Amanda Greteman Brent Thomsen Scott Holton
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Four Quick Tips to Writing Better Brand Voice

Whether you’re a marketer tasked with writing content for a client or you’re a business owner cranking out your own content, there is a huge mistake you could be making—completely ignoring your brand voice.

If you want a fairly simple way to differentiate your business in an overcrowded, competitive market by just being yourself, then you have to find your (brand) voice.

To avoid your marketing content being as boring as a 90-minute college lecture, you want to think of your business or client’s business as a person. People buy from other people, especially people with a personality.

Tell us, if the business was a person, what would their personality traits be?

  • Silly
  • Commanding
  • Rebellious
  • Compassionate
  • Down-to-Earth

After you get the personality of your business figured out, you can start to think about how the business would talk. The “voice” is comprised of essentially three different components: Tone, Word Choice and Rhythm.

Tone: The emotion in your brand’s voice. For example, the tone might be sarcastic, negative, blunt, heartfelt, or enthusiastic, to name a few.

Rhythm: This is the sentence length and how the words flow when writing. Would your business speak in long sentences? Or would the business speak in short, choppy sentences? This is where you might also think about whether you would use contractions. If your business were a person, how would they explain something—would they repeat phrases for emphasis, for example? Or use a lot of pauses . . . when they speak?

Word Choice: If your business was a person, the words they choose would likely be based on their personality and may have common turns-of-phrase they use. Just as important, words this person would never say.

Now that you have a better understanding of what all makes up a brand’s voice, let’s get into the four things you should do when developing your brand voice or writing in your client’s voice.

1. Consume everything you can from the brand or the person behind the brand.

This means scouring their website for clues, reading blog posts and emails, or listening to recorded calls or videos.

You may be tasked with writing in the brand voice. Or you could be tasked with establishing one.It’s to immerse yourself in existing content where voice shows up. Even if a business doesn’t think they have a voice—they do. It just might not be a good one.

If you’re developing a new brand voice and struggling to find what fits the business, check out other websites or look for people who you or your client (if you’re writing for them), follows or likes and explore what about them speaks to you.

Maybe there isn’t a specific person or website, but there’s a persona to emulate, such as a professor or a parent or a good friend sitting next to you at the bar.

Examples of companies with strong brand voices: BarkBox, Carney, Skittles, Dollar Shave Club, or Old Spice.

2. Learn about the audience and the business’s product or service.

It’s going to be nearly impossible to get brand voice right if you don’t thoroughly understand the product or service and the target audience.

Although it might seem like brand voice is all about who the brand is, it’s also about who the customers are. If you have a certain personality or way of speaking and it doesn’t resonate with your audience, that’s not going to work. How does the target audience speak, what appeals to them, what do they want to hear – all important questions.

Another part of being authentic is being consistent. The target audience is not going to trust your brand if you speak one way on social and another way in your e-mails.

3. Take a stab at writing in the brand voice and get feedback.

Take all the information you’ve gathered and apply it. There’s a good chance you won’t get it right the first time and that’s ok.

Start with one post or just the homepage and compare it to any existing content you have. Next, if you’re writing for a client, send it to them for feedback. Listen when they tell you, “I would never use that word,” or, “I would never say it like that.” Remove those words and phrases and rewrite.

If you’re reworking your brand voice yourself, try reading what you’ve written out loud. Does it feel or sound natural? Record it and get feedback from someone who knows you well.

If you’re bored reading what you wrote or stumble over the words, toss it and start over. If it doesn’t sound like your brand talking to you or still doesn’t feel right, toss it and start over.

4. Add it to a style guide.

Even if you’re a one-person show right now, you want to memorialize the aspects of your brand voice. Because in the future, you may hire a marketing agency to write for you and you want it to be in your brand voice. A style guide that includes voice components will help them be on-brand right from the start. Here’s an example from Mailchimp.

Of course, your brand voice may evolve over time, meaning the style guide will be an ever-changing document, but that’s far better than not having it to reference at all.

The key to truly being heard isn’t speaking louder or talking more—it’s about the way you speak and what you say. Your brand is no different. Give it a voice that cuts through and gets attention. After all, a better brand voice could mean more business. If you need help honing your brand voice, reach out to AKC—we have a lot of experience writing on-brand content for clients.

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At AKC Marketing we honestly assess the perception of your company. We push to market you above your competition. We do this by igniting your inner brand - focusing on what your true value to the marketplace is. To make it impossible to be ignored in your industry.
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