When it comes to the practical parts of life, the technology we choose, the car we drive, the stuff we need, customers don’t have time for problems. They want brands they can rely on.
One way of communicating reliance is by expressing consistency in your brand’s tone of voice. With that in mind here are a few easy-to-implement methods to develop and maintain your brand’s tone throughout all of your marketing channels.
Who are you targeting?
Before we can develop a tone of voice, we need to understand who we’re writing for. To do that, you need to create a buyer persona.
Buyer personas contain obvious demographic information like gender, age, disposable income, location, etc, but the best buyer personas also delve a little deeper. For example, you can:
- Use Hootsuite to find out which social media channels your buyers mainly use
- Use Buzzsumo to see what demographics your competitors are targeting and use their data
- Identify relevant pain points they deal with
- Identify their short term and long term goals
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Creating a buyer persona is a subject worthy of an entire series of blog posts, we can’t cover it properly here – check out Hubspot’s aptly titled “how to create a buyer persona” guide for more info.
Bonus Tip: Put it in writing.
Don’t just rely on meetings and notes to remember this stuff, create a buyer persona document with the final results. They should be written as if you are talking about a person.
These documents are handy for tasks that require you to outsource. For example, they’re extremely useful when hiring freelance writers. They allow the writer to get up to speed on who you’re targeting effectively and efficiently, and most importantly, without ambiguity.
Create your tone
When you have figured out who your target audience is it’s time to start creating your tone of voice document.
A good way of thinking about this task is to create a fictional person in your mind. Their one goal in life is to be best friends with the person you created in your buyer persona research. Ask questions like
- What kind of language would this person use?
- What kind of vibe would they have?
- Would they enjoy sarcasm and witty remarks?
- Are they quirky or stern?
- How much humour would they find appropriate?
Write the answers down.
Go to the places your target audience hangs out online (this info should be in your buyer persona) and see how they talk to each other.
- What kind of language are prominent industry bloggers and influencers using?
- What kind of communication is happening in the comments section?
- Are there any slang terms you should be using in your messaging?
With this information, you can then create a brand voice list that explains what you should be aiming for, how to do it, and more importantly how not to do it. For example:
We are humorous
- Do use puns
- Do use topical jokes
- Don’t be scared of being cheesy
- Do not be edgy
- Do not be political
Think of between 3 and 6 lists like this for your brand and compile them into a tone of voice document which will be used to guide your content and marketing teams going forward.
Deploy and maintain
Now the real work begins. Assign a team member the task of reviewing all of the content on your website and all of your other marketing materials. Here, we are asking ourselves: “Does our content reflect our tone of voice? If not, why not?”.
By doing this you can create a list of all content that needs to be edited and ensure your messaging is appropriately voiced. If you have a large amount of content, it’s a good idea to rank materials in terms of importance (i.e how prominent they are).
Then all you need to do is ensure all future content creation is guided by your brand’s tone of voice document, and you’re done. The document should become a “great filter” that all of your marketing materials need to pass through before they are published. Insert it into your content workflow to ensure all of your messaging is on-brand from now on.
And you’re done!
Congratulations, you now have a well-defined tone of voice, and an actionable and most importantly, repeatable way of implementing it across all of your various marketing channels.
You’re now continuously consistent messaging will work wonders for you in terms of increasing your brand’s perceived reliability. Your stronger, more uniform brand identity should also help you stand out from the crowd and separate you from the competition.
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