Understanding the top 3 things to demystify your brand voice
I was absolutely wrong about brand voice. And I’m so glad I was.
Hi! I’m Penny and I struggled with finding my writing voice. I did the whole “write like you’re talking to a friend” thing. I even suggested it in an article I wrote in Medium. (Yikes!)
Then, I stumbled upon a method to develop and quantify voice. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Can this really work?”
Yup, it is.
In fact, since learning about this method, I’ve upped my copywriting game by becoming a Brand Voice Specialist. I can help you pinpoint your brand’s voice. Then, creating content – blogs, newsletters, etc. – using that voice to build your audience.
The mission of this article is to help you become a convert into the “voice isn’t a mystery” group. You’ll learn about what brand voice is, why it matters, and the three components of a strong voice. We’re starting with the basics. Then, in upcoming posts, I’ll expand with more details about each of the three components of voice. But first, you need to know what I mean when I say “voice.”
What Is Brand Voice?
I’m not talking about your singing voice – the one that projects from your throat and out your mouth. I’m talking about the voice that comes from your fingers as you type on the keyboard.
Have you ever started reading something and had to put it down because it was just too hard to get through? Maybe the tone was off, or the words they used just didn’t make sense.
That’s why a consistent brand voice is important.
Your writing voice draws your ideal clients to you while repelling those you don’t. It is a huge component of branding and marketing. So, how do you refine your voice?
A Consistent Voice Is Critical in Your Marketing
When you’re creating content for your business, the voice you put out there (your brand voice) builds your audience. It’s often their first interaction with your business.
The more content you put out there, the more important it is for your brand’s voice to be consistent.
That consistent voice – having your copy always sound like you – builds your brand’s credibility. It builds trust with your audience. They get to know you. Some can probably even hear your voice in their heads.
If your voice isn’t consistent, it causes problems.
Let’s say you’ve been writing blogs in the same style for a while. One day, you’re fired up about something and publish one that sounds different than normal.
What do your readers think?
They’re probably like, “WTF just happened? Did she turn her writing over to someone else? This isn’t right!”
And, just like that, you’ve broken some of that trust you’ve built. Poof! Gone.
Your writing voice needs to always be consistent, but what makes up your writing voice?
The Components of Brand Voice
A writing or brand voice comprises three things: words, tone, and cadence. That’s it. Those three things can be combined in innumerable ways to create a ton of different voices.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
What specific words do you choose when you write? Here are some questions I ask when working with clients:
- Do you pick the first word that comes to mind, or do you spend time looking for the perfect word to get your point across?
- Do you understand and appreciate the nuances of different words?
- Do you like simple or difficult words?
- What words would you use to describe your brand?
There are no right or wrong answers – just information about how you write. The thing is, the words you choose impact your voice. If you write “eat,” you’re more casual. If you write “consume,” that tends to be more formal and academic.
The tone you create is the mood or feeling your audience picks up when they read your writing. If you Google “tone words,” you’ll get huge lists of feelings you can create with your writing.
Do you want to make your readers feel:
The list of tones keeps going on and on.
Part of your voice is the tone you create with the words you choose and their connotation.
Cadence is all about the flow. Do you like short, choppy sentences or longer sentences that seem to go on and on and on for what seems like forever? Maybe a mix? Do you want to create emphasis on a point and create forced pauses?
Do you like periods, commas, dashes, ellipses, em dashes?
Again, there’s no right or wrong – just information about how you like to write.
All Together Now
Voice is created by the words you choose, the tone you create with those words, and the cadence created with the punctuation and sentence length.
These three things can be teased apart, and their role in your voice is examined and measured. You can also adjust one or more of the parts if you want to tweak your voice.
Then, when you put it all together, voila! You’ve got your writing voice.
Now that you know the three components of voice, you’re probably asking what’s next. Well, you’ve got a couple of choices.
First, you can read the next article on this series where we dive into words. We’ll geek out about meaning, nuance, and difficulty.
Or, if you want to jump ahead and get your brand voice pinpointed, you can reach out to me, and we can chat. I have a package where we work together to develop your writing voice. We’ll document it so you can be sure everything you write always sounds like you. Finally, we’ll tweak some writing you’ve done to match your ideal writing voice. Pretty cool, right?
Now, let’s get to writing!