How does Tone differ from Voice?
A strong and consistent brand voice throughout content publishing generates brand awareness and equity. You can pick numerous tones: conversational, formal, neutral, but each of these requires that your goals are in line with the message that you have to convey to your target audience. Your content voice defines your brand personality; it describes your brand values and enables you to stand out from the competition.
Voice and tone are two factors that empower your brand and, consequently, how well your product and services are received on the user’s side. To begin with, you should understand that your content tone and voice differ; your voice is the same throughout all content delivery; however, your tone varies according to the outlets. For instance, a reader would expect a formal tone on an outlet such as LinkedIn but a more casual and conversational tone on a platform like Instagram.
As a content creator, you need to know which tone is best suited to your readers. (Consider who is your target audience, based on their knowledge, demographics and so on) Your tone also changes according to your addressing issue; always ask yourself whether your tone is appropriate or inappropriate for your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of your respective audience. Enough of the rambling; let’s move on to the guidelines!
Why do you need a tone of voice?
You can choose to be formal or informal, but the most important is to make sure that your content is easily readable and never dull. A clear tone of voice reveals your brand identity. It takes only seconds for readers to decide whether your content is worth their time. The style of voice impacts your overall relationship with your audience, shaping your brand’s image. The tone is how you use your voice according to the situation. For instance, if you had to announce bad news to a friend or good news, both conditions would require two completely different tones.
- Tone of voice generates brand loyalty. Even if your business offers a SAAS, you still need to engage with your audience to enhance brand equity. By developing a tone of voice that appeals to your audience, you can even gain authority in your field if your content adds value to your user’s life. Therefore, it is crucial to decide which tone is best suited to your audience.
- Trust is build based on the relationship that you entertain with your audience. According to Sprout Social,45% of customers seek brand transparency, and only 35% of marketers find it relevant. A strong content marketing strategy will ensure that the brand guidelines are reflected in the brand’s voice and, therefore, every piece of content. Share your values, show how you treat your employees, your ethics, significant events, and emphasise your brand’s transparency. Transparency is key to building trust. And after all the crazy things we went through in 2020, we surely need more trust!
- As we already mentioned, brand voice increases brand equity; hence, users can distinguish your brand from the rest, thanks to tone of voice.
- Tone of voice affects your company’s performance. And yes, we’re talking money here! Tone consistency across all outlets shows that your brand is trustworthy and therefore worth an investment.
We strongly advise you to go through the content that inspires you and that leaves you satisfied. And if you have several pieces already but think that your voice was not consistent, go through the content and ensure that every work is revised and reflects the defined brand voice. Use a brand chart to make sure that all team members know what you’re talking about. Guidelines are essential to consistency, so don’t skip the teaching and sharing bits!
Every brand has a character and personality of its own. Whenever a product or service is designed, it is thought of as fierce, dynamic or subtle. As we previously mentioned, conducting a user persona test allows you to identify your target audience. If you find that your brand appeals to various audiences, you will quickly understand that you will have to adopt a flexible brand voice. Flexibility is not synonymous with incredibility. At every step of content creation, the unique brand voice is reflected; tones, however, may vary. Using the Social Media Explorer chart, you can fine-tune your brand voice and stick to what works for you. Your audience is not stagnant, therefore bear in mind that what works in 2021 might not work in 2023; keep up with digital marketing trends, keep track of your audience, and you’ll be sure not to miss out on significant changes. For instance, if you are raising awareness regarding children, you’re likely to adopt a gentle and concerned voice that reflect your concerns. In contrast, if you’re a circus owner, your voice will be livelier and entertaining.
So, we’ve already established the difference between voice and tone. You have to decide whether your brand will be fun and entertaining or something that requires a certain degree of seriousness. B2Bs tend to adopt a more scientific tone since they seek to educate their audience and wish to acquire authority within their field of expertise. Being humble is probably your best bet; if you think you’re better than your audience and you sound like it, users are likely to walk away from your page within the first few secs!
