened.
Talk to them (yes, that means using a conversational tone) about their problems and fears and tell them you have the answer that will help them sleep soundly at night, or be able to enjoy their holiday without worrying about whether everything is hunky-dory at home.
Even if you’re addressing an audience of 1000s, each of them are listening to only one person – you.
As far as they’re concerned your writing is aimed directly at them.
So, for every piece of writing create a persona for your ideal reader. Think about who they are, what they do, what keeps them awake at night, that sort of thing. Then convince them yours is the company that’s going to make everything better.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
March 18th, 2015 — Branding, copywriting tips, Copywriting tone, marketing
The tone of voice you use across your marketing will dictate how your customers view you.
Too stiff and formal and you’ll come across aloof and unfriendly; too casual and street and you’ll be seen as a bit flaky, a company that can’t be taken seriously.
That’s why it’s important to work out who you are from the outset.
Factors that will affect your tone of voice
Before I get into that, there’s something you must remember.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or whom you do it for, never ever use jargon or industry speak in your writing.
There’s a tendency for many businesses to create random sentences formulated from impressive sounding words because they want to appear aspirational or intelligent. Well, your readers aren’t stupid. After reading your lofty prose they’ll realise it has no meaning or substance and is just there for fluff because you couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Right, back to those factors.
For starters you must know:
- Who you are and what you stand for
- Who your customers are
- What you’re selling
- Why they would buy from you
- The benefits you offer them
You can’t develop a tone of voice without that information because if you don’t know who you are as a company how will you know the personality you want to convey? If you don’t know what you’re selling or whom you’re selling to you won’t know the language you’ll need to sell it. And if you don’t know what your product is, or the benefits it offers, you’ll just be wasting your time creating content that’s meaningless.
Your tone of voice
If you’re a B2B business selling professional services of some sort or another, your language will be more formal than if you sold bespoke surfboards.
For starters, your audiences will be poles apart, but that doesn’t mean as a B2B business you have to be starchy and corporate just because you’re not selling a cool product.
On the contrary, even though you’re pitching to businesses, it’s real people that will be doing the buying. Whenever real people are involved (and that would be in every sales scenario) their buying decision will be mainly emotionally driven.
That means your content must evoke an emotional response. If your product or service saves them time that means they get to spend more time with their friends and family. If it saves money it means their business will run leaner, generating more profit that ultimately, means more earning potential.
See what I mean?
Getting back to the actual language, in the surfboard scenario it would be perfectly reasonable to see the odd “dude” in the copy. Try that as a B2B and you’ll be laughed at, but that doesn’t mean your language has to be staid and boring.
Remember, a real person will read your writing. It doesn’t matter how educated they are, it’s important to keep your language simple, unambiguous and conversational.
Because that drives engagement, has personality and is better received than formal writing.
Many people shy away from writing with personality (i.e. conversationally) because goes against everything they’ve ever learned. That’s a real shame because it works.
Look at this post. I’ve written it as though you were sat in front of me and we were talking about tone of voice. By the way, that’s a great tip for nailing conversational writing – imagine you’re sat opposite a customer and talk to them about your product, writing as you do so. You’ll be amazed at how engaging your writing becomes.
What’s the moral of this blog post?
- It doesn’t matter who you are or whom you’re trying to sell to, your writing must have personality if you want it to work
- Use language that’s appropriate to your market
- Stay away from jargon and industry speak
- Keep your vocabulary simple
- Remember you are writing for a real person
- Write conversationally to boost engagement
- You can only achieve the right tone of voice if you know who you are, what you’re selling, who your customers are the benefits your product or service offer
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
February 4th, 2015 — Branding, copywriter, copywriting tips, Copywriting tone
What is a brand voice?
Basically, it’s the way your brand sounds to your readers.
That’s as clear as mud.
OK, look at it this way. When it comes to branding, the look, feel and words that you use have to work together to create an overall impression.
You probably have a pretty good idea of how you want your audience to see you. It could be as a high end brand, one that is innovative (Apple springs to mind) etc.
So where do words come into it?
Well, they have to paint a picture that is in line with your imagery, but there is one very important thing to remember.
What is it?
Even though you know how you want to be perceived, it’s just as important to understand how you want your customer to feel.
You may have lofty ideas of the type of language you want to use, but is it going to be right for your audience?
Think about who they are, why they would be interested in what you’re offering and what’s important to them. When you know that, you can tailor your writing to show them how you’re going to help them live the life they want to live.
It’s also important, especially when branding for a high end product, to show them why it’s so good. That doesn’t mean justifying the price tag, but rather highlighting the benefits it will bring:
- A sign of discernment
- Professional image
- Improve performance
It is the words that you use that will evoke an emotional connection to your brand. They will show your audience that your values are the same as their values and that by supporting your brand they are showing the world they are aligned with what you stand for.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd