When creating content for a brand on social media as well as across the website, marketers often talk about tone of voice. Good writers will also ask for tone of voice guidelines before writing an article, and it seems especially important to have these in place if multiple people will be creating content on behalf of a brand.
Tone of voice reflects the brand’s personality. A consistency here can help the audience recognize the brand right away and build brand recognition. Tools like SEM Rush Writing Assistant offer ways to see if you’re meeting established guidelines while writing, although they’re no substitute for critical thinking.
Like most marketing exercises, it’s helpful to have some brand basics in place first. Who is your target audience and what are your brand’s values? Knowing who you’re talking to and what you want to tell them is like a north star that can guide all your content.
To see this in action, you can look at how other industries communicate with your audience online. You can look at competitors as well, but remember that you want to sound different from them. If you identify a big company that has the same target audience as you, then they’ve probably already done a lot of research and experimentation to see how that market responds best. Remember, don’t just talk AT your audience…listen to them, study how they talk, and try to be relatable. If you try to use similar vocabulary to what they use, then they’ll see you as more relatable and maybe even share your content.
When thinking about what message you want to communicate, think back to your core values. Why was the company founded and what purpose does it have in the world? What is it that makes your company unique? If you already have a mission statement, then you can refer to it and make sure all your content furthers your mission.
Other exercises that will help you establish tone of voice:
Compile a list of adjectives that describe your company
If your company were an animal, what would it be?
If your company were a superhero…
What do you NOT want to be known as?
Do you use humor? What is your sense of humor?
What pronouns do you use? “We”…“I”…“Us dudes”
Are you easy-to-understand or technical?
Setting some basic guidelines can encourage others within your organization to be spokespeople for the brand and keep the company’s voice more consistent.