How would you like your brand to appear to your audience and how do you address your customers? This falls within the remit of your organisation’s tone of voice, the language you use and the manner in which your business is perceived by the audience segment consuming your product and marketing content. In a nutshell, what you say and how you say it.
As organisations increasingly move towards short-form content which is findable and user friendly on a wide variety of devices, it is imperative that they raise customers’ perception of approachability and trustworthiness whilst retaining a consistent tone of voice across all content. This should include all formats; not only the written word but also interactional, visual and informational content.
The creation of tone of voice guidance is designed to increase the utility of content and there are several tips to be borne in mind when creating compelling content for today’s demanding consumers whilst, at the same time, removing any friction:
- Write with an active, and not a passive, voice to bring more energy to the content, creating better comprehension
- Involve the audience by using ‘you’ and ‘we’ to make them feel they are being personally addressed
- Keep it simple by breaking the content down into succinct messages and making it easy to navigate
- Check that your content is benefit led (with examples where appropriate) and not just a list of features in order to capture your customers’ attention
- Avoid the creation of barriers as a result of using colloquialisms, abbreviations and industry-specific language
- And of course test, iterate, edit … repeat
When localising your content, different locales may each require a unique approach to capture the audience’s attention. Tone of voice is not ubiquitous and some markets will expect a more formal approach, others a relaxed and chatty interaction. Of course, the product or service you are selling will also impact on the choices you make. Financial services content, for example, is required to meet market-specific regulatory requirements.
Tone of voice guidance is just one element of the content strategist’s governance portfolio which also includes brand guidelines, glossaries/terminology databases and style guidelines.