Whether you’re writing a blog on your website or creating a Facebook post, it’s safe to say that the words you use matter.
But writing is more than just accuracy. For example, consider the statement: We’re really good at making websites. This might be factually true, but it’s a pretty bland and forgettable way of making the point.
Chances are, your brand already has a unique way of communicating messages, whether you’ve consciously thought about it or not. Our goal here is to help you evaluate what you’re doing currently and make decisions about how to best use your words going forward.
1. Identify your audience
Do you want to appeal to everyone, no one, or some group in between? It can be easy to get so busy writing for your business or organization that you forget the intent is to communicate a message to a real human.
To stay focused, make a list of who will be reading your content and identify certain traits or vocabulary habits that you’d like to include in your brand voice. Think about a customer you’ve worked with in the past and how they communicate.
2. Audit your current brand voice
Take a look at your websites, newsletters, social media channels—anything you’ve written to get messages out to your audience—and get a good overview of what your current voice sounds like.
If you have a large creative team writing for your different channels, your brand voice might cover a wide range. Evaluate what words are used, how things are phrased, and what tone is conveyed. From this evaluation, you’ll be able to see the basics of the current brand voice and identify how and where you’d like to improve.
Now that you’ve identified where you’re starting from, try the following exercises to get some ideas:
- Think of your brand as a person—what would this person be like, and how would they talk to others? One quick exercise is to do a persona discovery.
- Brainstorm adjectives to describe your business or nonprofit.
- Look at your audience’s posts on social media. Identify a few common traits among their posts, and use that information to inform your brand voice.
4. Be mindful of your tone
Often, what you say isn’t as important as how you say it. An important email update or announcement will use a different tone than a fun caption for an Instagram post.
Make a list of scenarios you often face. Categorize those by the tone you’d use in your messages responding to those situations.
5. Read it aloud
When in doubt, take what you’ve written and read it aloud to yourself and others on your team. This simple exercise will help you decide if the voice is right.
If it’s not quite right, try changing up small elements (like using less sophisticated words or shorter sentences). With a few tweaks, you may realize you’re closer to your perfect brand voice than you thought.
6. Keep things consistent
By now, you have a few traits you’d like to add to your brand voice. To ensure consistency among all your team members, create a style guide for everyone to follow. A few things to keep in mind:
- Word length: In general, short words and sentences increase readability and accessibility, while increased length tends to show authority and expertise.
- Vocabulary: Outline a few basic rules around the usage of jargon, slang, and technical terminology.
- Grammar: While basic grammar is always important, intentionally breaking some rules can allow for a more casual and approachable tone when appropriate.
As you become more comfortable with your brand voice, don’t be afraid to make small updates or adjustments to stay fresh and interesting to your audience.
Need help finding your voice?
Book a free 15-minute Discovery Call with TwoTone Creative to talk about where you’re at and where you want to go.
As our creative copywriter, Melanie helps craft what you want to say in the way you want to say it. With experience in social media management, feature writing, blog posts, and more, she’s passionate about connecting the dots between small details and big-picture ideas. Whether you need a snappy tagline, a compelling email message, or a social media post that keeps people coming back for more, she enjoys transforming ideas into stories that impact and inspire. She’s in her element when she gets to revitalize tired old ideas into fresh, new content, and loves tackling writing projects covering any topic.