When it comes to content writing, many believe that content is the sole most important aspect. This prioritises the topic, the information provided, and the data used.
But in marketing, the content itself isn’t enough, it’s just as important to think about how it is delivered.
Despite the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ saying, most readers pick their next read based on the cover design, and then the blurb on the back. Similarly, content aimed at a specific audience needs to appeal to them in more ways than merely the nature of the content itself.
In marketing, specifically, content should embody the brand that it’s trying to communicate and this can be done in many ways. Elements of branding such as the visuals, the colours, the font, and similar, aren’t necessarily something the writer in question has to worry about. But there is one element that has to be integrated, by the writer, throughout the content creation: tone of voice.
What is the tone of voice?
The tone of voice is how you capture the brand’s persona, within the delivery of the content. In other words, it’s how the characterisation of the business shines through the written content. So while the content focuses on what you’re saying, the tone of voice focuses on how you’re saying it.
There are as many different types of tone of voice as there are nuances in a brand characterisation, so what’s important is to define the appropriate tone of voice for the brand in question, and to be consistent with it.
Benefits of adapting your tone of voice:
Using the correct tone of voice for your marketing content ensures that you are causing the desired impressions upon the target audience, in line with your brand’s message and strategy. So when delivering content for a brand, the right tone of voice is vital.
But just in case you aren’t convinced, here are some of the main benefits of adapting the tone of voice to each brand and marketing strategy:
When you adapt the tone of voice to the brand, it gives the brand a distinct character that the audience will learn to recognise and expect. This helps give the brand its image, helping it appeal to the target customers.
Consistency and coherence:
Adapting the tone of voice to the brand ensures that all content created follows the same style and persona, giving it consistency. This will also make it coherent with the brand’s message and purpose.
Appeal to the target audience:
The reason brands have a certain ‘persona’ is because they need to appeal to the people they are targeting. Content created for the brand must do the same and the right tone of voice will resonate with the intended audience better.
Different industries lean into different tones of voice, and it’s important that the content you create, for the brand in question, follows suit. In a scientific or technical industry, for example, the tone of voice is likely to be a lot more factual. In the fashion or travel industry, on the other hand, the tone will be more informal.
How to apply the tone of voice:
If you’re not sure about how to best apply the tone of voice to your content writing, think of it as embodying a specific type of person that you imagine the brand as.
If that doesn’t help, here are some other tips for implementing tone of voice in your content writing:
Have a brand guideline
Putting together a document for the brand’s tone of voice, and any other specifications, is a great way to make sure you’re consistent with the tone, throughout all content creation.
Assign 3 main adjectives to the brand
For example, you could describe a brand as being friendly, casual, and helpful, and those adjectives can help define the tone of voice when writing.
Read the work out loud
This is a good way to double-check content in general, but it can be especially beneficial for checking whether you’ve used the right tone of voice.
Create an audience persona
Knowing what the target audience is like, and creating a strong sense of who they are, will help you adapt the tone of voice to something that would appeal to them better.
Whether the brand has a reputation for factual seriousness or accessible informality, it is the writers’ job to create content in a way that embodies the overall brand persona. Writing in the correct tone of voice is vital to overall readability, within the context of a target audience.