While perhaps not as immediately recognizable as your visual brand (logo, color palette, etc.), the voice you use to communicate with your audience is crucial to success.
Most of your communication with your target market is in written form, including your website, marketing materials and much of your social media output. Having a clear, well-defined personality in your writing helps you stand out amid all the other marketing chatter. It also emotionally connects you to prospects and usually converts listeners into customers.
Who Are You?
Would customers describe your company as formal and scholarly? Relaxed and friendly? Witty and irreverent? How do you want them to describe you? It’s quite possible your vision of you and their vision of you may not currently line up. Repair any disconnect by defining or refining your voice.
Rolling the Dice
Some companies adopt a voice without ever acknowledging that they have done so – they naturally begin speaking effectively to users. Others officially sanction a certain style of communication, without any research or reflection. This approach usually results from a directive from upper management to “sound cool and confident” like another competitor.
The most successful companies take a different, more strategic approach. Voice selection involves a process of determining mission statements, defining customers and how to reach them, consideration of effective tone and developing message consistency.
- Identify your values. Your company’s mission should directly reflect its presentation. For example, if you’re mission is to end childhood hunger, a sassy, snarky voice will not likely help you connect with your audience.
- Consider your competitors. While you don’t want to mimic them, having a sense of what works (or doesn’t) for others in your industry can be very informative.
- Listen to your audience. Specifically, understand how they talk to one another. From the vocabulary they use to issues that stir their passions, be sure you can accurately and effectively inject your brand into their everyday lives.
- Test your assumptions. As you begin to zero in on your corporate voice, do some testing. Your target market’s reaction to your blog posts, emails and social media updates can help you understand successes and identify where to refine your messaging.
- Document your voice. Once you find your voice, produce a detailed description (guidelines) for all written communication to follow. Include lists of key words, phrases and topics that are encouraged as well as a comprehensive list of what NOT to do.
Once you’ve identified the ideal voice for your company, you can speak clearly, confidently and persuasively to your eager audience.