What is tone of voice, and why is it so important in writing? When writing blogs, webpages, or any professionally published work for a client or brand, tone of voice is a crucial part of the process. For starters, the tone of your writing affects how readers (potential customers, in particular) will resonate, identify, and connect with your brand. Therefore, tone of voice should encompass your brand’s identity, values, and character; it should breathe the personality of your business into your content.
Just as the target audience affects the tone of voice, tone of voice affects the target audience. The type of tone determines whether or not the content will attract or deter a reader. If your tone is young and fresh and composed of modern lingo and slang, it is likely to attract and appeal to an audience that identifies strongly with and uses this tone (such as millennial readers). Whereas a more conservative or traditional business professional may be deterred or turned off by such a tone. This is why it is important to consider the target audience when determining which tone to use since it will affect the ability of content to resonate with readers.
Just like tone is the driving force behind the connection and trust built between a reader/consumer and a brand, it is also important to understand the many different types of tone of voice and when it is appropriate to use them.
Types of Tone of Voice and When It Is Appropriate to Use Them
There are many different categories for tone of voice: formal vs. informal, optimistic vs. pessimistic, and persuasive, to name a few. There are also tones that speak more to a brand’s personality, such as friendly, casual, inviting, humorous, or sarcastic. Categories of tone can also depend on the message or initiative, such as informative, authoritative, critical, persuasive, etc.
It may be useful to put together a brand guide outlining your brand’s values and mission. Including some key descriptors of your brand’s qualities, target audience, and goals within this guide will also help you develop your brand’s tone of voice. A brand guide is just as important to design as it is to content, as this guide not only details your brand’s personality and traits but will function to develop your brand’s tone of voice for content writing on your website.
The tone of voice that best suits your writing depends almost entirely on three factors: your target audience, your brand’s identity, and the driving point of your content.
Here’s an example:
Brand: Wells Fargo
Target audience: Business professionals with interest in the finance industry
Description: This blog will inform and educate readers on investment strategies
For this blog, the writer might consider a more formal, informative, and even dry tone of voice.
How to Pinpoint Your Brand’s Tone of Voice
To pinpoint your brand’s specific tone of voice, it’s a good idea to first consider how you want your content to read. Essentially, how the voice of your brand’s content addresses and speaks to a reader is the first critical factor in determining your tone. For example, do you want your content to address readers (potential and or returning customers) formally or in a much more casual, relaxed, and informal manner? This may all depend on the type of reader your content will be speaking to; this is where the target audience comes into play.
Your target audience will influence your brand’s tone immensely. Who is your brand trying to reach? Considering your target audience will allow you to develop your content in a way that not only reflects your brand’s identity but also in an engaging and relatable way to your target audience.
Understanding your brand’s value(s) and initiative(s) are critical factors in fleshing out your tone of voice. Consider your team, culture, and mission. What does your brand stand for? Who are your team members? What is your brand’s culture like? What is your mission statement? All of these things contribute to your brand’s greater identity, and, as a result, the tone you should work into your content.
For example, if your brand is made up of a young and lively team with a big family-style culture and a mission to work closely with your clients, your tone of voice may be casual, friendly, inviting, young, and excited.
When it comes to identifying your tone, be as specific as you can. There are general, overarching categories for tone of voice, but the uniqueness and individuality of your brand should be captured and emulated in the specificity of your tone.
While understanding how to use tone of voice and discovering your brand’s specific tone may seem like a complex and time-consuming process, it is perhaps one of the most crucial steps you must take in developing content for your brand. Once you’ve established a clear and appropriate tone, the writing will flow more naturally.
We Know Tone Like the Back of Our Hand
Here at Zero Gravity Marketing, our content marketing strategists are experts in identifying and emulating tone of voice. We specialize in understanding our client’s mission, culture, and values to develop their niche tone because we want our client’s voices to be heard and their needs exceeded. Contact Zero Gravity Marketing today to get started with your content marketing initiatives!