One of the common struggles for many marketers is finding their "voice" when it comes to creating content for their companies. What exactly is a "voice" you ask? Quite simply, it's how you convey the message of your work in a way that is unique, consistent, authentic, and engages your audience. By having a consistent voice, you build trust with your audience and customers because it becomes familiar to them.
Have you ever read a brochure, blog post, or social media content that was dry and sterile? That's an example of not having a voice—or having one with little to no personality. Discovering and creating a voice for your company or brand takes time and is a bit of a process. Let's cover a few steps you can take to define your voice and put more personality into your efforts!
1. It's What You Say AND How You Say It. I often tell my kids "it's not what you say, it's how you say it," but in this instance, both are important. As marketers, it's easy for us to use jargon that is native to our industries, and while you may think everyone knows what you're referring to when you use industry-specific words, most likely it's not being interpreted they way you think it is. So you want to use simple words that get your message across clearly.
2. What Does Your Company Stand For? Choose three or four different words that describe your company and your products. Is it fun? Luxurious? Philanthropic? Innovative? Legal? A company that is fun is going to have a much different voice than a law firm, for instance. Once you have your descriptive words, it will make finding your voice easier.
3. How Do You Want People to Feel? When they think of your company or see your messages, how do you want to make them feel? Think of big brands and how effectively they do this. When you think of Disney, you think "magical." With Apple, you feel innovation and cutting edge. Dollar Shave Club has a funny, snarky vibe to it. These companies have had a very consistent voice over the years, and it has worked very well. If you're not sure what feeling people get when they do business with you, don't be afraid to ask them! This is a great way to see what their perceptions are, and if you don't like them, you can begin the change!
4. Who Is Your Customer? This is where knowing your buyer personas is very important. If your customers are largely 30-40-year-old moms, your voice is going to need to speak to them the way they like. If your customers are middle-aged professional men, their language is completely different from the first example. You probably have several different types of customers, so you will want to create a different voice for each of your buyer personas.
5. "Listen" to Your Competition's Voice. You obviously don't want to copy it, but you can learn from it— especially if they are more successful than you are. What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? Are there things they do really well that get good results and that you can make uniquely yours? Again, I'm not telling you to copy it—that's bad form, but there have been a few times when I've seen some work that our competitors have done that made me roll up my sleeves.
6. You'll Need to Vary Your Voice Slightly (especially when you're marketing on social media). The tone you'll use on Facebook is different from the tone you'll use on LinkedIn. While the feel should still be the same (the "what you say" part), how you say it will vary just a bit. Also, if it's going to be more than just one person creating content, the voice will vary slightly there as well. The content from Atlantic Webworks is a good example: Adrienne and I are usually the people behind the voice of our company, but we have very different ways of saying things. However, for the most part, it's consistent with our company's voice.
Has your company taken the time to define its voice? Are you happy with it, or do you think it could use a refresh?