As a copywriter, shaping a brand’s voice is a fundamental part of your craft.
It is your job to clearly and concisely convey who your brand is, what they offer, and what makes them unique. Of course, you also need to hit the appropriate tone to fully maximize the message and establish a consistent personality.
If you pull it off, your brand’s voice can act as a differentiator in the market. It can resonate with your audience and win you their loyalty over your competitors. It’s not easy to do, but if you conduct the right research and build detailed guidelines, you can absolutely develop a unique voice for your company or clients.
Below are seven questions that will ensure that you are taking on the right brand voice as a copywriter.
1. What is a brand?
Before we dive into brand voice, let’s define what a brand actually is.
Generally speaking, a brand is a way a company promotes itself and shapes the public’s perception. Many people wrongly assume it’s the company name, logos, or slogans. These are marketing tools that are often trademarked. And a successful brand identity does utilize these in campaigns ranging from driving interest to overcoming objections to gain more of a market share.
Certain key aspects are essential in brand marketing. Knowing them can help define what message you need to convey more clearly. The Melior Group outlines five aspects that define a brand:
- Brand promise: what consumers will actually get interacting with you and the feelings they will have in the “relationship” with you.
- Brand elements: the tangible and the intangible components that work together to clearly and consistently communicate the aspects of your brand. (Like using royalty free lofi hip hop in your marketing videos.)
- Brand persona: how consumers judge and evaluate you before doing business with you and, subsequently, establishing a relationship.
- Brand perceptions: how consumers comprehend your brand… and does it actually reflect/represent what you want it to.
- Brand expectations: every interaction with the brand matters, and must be what consumers expect.
Embracing and reflecting these aspects will make your copy more effective as it ensures brand consistency. That consistent messaging is what a brand expects you to relay to the reader. This familiarity will in turn increase reader engagement. And that is the point of great content after all.
When working with a brand you need to answer certain questions to make more compelling content. What are the company’s personality and core values? What makes their goods and or services unique? These are the key elements you need to convey.
2. So, what is your brand?
For a brand to be successful, your copy needs to establish and reinforce emotional connections between the business and your audience. In an age where there are at least three software options in every category, branding can be the reason why people choose one company over the others.
You should positively reinforce the brand’s image by underscoring the values embodied in its products, services, and history.
3. What is the message?
Messaging and brand are often conflated, but these terms do not mean the same thing. Messaging refers to what you’re saying. The brand voice is how you say it.
Brands have a variety of messages to send out to current and potential customers. Your job is to deliver those messages in an engaging manner to drive results. Maintaining the through-line of the message within your uniquely memorable content is essential for more opportunities to write for a brand.
Naturally, messaging will change depending on the context. There will be times when there are multiple key points a brand is trying to convey in their messaging. 99designs details the 9 common brand messages:
- The mission statement typically explains why they do what they do.
- The vision statement sets a future goal for the brand.
- Values show how your brand will conduct business.
- A positioning statement illustrates the what, who and how of the brand.
- Differentiators are used to separating them from the competition.
- Value propositions further define what they do for their customers.
- Voice is how they say their messages.
- Slogans are used to keep them in customers’ minds.
- Elevator pitches describe as much as you can in as few words as possible.
Determining which messages need to be expressed and underscoring them with the right tone is essential to making sure your copy is not muddled.
4. What is the appropriate tone?
Tone is how you convey the voice of the brand, but it is often highly dependent on the subject being addressed. Your brand’s tone of voice can vary from the excitement of hyping a new product to the humility of addressing customer dissatisfaction. The correct tone is vital for quickly establishing and maintaining an emotional connection with the target audience. Tonal consistency throughout your copy will make your writing more compelling and reinforce the brand’s particular messages.
But the tone is more than that. Felecia C. Sullivan goes into greater detail about this vitally important tool for copywriters:
- Tone and voice are how a brand communicates in all its actions and interactions.
- The tone of voice is the expression and embodiment of your brand’s personality, beliefs, and values.
- This includes the words you use and how you use them.
- A brand’s voice must align with its personality.
- As a copywriter, you need to lead with that personality and continually reinforce it.
- Because customers crave clarity and consistency.
Tonal constancy is an essential element of creating and maintaining a brand personality.
It should reflect not only their values but also serve as a reflection of the target audience as well.
Tone is also reflected in the marketing that accompanies the copy. For example, if you’re trying to build an element of suspense for your new product launch, you’d want to use some royalty free suspense music in your marketing videos.
By establishing a consistent tonality you ensure that your content has a familiar resonance with your audience.
5. Who is your audience?
Established brands realize that they can not be all things to all people. In fact, trying to please everyone will water down your brand voice to the point that it’s indistinguishable from your competition.
By specifically choosing what your brand does and does not sound like, you more clearly define who your content is designed to reach. Modeling your voice to the audience makes sure the message sticks in the audience’s mind. They want something that speaks to them. So make sure your voice resonates by defining your core characteristics and sticking to them.
6. Are you expected to follow a guide?
There are times when you will receive an assignment with a template or guidelines to follow. This is brand consistency put into practice. Following these structures will ensure that your writing voice echoes the brand. And that is the essence of being a successful copywriter.
(If your organization doesn’t already have a brand voice guide, now might be the perfect time to create one.)
7. What copy do you like?
Like any writer, you need to study your chosen field. Learn to read other writers’ copy with a discerning eye for what works and why. Look at the word choice and sentence structure to see how effective the message reaches the target audience.
Is the tone consistent with the brand’s established values and overall messaging? Look for how another writer uses emotional connections to elicit positive reinforcement of the brand.
Taking on the right brand voice as a copywriter is essential. It reinforces the brand’s personality and values. This familiarity will be welcomed by the reader and will increase engagement. Always tailor your voice to the tone that is appropriate for the brand, message, and audience for maximum effectiveness. Remember you are the voice of that brand and they want you to make them heard loud and clear.