How to shape your voice to suit your brand was written by Morwenna Lawson, who uses several different writing voices in her role as freelance writer at wordfairy.co.uk. Having recently worked together on a project, I asked Mo if she would like to write a blog post for my site to help people understand how to shape your voice to suite your brand. Whilst I focus on the strategic and visual element of a brand, I am acutely aware that tone of voice is an intrinsic element of your overall branding – it helps creates the full persona of a brand along with the design elements. therefore, understanding your company tone of voice and hiring a solid copywriter are fundamental aspects to creating a solid brand.
Shape your voice to suit your brand
Our words have a distinctive shape, and not just the spoken words, but the written ones too. For most, this is a changeable shape; we tailor our voice to different situations, altering our speech when we talk to a child, parent, boss. It’s a basic process that comes naturally, as it should also be for the words we use on our websites, because our content will always be directed towards a specific audience – to those we wish to attract.
We’ll use a high-end style for a busy tech or property company, but speak more colloquially for a teen website. And within the site itself there will be minor differences: our blog posts might be slightly less formal than the words we use on our Contact page, for example.
It’s important that we make these distinctions, if only to help our readers understand how we operate, and what we might be like, as a company, to work with.
Think about the brands that have a memorable style, the ones that stand the test of time. They do so because the website voice is resounding and unique, as with these companies:
Boden, the colourful clothing website, whose words are youthful, colloquial, light.
HSBC, the international bank, whose words are multi-cultural, confident, welcoming.
Reddit, the breaking stories landing site, whose words are newsy, current, wry.
We all have our own unique writing style, and our websites should have one too. There are several steps that can help you use the right tone of voice for your company.
10 ways to find and keep your online voice
1. Choose your influencers
Browse the styles you would most like to emulate and take note. Finding a voice that’s already worked for you means it will work for your clients, too.
2. Keep things formal
When in doubt, the best go-to style is always classical. There’s no need to speak like the Victorians, simply take time to spell things out with care.
3. Less is more
Clarity wins every time. A client will click away from a page if questions arise, so if you’ve any explanations to give, just keep the descriptions simple.
4. Pace yourself
Is your website buzzy or peaceful? Are you attracting children, adults or older clients? Tailoring your pace accordingly will help you get the audience you want.
5. Hear yourself
If you’re not sure how your website is sounding to others, have a go at reading the words out loud, using your phone or computer to record how you sound. There’s no better way of finding out if you’re too fast, too slow, or just right.
6. Commit to one hat
Whatever your message, make sure your values come across in one guise, from Home page to About, Gallery and Services. All clients prefer consistency.
7. Don’t use negatives like ‘don’t’
There will always be a more upbeat way of talking, and a client will want to hear the possibilities rather than the impossibilities. So instead of saying: ‘We don’t work with old materials’ you could say, ‘We always use new materials’.
8. Stay away from shouty ALL-CAPS
A customer should be able to understand all of your exciting ideas from the words themselves, without heavy punctuation, even on sales pages.
9. Remember your purpose
In working out all your elements it’s easy to forget what your website is here for. Your voice should be a fluid reminder that is apparent on every page.
10. Have fun
No need for crashing jokes littering every paragraph, but a little enthusiasm goes a very long way. The reasons why you love your work should shine through.
Now take a look back over your site and listen to how the words sound with a fresh ear. If you like what you hear, so will your prospective clients.
HOW TO SHAPE YOUR VOICE TO SUIT YOUR BRAND
‘Tonal clarity: how to shape your voice to suit your brand’ was written by Morwenna Lawson, who uses several different writing voices in her role as freelance writer at wordfairy.co.uk. Morwenna specialises in shaping web content, helping authors blog, and rewriting online profiles. A married mum of one, she spent five years in Singapore and still has a deep love for the Far East. Now she’s based in leafy north London, and you can find her at wordfairy.co.uk, or via Instagram and LinkedIn.
Another useful article on content writing can be found here:
Content and design – how do they work together on your website?