The phrase, ‘’New Year, New Me’’ gets thrown around a lot this time of the year, and though it usually pertains to diet goals, reduced alcohol consumption and better budgeting, it can also refer to our state of mind, our want to do better by the people in our lives, and the desire to only put out positivity into the world, rather than cynicism. I’d say considering 2020, positivity is the only way forward. We can choose to let the world around us get us down, or we can be hopeful, take positive action and change our perception for the better. Having a positive attitude can reach every aspect of our lives, and the lives of others, and this can be shown through our communication, and our actions. If you think about it, whenever a person visits a website, they are getting a feel for who the company is, what they stand for, and the brand’s personality. Companies that spark excitement, encourage conversation and talk in relatable ways are far more likely to experience positive feedback and repeat business. So with that in mind, this blog will look at how to create a positive tone of voice (TOV) that speaks to your audience, and sets the stage for positive results for your business.
Why Tone Of Voice (TOV) Matters In Content – Trust & Relatability
When it comes to writing content, your TOV matters for various reasons, including:
- It helps to build connections with your audience that encourages a dialogue. According to Customer Thermometer, 65% of customers say that they are emotionally connected to a brand in a way that makes them feel as if the company cares about them. A caring or friendly attitude towards your audience can prompt them to interact with you more, giving you a chance to offer them a solution to their needs.
- TOV builds trust with your audience. In one study by Harvard Business Review, 64% of customers cited that shared values are the primary reason to trust a company, among those who said they have a brand relationship. To work towards this goal, you can highlight your charitable work, donations, and important events happening in the company – especially those your audience can participate in.
- It’s what makes you different. Communicating passionately, quietly or angrily can completely impact how people interpret you. If voice and tone were not considered, everybody’s business would seem like it was run by the same people, with little to differentiate. Your fantastic, value-adding and unique business wouldn’t be distinguishable from any other. Tone of voice can demonstrate your warmth, expertise, sense of humour, or any other attribute that you want to display to consumers, and sets you apart from your competition.
- It replaces face-to-face communication. According to Forrester Research, business buyers don’t contact suppliers directly until they are up to 90% of the way through the purchase process. With fewer opportunities to talk face-to-face, your written words have to work harder than ever. Potential clients and customers may know you from your website and marketing material before they ever pick up the phone. Your tone helps to build trust with them from the start, laying the foundation for a strong working relationship. We’ve evolved to be highly attuned to subtle signals such as emotion, body language, gesture, voice, and so on. In writing, all those signals are carried by tone of voice, so that’s the only way to show your identity, your personality, and your intention.
- Provides a focus: Working on a tone of voice can be an excellent discipline for thinking about your company’s identity. You have to boil everything down to something clear and simple that anyone can understand. That helps to cut through clutter and confusion of other brands. Your tone can even help you set strategic direction. Markets are getting more crowded and competitive, so companies have to decide on their brand personality. Instead of being all things to all people, embracing a niche appeal so you can hone in on the most relevant audience.
How To Create Your Brand’s Tone of Voice
When it comes to creating your tone of voice, it all starts with understanding who your audience is, and choosing the right language to appeal to them. Then you need to determine the brand’s values that you should keep in mind when creating future content. With these elements defined, you can establish clear tone of voice guidelines to ensure that the tone comes through in every communication your brand sends out – whether that’s social media posts, blogs, articles or email newsletters, for example. As team members become more familiar with the guidelines and how to use the brand’s preferred tone, it becomes easier to create new content that falls in line with this, for consistent and effective communication.
Getting To Know Your Audience
A report by Econsultancy and IBM suggested that 56% of consumers felt most brands’ communication was irrelevant. To understand how to approach them and deliver relevant messages, you have to research your audience and adapt your content to meet their needs.
If you’re into buyer personas, you could use Google Analytics and social networks analytics data – such as age, interests, education, job title – to help identify the tone of voice you could be using. For example, if you’re looking to target business professionals in the law industry, researching into their interests could help to identify topics for blogs, articles and whitepapers, and competitor research could help identify a TOV that you can emulate. If you’re looking to target a young audience for example, you may opt for an informal, fun and friendly tone.
Another great way to determine your TOV – is to discover how your audience talk and interact with each other. Watch how your audience communicates with each other, what they like and dislike in discussion threads, what the overall tone of discussions is, and what language people use, to help you create the most popular content.
Studies suggest that emulating or mirroring the vocabulary of a particular group allows people to feel a sense of belonging. Mirroring your audience’s language will make your content pieces more relatable and bring your brand closer to them.
Communicating Brand Values
To define your core values, try answering these questions:
- Why was the company set up?
- What makes your brand unique?
- What do you stand for as a brand?
- What values do you want to share with your audience?
Then, you should answer the following questions:
- Who are we as a company?
- Who would we like to be?
- Who do we not want to be?
It may be worth going through old blogs, articles and website content to check that all content aligns with ‘who you would like to be’. A refresh, update or rewrite may be required.
Defining Your Brand’s TOV
Now comes the fun part. With all of this prior information to hand, you get to choose the actual tone of your content. Do you want it to be funny, lighthearted, and friendly? Perhaps professional, serious and formal is more your thing? Whatever you decide, it’s important that it aligns with your brand, your values and how you want to be perceived by your audience. One of my favourite strategy documents that we do here at Embryo is the TOV document. By researching into competitors and condensing this down into adjectives that describe their TOV, we can build upon this for our clients’ success.
Your brand’s TOV sets the stage for your company’s communication, expressing your brand’s personality and set of values. It’s the foundation of your marketing strategy, and should be adhered to at all times. If you’d like to learn more about creating your own TOV, I encourage you to get in touch with Embryo today on 0161 327 2635 to learn more.