Updated: Sep 9, 2020
A lot of work goes into starting a blog or building a website. It can be very tempting to plow through and “get it done” without giving much thought to how your company communicates. If you’ve been in business for a while, you may think you know how your company’s “voice” should sound. But, if you haven’t put it all down in words, you probably haven’t given it the attention it deserves.
It’s Not Just What You Say; It’s How You Say It
Creating a brand voice and tone guide for your business is a crucial step. Ideally, you should have one before you start writing. The language you use (or don’t use) directly impacts how customers view your business. It’s kind of hard to be “on brand” if you haven’t defined what your brand is, right?
It may seem fussy, but having a concrete plan for how your business communicates can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. The messages your company sends out have to sound like they came from your business. Whether it’s a social media post or a landing page, consistency matters to your customers.
Your tone guide will be a messaging bible for your employees and any outside help you choose to hire. It will help you sharpen your focus and create a better experience for your customers.
Brand Voice vs. Tone
What is the difference between “tone” and “voice”? Your tone changes, your voice doesn’t. Think about how your tone changes when you talk to a friend versus someone you don’t know very well. The tone of your content needs to match the person your speaking to and their state of mind.
On the other hand, your voice refers to your communication style and how you choose to present yourself. It’s your brand’s “personality,” and it provides the human touch consumers want.
Ask yourself, “What would my business be like if it were a person?”
That might sound strange, but if you read any major company’s copy, it will feel like the same person wrote it—even though that’s probably not the case.
As you define your messaging style, consider the person you’re targeting. Who is your ideal customer? What’s going through their heads right now? Where are they at in the decision-making process? Are they just learning about you, or are they an existing customer? The answers to these questions will change the tone of your piece.
Saving Your You-Know-What
When your customers are dissatisfied, they’re not afraid to let you (and the entire internet) know about it. Having a tone guide that outlines how your company will respond to bad reviews or negative publicity makes a huge difference.
I’ve seen many small business owners take a bad review and make it worse by responding inappropriately. It’s easy to get emotional when receiving negative feedback. When you decide how you’re going to deal with these situations in advance, it takes the heat off and allows you to make better choices for your business. Do yourself a favor and have a plan for when the you-know-what hits the fan.
Set Yourself Apart From Other Businesses
When you develop your brand voice and tone guide, you are defining your business. Most small businesses don’t do this for themselves, and it shows. Take control of your company’s messaging from the very beginning.
It will prevent you from wasting time writing and rewriting your marketing materials because they don’t “sound right.” It will also give you a roadmap to follow when engaging with customers.
Need help finding your voice? Get a free quote.