If you published a powerful piece of content without your name on it, would your customers know it is from you? If you're not sure, you've got some work to do.
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to marketing is to create a business voice that stands out and is easy to connect with. Remember, we've gotten away from just selling our products through content and are now focused on producing value and telling stories. To do this effectively you must create a style and tone for your business that can be used across all platforms and documents.
Remember, your customers probably won’t acknowledge that you have a set style in place because they will be too caught up in effortlessly reading your content (and that is what you want!). And often, if they do notice your writing style and tone it's when something is off and your cadence/approach/perspective doesn't match what they are familiar with.
Let's dig into why you need to establish your business voice (more specifically, your writing style and tone) sooner than later and lay out exactly how you're going to do that.
Why are style and tone necessary for business writing?
Wouldn’t it be odd to hear from a company that portrays themselves as both sarcastic and serious? As a business, you want to be heard as one voice, and you want that voice to be consistent across all platforms that your business uses.
To create the most effective style for your business, write using a tone that your customers will relate to and engage with the most. Does your audience prefer direct information? Or are they more drawn to relatable stories? Answering these questions will lead you to create a writing style for your business that will attract your customers and allow them to become familiar with your brand identity.
Though it may sound like a daunting task, developing a uniform writing style will actually save your business time in the long-run. When editing or proofreading documents, you don’t want to be scrambling to try to achieve the same tone each time. Having set guidelines on how you want your business to be portrayed will help you write using a consistent tone and will allow you to focus on other important aspects of your writing such as the key takeaways or the agonizing but crucial grammar details.
Differentiate yourself from your competition
One of the biggest struggles that businesses face is distinguishing themselves from their competition. How do you stand out from the crowd and convince your audience that your company would be their best choice? I have already explained why your business should be blogging, but to make it worth it, you need to make sure you are interacting with your customers in an effective way that stays true to your business’s values and voice.
If you have a few people who write for your business blog, allow them to write using their unique voice while still adhering to the established tone of your business. Giving your writers the freedom to do this will keep your content consistent while providing your audience with a new voice and a fresh perspective.
4 steps to creating a business voice people will connect with
1. Establish a customer persona
When writing for business, who are you writing for? The obvious answer is your customers . But you’d be surprised how often people forget that, and instead, write with their interests in mind. Before creating your business style, ask yourself, who is my customer persona? Knowing your customer persona(s) will give you insights on who your customers are, what they are interested in, and will help you create a style for your content that will best match what your customers need. This will also help you be more specific and focused in your writing. Say goodbye to generalities and unfocused writing!
2. Come up with 3 adjectives that describe your company
Describing different tones of writing can be tough, especially for business writing. A lot of your writing includes information about your business, but the most important part of your content is how you tell your story and relate with your customers. Do you want your business to be known as formal? Technical? Casual? Approachable?
Your company should choose 3 distinct adjectives that best represent who your business is, what you stand for, and what you want to be remembered as. Keep these adjectives in mind when writing all forms of content, and it will keep your tone consistent and in line with the personality of your business.
3. Create consistent outlines and formats
The organization of your content may change depending on which platform you are writing for, but making a set outline for different platforms will contribute to shaping your brand identity and make it easier for your audience to recognize your writing.
Each of your blog posts could begin with a hook or intriguing question and continue with sub-headers for each section, while your social media statuses include a few sentences that are more brief, personal, and direct to your audience. Coming up with a set structure for the various platforms your business uses will help your company stay consistent, become more recognizable, and help you relate to your audience better. The challenge here is being consistent but not becoming too predictable or boring… You want people to easily identify your content - just make sure you keep it interesting and relevant!
4. Be sure the details of your writing are consistent
When it comes to writing for a business, there are a lot of little details and “rules” to consider. Whether they are general aspects or specific details, your internal style and technical writing rules should be sorted out before you begin to write. Here are a few decisions to resolve as you create your business’s uniform style:
- Commas - Do we use a comma after each item in a list of more than 3 words?
- Conjunctions - Do we use the formal two words spelled out or do we use conjunctions?
- Headings - How are they written and capitalized?
- Product names - Which products are capitalized? Are trademarks included?
- Numbers - When do we use numbers and when are they spelled out?
To produce professional content you need to be sure your business’s content is uniform - especially when you have more than one person writing for your business. Establishing your writing style and tone creates a reference point for your writers to refer to and will help grow the recognizability of your business voice.
By employing a consistent voice, your customers will be able to read your content effortlessly and easily differentiate your company from others because of its distinguished personality!