Getting the tone of voice right for your brand is something with which most businesses struggle. If you’re a small business, you don’t have the funds to employ a person to come in and develop this for you. And you don’t have the time to do the years of training needed to be a copywriter.
There are things which you can do to develop your brand voice or tone of voice.
It’s important to get this right because brand visuals are your shop front. The words which go with those visuals reinforce that good brand message for your customer.
A good brand voice should make your potential customer feel part of your tribe.
It’s important that your audience doesn’t get confused on a sub-conscious level between what they see and what they read. How you communicate with them is the difference between them feeling their needs being met by what you do and not wanting to buy.
3 different voices
The best example and the one I see used most often is food descriptions.
Usually, someone uses an example of bacon butties but I’m vegan so we’ll use beans on toast instead.
Here are three different ways in which you can describe beans on toast on a menu:
1. Beans on toast. Choice of white or brown bread.
2. Baked beans served on hot buttered toast made from freshly baked bread. Choose from farmhouse or wholemeal.
3. Organic haricot beans, freshly oven-baked in a delicately flavoured sauce. Served over organic sourdough made with ancient grains.
Each of these says the same thing but to different audiences. As such, you’d expect a different price point on each of them.
One of my favourite games when eating out is to turn the flowery menu descriptions into what they’d be if they were served in a greasy spoon.
It’s the play with language that you need to incorporate into your brand style. If you are pricing for a high-end audience, your language needs to reflect that. If you’re cheap and cheerful then you want to make your wording match.
Position your business
But it isn’t all about price points. It’s about who you are as a person and a business.
Try this: when you’re looking at your website copy, choose 3-5 words where you could use an alternative. I find having an online thesaurus helps with this.
Write down the alternative words you could use.
It could be that you like to call the people who buy from you ‘clients’, or you could call them customers, tribe, club, or something else. Which feels most comfortable with your voice and your brand?
Then every instance where you see this word, replace it with the one which is in your brand voice.
Not sure where to begin? Have a look online at some social media groups and start making notes of the language your ideal customer is using. Does this sound like something your business would say? If not, what other words would you use?
This takes time to build up but once you get the hang of it, you’ll start to see other ways you can build your brand voice into the copy you write.
My brand voice is informal and chatty. I like to think it brings through some of the gesticulations you’d see if you met me in person. I speak with my hands and I often form an idea as I’m talking something through with a client.
Note that I have clients and not customers. This is because it brings a bit of formality to my otherwise chatty writing. I am a business, after all.
When you’ve decided on what your brand voice is and what persona you are going to take online then start making a directory of words that you can refer to or that another person can should you make enough profit to hire a copywriter.