The use of language is more complex than you might think. A lot of us tend to believe that language does not matter when it comes to content. But if you sound rude and too complex, your audience is likely to go somewhere else. If you wish to sound like you are an expert, use the correct jargon; however, provide the definitions if technical terms are excessively complex, and if you want to sound fun and entertaining, keep up with the kids on the block. Don’t try too hard; stick to what works best for you while allowing variations.
The purpose of every content delivered is to build engagement and to enhance your relationship with your audience. Your brand voice and tone are defined by your brand’s purpose and what it can do for them. A blog is often the best way for businesses to showcase their products and services subtly. Nobody needs someone telling them what to buy, so instead, blogs focus on issues that their product or service might help resolve. Blogs often adopt a humble tone since they seek to educate their user base. The goal is not always to sell something but rather to build a strong presence in the market and acquire authority. A roadmap can help your team understand how to develop their writing or speaking skills to represent your brand across various channels.
A few words such as entertaining, educational, honest, humble, modest can instantly help your team members understand how to formulate content. Think of a list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ to avoid any mishaps.
Voice User Experience (VUX)
User experience is one of your most significant assets, and so is VUX. Sounds cool, right? The voice and techniques used to deliver the brand voice require a clearly defined purpose. Always think of the situation in real life and how you would wish to sound. E.g. when writing an email to a colleague, you would adopt a relatively informal tone depending on how close you are to the person. Still, when communicating externally, you would make sure to reflect your brand’s voice to build a strong brand image of your company.
Adjusting your tone according to your audience’s requirements is a must. Every person in a business represents the brand in one way or another, so the brand voice must be communicated across all levels. Every piece of content (memos, emails, social media posts, blog posts, presentations) should follow the established brand voice guidelines.
Now let’s take a look at CONTADU’s tone & voice.
At CONTADU, we have a lot to say about content intelligence, and since we possess years of expertise in content intelligence, we know how easy it is to confuse our readers. So, we avoid using tech argot but still deliver expert content that seeks to educate our audience without sounding condescending. We have adopted a somewhat conversational voice to connect with every type of reader. We take what we do seriously but still find ways to deliver entertaining content for our audience. We have a good sense of humour, but we know that we can teach you how to perfect your content marketing strategy from scratch.
CONTADU’s tone is usually formal, almost scientific, but allows room for slang and entertainment since one of our goals is to educate while entertaining our readers. We seek to deliver content that educates the reader through precise and reliable pieces. Therefore, while entertaining, we know we’re focusing on our reader’s intent and, therefore, consider their possible state of mind after reading our content. Remember, content can be in any form; it can be a campaign, a video, an image, but you have to make sure that the tone remains consistent. You have developed a unique voice that is being communicated at every step of your content marketing strategy. For instance, a GIF on a Friday evening would be entertaining and would likely make your reader smile; however, it might seem inconsistent and even suspicious to some if you have done it before.
Voice Tips From us:
Now that we have established that voice matters. At CONTADU, we have a few basic rules when it comes to our voice. Here are some of the elements:
- The use of active voice.
- Minimal use of tech jargon. While some of our content might require a bit of research, we try to make our content as readable as possible since we aim at a broad audience, from freelancers to experts.
- Positive writing for pragmatism. Cause anything that sounds negative will discourage your reader from further reading.
- Research your target audience to identify and address their needs and use words to build engagement.
- Convince your audience using the right tone and voice that convince them that they desire your solution.
- Write high-quality expert content that enhances your credibility and boosts your image. Both readers and Google should love your content. (SEO is, therefore, a must.)
- If writing is not your thing, hire experts who understand your brand inside and out.
- Your voice should be consistent, while your tone can vary according to the content piece or situation.
- The brand voice should be communicated internally and externally to generate a unique brand image.
It’s crucial for anyone who sells a product/ service to recognise the significance of constructing a strong brand persona and develop the right voice. Brand voice can serve as a guide to setting the right tone for a particular product or service. Always keep in mind who is your target audience. For instance, you would not use slang if your content was directed at senior citizens. Our tips are here only to help you create a solid and vital brand voice. The rest is up to you; at the core of your brand voice is your product/service and your potential customers; once you have identified your user persona, you can easily alter your tone according to the requirements.
How did you find your brand voice? We’d like to hear and learn from you in the comments!