Boy shouting into mic checking his tone of voice

How to Stand Out From Competitors with Your Tone of Voice

Are your sales stagnating?

Do you focus on the price, quality, or other features of your product or service?

Most businesses find that after a couple of years of being set up, that they’re stuck. They need to grow but the things they’ve been doing until that point, aren’t helping them do that.

That’s because they don’t have a consistent tone of voice.

What does tone of voice mean?

Tone of voice is about creating a unique personality for your business.

It is how you communicate consistently both inside and outside your organisation and it will help you get clear, confident, and in control of your copy.

Is tone of voice and branding the same?

Tone of voice and branding is similar but not the same.

Branding is usually used to refer to the visual aspects of your company such as the logo, font, and colour palette.

Tone of voice is specifically about your messaging and how you consistently communicate to create a unique personality that your customers love.

Some will call it tone of voice, some will call it verbal branding, or brand voice, but it’s all about how you are communicating.  

Should my tone of voice change for different platforms?

No. Your tone of voice shouldn’t change much on different platforms.

You can dial it up or down, but you should always sound like you whether it’s on your website, social media, or printed marketing.

Benefits of having tone of voice guidelines

Your tone of voice guide will mean a steady stream of customers who love how you make them feel, not just what you sell to them.

1. Your customers become your salespeople

By creating a unique personality that customers like, they will rave about your brand to everyone.

Consumers are more likely to believe the word of others rather than the business themselves, which makes these raving fans all the more valuable.

2. Stand out from your competition

Sick of the same boring messaging from brands?

So are your potential customers.

Which is why a tone of voice will help you sound different and stand out amongst the sound of white noise.

When you create a unique tone of voice you don’t have to worry about competing on price or other commodities because consumers will choose you over competitors’ because they like you. Even if your product or service costs moremeaning you can get steady sales without having to discount your product or services.

3. Make decisions quicker

Your tone of voice guide will include your goals.

And when making decisions you can simply look at your guide and ask, ‘Does this help with our goal of…’

It means you can make quick decisions and be reactive.

How to create a tone of voice framework for your business

Tone of voice guidelines don’t have to be complicated. They should be concise and give you practical steps on how to communicate.

Customer voice

To understand what’s going to resonate with your audience, you need to know them inside out.

Carry out thorough research on your customer and gather recurring words together to use in your copy.

Brand personality

If your company was a person, who would it be?

Write down descriptive words of this person and use these to inform how you write.

If your brand is humorous, say what kind of humour. Is it like Monty Python or is it like Frankie Boyle?

Does this person swear, use slang, or use verbose language and long sentences?

For example, Virgin are a humorous brand, and they define this in their tone of voice guidelines as ‘witty, topical humour’ but they don’t use ‘dad jokes or bad puns’.

Style guide

Just like publications follow the Associated Press Style guide, you should have a style guide of your own.

A style guide lists what spelling and grammar you use, what way you write dates, if you use emojis, and how you do it for each platform.

For example, if you are a brand that wants to be conversational, you’re probably going to use contractions such as ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ to sound more casual.

A brand that wants to be more formal probably wouldn’t use these.

How to implement your tone of voice

Once you’ve created the tone of voice guidelines either in-house or by using a tone of voice copywriter, make sure to carry out training with your staff on how to use your tone of voice framework and the importance of doing so.

And remember it’s a living document, so review your tone of voice document on at least an annual basis.

A tone of voice guide is what separates brands from companies people love and consistently buy from whether the product or service is better, and companies that blend in with everyone else.

Which do you want to be?

Guest post by Rebecca Boyle, SEO Copywriter. Rebecca Boyle is an SEO copywriter specialising in web copy and tone of voice. She lives in Northern Ireland with her husband and German Shepherd and lives to have a wee glass of whiskey at the weekend. 

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

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