My high school English teacher, Ms. Solli, was a terrifying woman. I don’t think she’d mind my saying so. She wasn’t particularly imposing to look at, but she had absolute and total control of the room.
When Ms. Solli spoke, the back row — notoriously filled with troublemakers and slackers — was silent. The popular girls who would usually spend their classroom periods surreptitiously texting each other on their Motorola RAZR flip phones (remember those?) sat rapt with attention. A tense silence would fill the air as we all waited for Ms. Solli to educate us on Kerouac, Faulkner, and Hemingway.
Ms. Solli’s authority came from her voice. She was able to evoke an emotional response from her audience — and in the case of my 12th grade College Prep English Lit class, that emotion was fear.
Your brand has a voice, too — and it represents your brand’s personality. The voice is determined by the way you use content to engage with your audience: the sentences you write on your website and your blog, the action words you use, and how you express your business’ vision.
Your brand’s voice represents your business’ personality
Think of your brand as a person: All your content should sound like it belongs to your brand, or like it’s something your brand would say. Now, unlike Ms. Solli, your brand is not likely to say something like, “Write a five-page thematic analysis of the plot and underscore the individual motivations of all major characters by Friday.” Consider instead these examples:
Patagonia. This clothing line is aimed at the adventurous; marketing materials often show active adults in uncharted territories. Patagonia’s brand professes a love for the wild side of the planet, inviting everyone to take part in that feeling.
Corepower Yoga. Corepower Yoga’s main slogan — “Live your power” — appeals to an audience that wants to build a physical and emotional experience. Corepower is strong; it’s appealing to other strong-minded individuals, or to individuals who aspire to be strong.
If your company makes children’s clothing, your brand voice will likely be playful and focused on fun; if your company is a medical practice, or plastic surgery office, your voice will be informative, authoritative and helpful.
How to determine your brand’s voice
If you’re not sure what your company’s voice is and how to use it to your advantage, fret not. We got you. Here are three key things to consider when determining your brand’s voice:
Personality. If your brand was a person, who would they be? Would they be the best friend, quick with one-liners and advice? Would they be the aspirational acquaintance, the one who’s always traveling and doing cool things first? Would they be the patient, sensitive authority figure most would like to turn to with an issue? Figure out what archetype your brand fits and go from there.
Perception. How your brand is perceived in the marketplace has a huge impact on how successful your marketing campaign and content are. Imagine if Corepower had a blog post about how tasty cheeseburgers are: Cheeseburgers are, in fact, delicious, but it’s off-brand for Corepower to say so. Corepower’s audience is more likely to be interested in hearing about the benefits of lean red meat in a balanced diet. If your brand voice is delivering contrary content, that’s a problem. Cast a survey about how your brand is perceived by your customers and others.
Competition. Survey the competition in your field. It will be important for you to differentiate yourself from the competition with your voice. If you have a plastic surgery office, your voice should probably not take the role of the best friend who tells you, after three mojitos, to definitely leave your phone number for the bartender; the voice should instead be the older sister, who authoritatively advises you on making the right choice for you and provides helpful information for you to make your decision.
Making sure your brand’s voice is reflected in your blogs
In inbound marketing, blogs are a staple in the overall marketing campaign. This is where you’ll really have the opportunity to flex your voice and get into character.
Your buying personas will come in handy here — you’re essentially providing this content for them. They will have specific concerns, motivations, and points that your voice will consistently address.
More than anything, your blogs should never fail to add value to your website and your company overall. Think of what your customer needs: If it’s a cosmetic procedure, they may be looking for someone to decode the myths behind certain practices; if it’s a tent for a camping trip they’re going on, they may be looking for other helpful camping tips, like how to warm up beans without a stove. Your role — and what your voice should do — is stay by the customer, give them direction, and enable them to have a deeper connection to your brand.
Do you want to know more about brand voice and how it relates to inbound marketing? Do you think maybe inbound marketing could help you improve your voice and grow your business? Contact us today to receive a free assessment!