Clarity, character & confidence – adding the perfect amount of personality to your content
People are instinctively drawn to brands with an authentic and characterful voice. Your tone of voice differentiates you from competitors, personalises your brand and connects you to your audience.
The core character traits of your brand can be expressed in the vocabulary and language you choose. Tone of voice guidelines help you to identify and develop a clear framework for how you want your brand to sound. This will give you more confidence to write in full colour and just the right amount of character.
To be clear, it’s NOT about giving you a restrictive glossary of acceptable language and a library of stock phrases to churn out. If you’re worried the aim is to make you sound like a corporate robot programmed to says ‘howdy’ (cringe) instead of ‘hello’, that’s not what we’re trying to achieve here.
Instead, you get customised writing guidance, tips and ideas that will give you the reassurance to be bolder with your writing, helping you create content that your clients bookmark and you can’t wait to publish and share.
What are tone of voice guidelines?
First, let’s not get bogged down with ‘guidelines’. Most of the time the pressure to sound polished and professional is exactly what’s throttling all of the personality out of your content. So, the last thing your tone of voice should be is an instruction manual.
Most of us learn how to write in an academic setting. At school or university you’re programmed to write essays that appease an examiner. But the content you post on LinkedIn or Instagram, and as a blog post on your website isn’t going to be marked with a red pen. This means you have free reign to release yourself from the shackles of your essay-writing past and relax into a more personal way of writing. Your tone of voice guidelines are there to give you the confidence and guidance to do this.
How does a tone of voice project work?
Tell me your gripes & I’ll turn them into goals
To kickstart your project, I’ll have a 15-20 minute call with your project lead. This is free of charge and an opportunity to scope me out. We’ll keep the conversation to the big picture – what you want from the project and any gripes you have with how you currently sound. This isn’t the time for detail, it’s about me tuning into what’s driving your project.
WHAT YOU GET
Clearly defined project goals (& a price for the project)
2. I READ & RESEARCH
I’ll listen to what you (& your competitiors) sound like
The brief is in the bag and now I start to put in the graft. Before we chat again, I’ll get properly acquainted with your existing verbal identity and the different ‘voices’ in your market. I’ll put myself in the shoes of your readers, following a typical online journey they might follow when interacting with your content and that of your competitors.
WHAT YOU GET A summary of the voices shaping your industry & where you sit
3. A 60 MINUTE ZOOM BRAINSTORM
Delving into your voice
First, I’ll talk you through what I’ve found from my research, but after this I’ll mainly be listening (with a few probing questions here and there to guide you into some corporate soul-searching). It will only take 60 minutes, but we’ll cover a lot at pace, including:
Who are you writing for? We’ll zone in on your audience and what makes them tick.
What do you stand for? We’ll get right to the core of who you are. Yes, your values, your raison d’etre and what you are (and want) to be known for.
How do you want to sound? And more to the point, how would you like your audience to feel after reading your content.
All the time, I’ll have an ear out for the language you choose and the phrases you use when you’re talking naturally about what you do.
WHAT YOU GET
Clarity around your brand & clear set of content-writing goals
4. NEXT, I START WRITING
Giving you content that sounds like you
After we’ve met, I’ll move on to crafting your voice. The best way I can do this is to start writing – then, the tone of voice guidelines naturally follow. Usually, this involves me drafting three key pieces of copy for you:
Your ‘in a nutshell’ statement. A multi-purpose paragraph that articulately encapsulates your business and vision in a headline and a few short sentences.
Your value statements. Tone of voice is as much about positioning your brand’s point of view as it is about how you write. I’ll write 3-5 value statements for you that encapsulate what makes you different.
Your back story. Content is about building connection. I’ll write your story in a way that invites your readers to relate to your brand in a more personal way.
WHAT YOU GET
Customised content written by me in your brand voice
5. THEN, I HELP YOU TO WRITE
Giving you more confidence in what you write
Once I got the words working, I’ll develop what I’ve learnt into your very own tone of voice guidelines. This gives you complete clarity around your brand vision and values and how your tone of voice fits into this.
We’ll have covered how you want to sound in our Zoom chat – friendly, empathetic, authoritative, playful, witty, serious. Now, it’s my turn to show you how the core character traits of your brand can be expressed by the language you choose. In this section I’ll provide a:
Character breakdown. I’ll take each of your core personality traits, one-by-one, and show you how to express them using vocabulary, grammar and structure.
Editing tips. Tone of voice is mainly about editing. I’ll point out the key things to look out for when you’re editing your content so that it hits the right tone.
WHAT YOU GET
Customised wrtiting tips to help you bring your voice to life
What you get in your tone of voice guidelines
Your tone of voice guidelines will probably run to 2,500 words+. This gives you a detailed and personalised framework to help you write for your business. The document is broken down into the following easy-to-digest sections:
Goals – The role of your tone of voice in delivering your vision
Readers – An honest evaluation of what they want from your words
Values – How what you stand for shows in your voice
Voice – How your character traits affect your language
Language – Writing tips to add charm to your words
Content – See your voice in action
What’s the investment?
I can’t give you a neat little number as a price tag for this kind of work unfortunately. It depends on the size of your business, the complexity of what you do and how far you want me to go with the corporate soul-searching. During the stage 1 goal-setting call, we’ll scope your project and based on this, I’ll send you a project proposal with my charges made clear.
But to give you a ball park, tone of voice projects typically start from £2500.
My tone of voice package in a nutshell
Is a tone of voice project for you?
Do your feel your content lacks character and clarity?
Are there too many ‘voices’ writing for your business?
Does your content sound robotic and essay-like?
Do you look at your competitors’ content with awe and wish you sounded better?
Are you tired of making excuses about why your content is dull?
Are you feeling the pressure to create more and more content but can’t seem to get going?
Do you want to empower your team to write with confidence?