5 Steps to Finding a Brand Voice
A top objective for any social presence is to stand out and be remembered. This can be accomplished with stellar content, spectacular visuals, spot on formatting, and more. The one aspect that regularly gets overlooked is voice
Finding the right voice for your social avenues can be more complicated for a multitude of reasons, especially on accounts where more than one person curates content and copy. Not to mention, a tone or voice that works really well for one company may be the completely wrong voice for another. So while you might love how Wendy’s interacts with other fast food restaurants, it might not be the best tactic for your non-profit organization.
It’s important to define and refine your voice. How do you want your customers to perceive you? Are you a silly company? Funny? Serious? Edgy? Remember, the behavior consumers MOST want from any brand on social is HONESTY.
How do you choose a voice for your brand?
1. Cast a Critical Eye on Your Current Content
Gather together a wide variety of the content you already have. Videos, web pages, social calendar, email blasts – and take a long look at what you’ve already got. Which of these are so generic they could be from your competitors? The idea is to narrow them down to pieces that are unique to your brand. These are the examples of the brand voice you want to embody.
2. Create a Life for Your Voice
Look over the pieces you singled out in step one, and find the common themes across all the content.
If your brand was a person, how would you describe its personality? It’s also a good idea to discuss how one would describe your competitors personality as well. Are they forceful? Jovial or serious? An optimist or realist? President of the pep-squad? Then decide how your brands traits make you different?
Break it down even farther by deciding how these traits show up while communicating with your audience.
- Reliable – Genuine, authentic, engaging, focussed
- Unconventional – innovative, unexpected, antagonist
- Passionate – Enthusiastic, eager, ardent
Go as far as naming this persona! Give it life! This makes it easier to “get into character” when creating content. A few name suggestions to get you going: Maisy, Annabelle, Blaze, Freya, Gertrude, Darrius, Captain Thunder…
3. Make a Voice Chart
Now that you have a general definition of your brand’s voice, demonstrate how it will appear in real life branded content. This chart will be an important point of reference to visit over and over as your team changes and as time goes on.
4. Instruct Your Writers
Make sure your team is ready to put your brands defined voice into action by meeting with team members who may be creating content or communicates with the public via social channels. Walk them through your new Voice Chart.
Create some examples to show them the intentions of the chart, and demonstrate how you would change some other content to better fit the newly defined voice.
Be sure to give them access to, and encourage them to use the Voice Chart for a quick reference.
5. Think of the Voice Chart as a Living Document
It is imperative to revisit and revise the brand chart as the company changes over time. Don’t think that just because you’ve created this chart it has to be this way until the end of time. A company’s voice can change and adjust depending on the growth and direction of the company itself.
It’s also important to update the chart with common writing problems your team comes across.
Once the voice chart is established, consider writing a more in depth document that details the specificities of certain situations. Some companies have been known to have voice reference documents that are over 100 pages long!
Have questions? We’d love to hear them. Reply in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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