When building a brand, getting your tone of voice (TOV) right is so important. It helps to keep your messaging consistent, connect with your target audience and can make your brand instantly recognisable. But it can be tricky to know where to begin. We spoke to branding and tone of voice experts who have shared their tops tips for getting started.
“The main thing I tell clients when chatting TOV, is to use the language of their audience. There's no point in communicating in a way that isn't heard. Meet your audience and intended client/customer/user where they are. Otherwise, they might not even understand what you do.”
“To avoid coming across like a faceless corporation, use the kind of conversational language and simple explanations you would use when speaking. Test this by reading out writing aloud. Does it sound like the kind of thing you’d actually say?”
“TOV doesn't have to be all about sounding like Innocent or Oatly. It could be simpler things like using less jargon, more informal versions of words, or shorter sentences etc.”
“Know when not to be informal too. A lot of the topics I write about are very sensitive, such as medical or healthcare content. So, the TOV has to reflect the nature of the topic.”
“When giving practical examples for TOV, I find it really useful to show day-to-day usage in the format of ‘we'd say this xxxxx but not this xxxxx.’ For example, ‘We speak conversationally, but we don't use slang. We might open an email with "hey, how are you?" but not "Yo, what's up?’"
“Watch out for long sentences, especially those sometimes disguised as paragraphs. Splitting up chunky sentences and varying how long they are helps add rhythm. And it makes your writing easier to digest. A one-word sentence is okay too. Really.”
“People often forget how much microcopy can play a part in the voice. Using jokey language, even if it’s in your usual TOV is going to be poorly received if you don’t consider the emotional state of the reader when you’re writing. If it’s a high-stress situation (like an error message) an “oh noes!” type message could frustrate them further. Put guidelines in your TOV to cover these scenarios.”
“It’s so important for your TOV to be authentic to your brand. People are much savvier to branding now and can see through anything too try-hard or when a brand is trying to be something they are not. Your TOV should reflect your brand and speak directly to your audience.”
Getting your tone of voice right can take time and it’s important to put the work in early on to establish the right tone for your brand. If you would like to find out how we can help you hit the right notes with your tone of voice, get in touch now.
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