Birmingham, UK
07803926239
laura@laurajanejohnson.co.uk

Tone of voice guidelines

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.

Let’s talk about your project

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.

Let me help

How does a tone of voice project work?

1. GOAL-SETTING
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 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

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 ⚡️

A SUMMARY
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 NEXT?

⚡️Get writing⚡️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 £2950.

My tone of voice package in a nutshell

a writing mentor

I’ll give you an independent view and a writer’s opinion on your tone of voice. You get to pick my brains about every detail and I’ll help you to craft a brand character that supports your vision for your business.

professionally written content

I prefer to show, not tell. The best way to check a tone of voice is working is to use it. As part of the guidelines, I write positioning content for you that shows your voice in action. 

reviving a tired brand 

A tone of voice project isn’t just about writing – it shakes up stale ideas, opens your eyes to what’s happening in your market, reinvigorates your vision and adds a new (better articulated) energy to your brand strategy.

practical writing tips

My goal is to help everyone who writes for your team to feel more confident creating content. I’ll add writing tips and ideas that will help you write with impact in a more natural, conversational tone.

Putting your tone of voice guidelines into action

Having tone of voice guidelines are all very well, but how do they work in the real world? Consistently delivering great content is a team effort. And that means we’re all writers nowadays. But most people don’t think of themselves in that way. And it may take more than guidelines to give your team the confidence to write more and amplify your voice online.

With my tone of voice workshops, my aim is to make you feel excited about writing about your business. I’ll create a session for your team with a customised package of resources that will help them feel comfortable writing in your brand style.

This training session is designed to help your team get the most from your brand voice guidelines, so they can apply them to write more characterful online content that invites the right people to relate to you.

Interested in tone of voice workshops?

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?

Sounds familiar? Click here

Planning for the future? Let’s keep in touch.