What’s your tone of voice? 5 steps to create your own

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Written by Victoria Louise Crump-Haill – Digital Strategist / Account Director

If your organisation could talk, what would it say? And how would it say it? As a brand it’s important for your tone of voice to be consistent across all of your content. To help you discover your tone of voice, I have put some examples and 5 top tips below.

Why is tone of voice important?

First things first, let’s think about why it’s key. Tone of voice helps your customers connect with your content, in a more personalised way. I recently made a purchase from the online fashion store ASOS. After placing my order I received the email below, giving me details of the speed and ease of their service and how I can track my order. The copy was written in a simple and chatty way and it was a perfect opportunity for ASOS to instil their tone of voice to me as a customer.

TOV 1

Having your own tone of voice helps your audience build trust and loyalty. When you read the copy on an Innocent smoothie bottle it’s often humorous and friendly and you can relate to it. A recent email newsletter from the healthy snack company Graze uses an informal, chatty tone and addresses the reader by their first name.

TOV 2

This tone of voice not only helps the reader relate to the content, but it also helps to add value to the brand. Customers want to feel valued as individuals, so by using this personal and chatty tone of voice, your brand can sound more human.

How can I create my tone of voice?

1. Align to your business objectives.

Whether you’re writing your tone of voice guidelines from scratch or editing existing ones, it’s important that they align to your business objectives. Talk to key stakeholders in your organisation and look at feedback from your customers/audience to understand their views.

2. Develop some tonal values.

Tonal values are adjectives that describe how you want to sound. For example; friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Create a list of around 5 tonal values for your brand.

3. Break the tonal values down

Once you have a list of your tonal values, break each one down into ‘always and never’. So if one of your values is knowledgeable then you could say: “we always sound informative, simple and factual, we never sound dull, irrelevant and complex.”

 4. Create a list of dos and don’t for the tonal values

To help your authors you should create a list of ways to use each of your tonal values. For example with knowledgeable you can say: “do use correct facts, don’t use information that you can’t reference”.

 5.Write example copy that is in your new tone of voice

It can be very helpful to create example copy written in your new tone of voice.  This can be two paragraphs, one that uses the tonal values correctly and one that doesn’t.

So there you have it, five ways to create your own tone of voice. It’s vital that once you have put in all the hard work and created your tonal guidelines, you don’t just put them on a shelf to collect dust, or they become buried within your files on your computer. Instead, make sure all of your company know the tone guidelines and review them every once in a while to ensure they are still up-to-date and relevant.

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