No matter what industry you’re writing for, you need to know how to separate one tone of voice from another. This is crucial; after all, the TOV you use for a food brand isn’t going to be the same for a financial services company. So, how do you differentiate and find your flow? Well, the answers lie in this blog post!
I’ve listed the top ways to write content in a variety of different tones of voice, just read on to find out more…
Think about your audience before you start
To perfect your writing tone, you first need to consider who exactly you’re writing for; this is key. To ensure the user experience is top-notch, you need to think about what you’re trying to market and the kind of people who will be interested.
Remember to consider vocabulary, and how it can be used for the customers you are targeting. Because when you’re writing, you naturally use different vocabulary to make your point but the words you use are integral to suit a brand’s tone of voice. For example, don’t use modern abbreviations and slang words if you’re writing copy for a pension company, where the target audience is people over 50.
Discuss content gripes with your brand
If you’re not-so-new to the content race, remember to find out if there are any big no-no’s when it comes to writing copy for the brand you’re writing for. It may be that certain phrases or terms aren’t appropriate for the target audience, or flowery language or idioms don’t suit the tone of voice. All of this you can uncover by simply asking.
Also, if you’ve worked on one piece of work already and the brand stated certain words don’t suit their newly-formed tone of voice, make a note of this (both mentally and physically). After doing so, ensure you have that document (or notepad) open for when you next start tapping away on your laptop to create a masterpiece. This avoids extra edits in the future and will also help you understand their tone of voice in more detail.
Look at past examples of a brand’s work
The second thing to do – after thinking about your audience, is to look at previous work your brand has produced, as well as competitor content. This will sit on the website’s blog posts and landing pages, so ensure you check out product copy as well. This gives you a good idea of what style of TOV works best for the brand and what the audience wants to see from your content. But hopefully, you will receive a style guide beforehand.
Evaluate the different tones of voice to write in
There are so many tones of voice to consider when writing copy, but that’s half the fun of it. No two industries are (exactly) the same; being able to toy with language and punctuation to really bring out a brand’s online personality is not only fun but also highly effective.
So, what are the different tones of voice to write in and what should you be aware of?
Casual and conversational
A more casual, funny, and personal tone of voice can be applied to so many brands, and personally, it’s my favourite. When writing in this TOV, your words can flow so naturally because you can put your own stamp on what’s being written.
It may be that you are writing for a fun, new doughnut or package holiday brand. Either way, you can personalise your content to reach the person on the page and use conversational terms to really grab their attention.
The only thing I’d say is, don’t pack your content with too many buzzwords, idioms, or metaphors. You don’t want the customer to lose focus because they might do this if you overdo it!
Writing formal content is all about stripping it back. See what I did there? Usually, a more formal tone of voice is needed for brands that offer a service that is practical but helpful, such as debt collection or car insurance. This tone of voice is easy when you know how, but my most essential piece of advice is to avoid heavy use of adjectives. Because it’s likely the product or service being sold is meant to be informative rather than descriptive.
So if you work in financial, conveyancing or mortgage industries, you need to avoid using a tongue-in-cheek tone of voice. Also, remember to write from a third-person point of view.
For example, type a sentence like: “Users will benefit from this product’s clever interface” to discuss a Sat Nav. Notice here that the term “users” has been used instead of referring to the audience directly (i.e., typing “you”).
You might have a children’s toy brand you’re writing landing page copy for, and instantly think, “Children’s toys, this calls for fun-style content!” Although this is partially true, go back to what I mentioned before: the audience reading your content. Because it’s not the kids but the parents who will be reading your copy, so they’ll want you to play with language a little bit while taking a serious tone.
For instance, “This Buzz Lightyear toy, which is suitable for children over three, will bring a smile to your little one’s face.”
The above sentence is lightweight but still serious and informative, to warn the parent that as much fun as it is, it’s dangerous for a child under three to play with. Simply learn from this example when you’re writing copy for brands that have important policies and rules behind their products. Because as much as the tone of voice is important, getting the facts right and stating the seriousness of a potential situation is much more crucial.
Top tip: Look at your competitor’s content
If you’re new to a brand and want to suss out their tone of voice, there’s no harm in looking at what their competitor’s writing style and TOV are like. This helps you decipher what the audience is reading and can provide you with important insights. But it can also show you what not to do in some scenarios, which is equally as useful.
Well, there you have it. Now you know how to whip up a sentence that suits every style and format, and tailor it to whatever industry you work in. It’s much simpler than you think once you get the hang of it. It’s basically about trial and error, and really getting to grips with the audience you’re writing for.