Writing is about connection. Especially in a post-pandemic world, your audience craves the feeling of a connection to your brand.
So, how do you cultivate that connection?
You’ve probably already built your target audience profile and determined “who” it is you’re trying to reach. As you realize how you will connect with that target audience the best, you’ll have to create your company’s voice.
This is a big step, especially in the middle of re-branding if your voice is changing. We can help you work with your freelance writer to determine your tone of voice and how it will best impact your audience. We’ll start by explaining why tone is essential and how your choices will help direct your writing.
Tone vs. Voice
When you write, your tone of voice is one of the most important tools you have to make a connection. Tone can make an audience feel welcomed and appreciated, or it can make them feel alienated and uncomfortable.
Tone of voice and writing voice are two separate concepts that can sometimes be confusing despite their similarities.
Here’s the easiest way to differentiate the two: your writing voice is your personality; your tone is how you express that personality.
So when you’re thinking about your brand’s personality, is there an actor, a writer, a musician, or an occupation that you think your writing should sound like? Is your personality Tom Hanks or Tom Jones or Tom Brady? Maybe you prefer your personality to be more Comedian or Explorer or Professor.
Now that you’re adding a tone, how you sound will determine your connection to your audience. Let’s use the example of Tom Hanks. Is your tone forceful like “Road to Perdition,” fun-loving like “Big,” or a leader like “Toy Story”?
How can your hired writer help you differentiate? When you work with a professional writer who is well-versed in tone and voice, they can create the same content for you using multiple voices and tones. Having the examples your writer creates in front of you can help you determine the best tone and voice combination that “sounds” like your brand.
There are four primary tones that you can use in your writing:
Each has its purpose and effect on the reader, so understanding when and how to use them is key to developing that connection with your audience.
A formal tone is professional, respectful, and polite. It is the tone you would use when writing whitepapers or reports. This tone is appropriate for most business writing, as it creates an atmosphere of professionalism and respect.
An informal tone is more personal and friendly. It is the tone you usually use when writing an email to a friend or family member. This tone can be helpful when you want to build a rapport with your audience or create a more relaxed atmosphere.
A playful tone adds a lighthearted, humorous touch to your writing. It is often used in children’s stories, advertising, and social media posts. Key features of a playful tone are humor, playfulness, and lightheartedness. When writing in a playful tone, you find that your professional writer will feel free to use puns, jokes, and exaggeration for effect.
A serious tone is used to convey importance, gravity, and sincerity. It is often used in editorials, news stories, and reports. Key features of a serious tone are sobriety, earnestness, and solemnity. When writing in a serious tone, avoid using humor or exaggeration, and focus on using precise, factual language. However, a serious tone isn’t one that needs to “overwrite” or use language that confuses the audience.
Why Tone Matters
Tone confirms your voice and personality and is among the main drivers of brand perception. It’s essential to use the right tone for your brand and to be consistent in using that tone across all communications.
When helping to define the tone for your overall content creation, consider:
- What kind of personality do you want your brand to have?
- What feelings do you want your customers to have when interacting with your brand?
- What kind of relationship do you want to have with your customers?
Taking the time to answer these questions will help you define the kind of tone that’s right for your brand so that your freelance writer can immediately connect with your audience on a deeper level.
Once you have found your voice — your personality — consider the different tones you’d like to use for different types of content. You’ll want a different tone for whitepapers than you will for blog posts, so work with your writer to determine which is ideal for each piece of content.
As you are conducting interviews to hire a writer, make sure you discuss tone and your writer’s ability to compose for your audience using different tones. Connecting with your writer right away will help your brand inspire those relationships with your audience.
Your Freelance Writer Can Set the ‘Tone’
After you’ve developed your target audience profile, your next step should be to find a blog writer or freelance editor to join your team. Your content partner will help you develop the best tone — and voice — to reach that target audience. They can help you workshop your best solutions, so your content reaches your customers on the first try.
You also want to ensure that your freelance writer can help you set brand standards. While you’re ensuring tone in your writing, you also want to maintain a recognizable and consistent tone across all communication platforms (even internal).
Your content partners can help you develop a brand style guide that outlines the preferred tone for all of your written communications.
Your tone will impact the way your audience perceives your message. To create content with a robust and recognizable voice, choose a tone that best fits your goals and your audience, and use it consistently across all channels. Hire a writer and editor to help your brand develop and cultivate its tone and voice.