Copywriting 101: Creating a Unique Brand Voice
When it comes to effective brand copywriting, it’s not just about what you say, it’s about how you say it.
Even with the best marketing strategy in the world, if you don’t have a clear brand voice you are going to struggle to get your point across and engage with your target audience with any kind of consistency.
What is a brand voice?
Your brand voice is the unique style and language used by your brand to get your message across to your audience. This includes certain words and terms you use to talk about your brand, your level of formality, whether you use humour to get your point across, and how you want to make your audience feel when they read your content (relaxed? Amused? Energised? Reassured?).
Your brand voice is what differentiates you from all the other businesses you’re competing with. A well thought out and implemented brand voice is what will help establish your authenticity to your audience and build personal relationships. Nobody wants to talk to a faceless robot so it’s essential to develop a unique and genuine brand voice is essential if you want to get great results from your online marketing.
Many business owners and writers do this without thinking. If you are the essence of your business and you’re writing as yourself, your unique personality and voice will naturally come through. Thinking about your brand voice is more important when you have multiple people marketing and writing content for your business, or if you are targeting a particular audience that may not identify with your own personal style (for example if you are targeting teenagers, students or stay at home mums).
Define your brand
The first step to developing a truly distinctive brand voice is to determine the core values that make up your business. How do you see yourself and how do you want your customers to see you? The answer to this usually hinges on two main questions:
What are your core values?
How are you different from everyone else?
Pick a few words that sum up your business, its values and how it differs from everyone else. For example, you might be cheeky, fun, reliable, innovative, relaxing, driven or just about any other adjectives that are appropriate to your brand values. These qualities will form the basis of your brand’s voice.
Once you have defined your brand the next step is to communicate its values through your written content.
The core copywriting principle: know your audience
To make your brand voice really connect, you will need to find a style that is not only true to your brand, but appeals to your target audience. Level of formality is one essential element of your voice that you will probably want to spend some time thinking about.
Formal language can communicate professionalism, authority and stability but it can also appear stiff, formal and standoffish. Informal language can help you seem down to earth, approachable and fun but it can also make you look unprofessional and if you’re too informal you won’t be taken seriously in certain industries. It all depends on your target audience and their expectations.
Research is a great way to figure out what level of formality is best for you. If you’re selling financial services you will probably want to keep things fairly businesslike but for an edgy clothing brand, informal might be best.
The creation of buyer personas is a popular marketing strategy and it is a fantastic way to really visualise your target customer while you are writing so you can ensure your brand voice speaks directly to them. A buyer persona is basically a made up person who encapsulates the essence of who you are writing to. Think about their age, situation in life, job, hobbies, likes, dislikes, who they hang around with, what annoys them and what they love. Give them a name. Then while you are writing, imagine they are sitting across the table from you.
Read it out loud
This is an invaluable way to make sure your brand voice is hitting the mark. Once you’ve written your content read it out loud. If possible try to visualise the person you made up in the last step. Imagine you are talking to them. Do you sound interesting and authentic? Do you sound like a human or yet another faceless organisation? The more natural you sound, the better you will come across.
Building a unique brand voice and sticking to it can be hard work but it can also be great fun, and once you have it nailed, the results will be well worth it. Brand voice is often under utilised in copywriting, especially by smaller businesses, but a strong brand voice is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition and really connect with your audience.