A 5 step process to getting your messaging, style and tone dialled in when you put pen to paper
OK ~ the full reason why P!nk twirling is our delightful Gif for this week's post is coming up in a jiff but if you're an eager beaver and can't wait, then scroll to the end to find out.
But first --
Beautiful soul, if writing copy for your business leaves you feeling underwhelmed, overly anxious, and more often than not, staring desperately at the blinking curser not sure what to write, then this post is for you.
This post is also for you if ~ and this is more worrying for me as your copywriting cheerleader ~ you write words without a care in a world because - oh man, my palms are sweaty - you don’t think they matter! [forehead slap]
Breathe, Natalie, b-r-e-a-t-h-e
Alright, before I get my M&S knickers in a twist, let’s look at what we’ll be covering:
Understand what your brand voice is
The 3 things that will help define your brand voice
The 5 steps to dialling in your messaging, style and tone
Why conversational is the new professional
And a free resource to help you take what you learn here a step further
Sound good? OK - let’s get into it!
So, What Is Your Brand Voice?
Your brand voice is the tone and impressions your readers get when they consume your content, such as a blog, video or podcast.
Your tone is the way you express yourself, how you talk about your products, services and experiences.
Impressions are made by the use of tempo and terminologies. This is the natural rhythm, musicality and cadence of your speech and writing.
And terminologies are the words and phrases you use in your content.
The natural blending of the 3Ts - not to be confused with the 90's pop bad - is what defines your unique brand voice.
The exercises in this guide will highlight your personal writing style to express yourself as an online business owner in a distinctive and identifiable way.
According to Forbes:
OK, let's dive into the 5 things you can do to dial in your messaging, style and tone.
STEP 1: DESCRIPTIVE DISRUPTORS
Brain dump all the adjectives you would use to describe you and your business and then do the same exercise from the perspective of your clients or customers. These are descriptive disruptors. Write them down.
This is where you’ll be looking for some alignment and crossover. If, you, the person, match, you the brand, or business brand that you are creating as far as tonality then you’ll find it easier to create content that feels natural.
A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is - Scott Cook
STEP 2: CONTENT MINE YOUR OWN MATERIAL
It’s time to set a timer for 30 minutes and look through your messages, emails, blog posts, and social media feeds. What phrases and words do you use all the time. Pay attention to any You-isms that shine through, such as frequently used words and phrases that people feel are synonymous with you. You-isms are powerful when cultivating your brand voice.
Also, pay attention to the Sticky Stuff! These are the words, terminologies and phrases that you never use.
These words are foreign to your lips and feel unnatural to say. And here's the thing - if you wouldn't say it, don’t write it in your copy.
Also, take notice of any abbreviations you use, are you a stickler for proper grammar and punctuation or are you more casual about apostrophes and the use of semicolons? Do you like breaking up paragraphs or writing long flowing lines? Do you subscribe to using bold, italics, bullet points and does the missing oxford comma get your knickers in a twist!
The answers to these questions will reveal the 3T indicators we just discussed, so look closely at your own copy. This is a content mining mission ~ Ballpoint pens at the ready, start digging!
Again, the guide, Define Your Unique Brand Voice And Write In A Style That Sounds Like You, will hold your hand and walk you through these exercises step by step with additional prompts and examples.
STEP 3: EMBRACE YOUR QUIRKY CHARM
So, you know that weird little thing you do... that thing that the mere thought of people finding out makes you cringe a little - yep, that... it's called your quirk!
If you have a weird obsession for marmite or need to puff up your sofa cushions before going to bed, or if full disclosure was imposed you'd happily trade a night out for a night in wearing a pair of fluffy socks, caressing a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine while you binge episodes of The Crown… (just me?!)
Well, all of these things make up part of your story, a side of your personality that, if and where possible, you can lace into your copy.
Be sure to think about the things that you're proud of too. The things that make you shine like the special star that you are because these form part of your quirky charm as well - it's time to embrace them all.
Your quirkiness is endearing and provides an opportunity to let your reader learn more about you - heck, they might even relate to your weird and wonderful [wink].
Connections build trust and likability. If you know there’s a generational, cultural or societal connection with your audience then sharing these quirks can work wonders.
Some of mine are my borderline (un)healthy obsession with avocado on toast, 90's music and TV references and the fact that I'm a City girl living in the English countryside surrounded by cows, which is hilarious to anyone who knows me because I'm terrified of the darn things!
Your quirks become the things that separate you from others in your field and help you to stand out.
STEP 4: RELEASE YOUR POLARISING POWER
This is how your stand out in a noisy online world. It’s time to crystalise the reason why you exist and why you do what you do.
It's time to stake claim to what you love and loathe as it relates to your mission and your vision for your brand.
This is really important. It helps to identify your core values and the way you share them - applying the tools we've already touched on - the 3Ts, descriptive disruptors, content mining and your quirky charm - is essential in crafting your brand voice.
Consider these questions:
What aspect of your industry, sector or niche do you love, excites you and lights you up?
What parts of your industry, sector or niche, rile you up, piss you off and makes you want to get up on your soapbox for the next hour?
What do you want to change, improve or make possible for your customers?
What’s your fight, your big why and the reason you started your business or want to start your business?
The answers to your questions form the basis of your polarising power. They should be present on your website, scattered throughout your copy and sprinkled in your captions and emails. Your audience should know, Your Why and core values and feel connected to your mission.
Don’t be afraid to identify what you stand for and whom you serve. You can’t be everything to everyone so get specific with your target audience so they feel seen, heard and understood.
If you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one
Now, put on your skinny jeans, you know the ones that make you feel sexy and unstoppable, and write down your answers standing in your complete truth, a.k.a. How you would say them if no one was listening or reading.
Remember, the Brand Voice Starter Kit comes complete with designated areas fo you to write your polarising power moves down.
STEP 5: UNTAP YOUR STORYTELLING SUPERPOWER
We’re storytellers at heart. It’s how we survived throughout history, it’s how we cultivate relationships, build connections with our customers and sell in our businesses. It’s important to view writing copy as a chance to share stories and experiences to showcase your products, services and CTAs (call to actions) in interesting and intriguing ways.
Here's what the folks over at The Health Foundation had to say on the topic:
Here’s an example from an email I sent to my list. At the end of the email, my CTA was asking them to share the email with a friend. Now, there’s nothing wrong in simply asking the reader to share your email but why not use the opportunity to have a little fun and showcase your personality.
Here’s what I wrote in the closing lines:
Alright, that’s all for today, angel.
Have an awesome week and remember don’t be like Tabitha*.
Love Nat x
*You’ve heard the story about Tabitha Stonebottom, haven’t you?
Well, Tabitha had a pretty little pencil case filled with the nicest colouring pencils you could possibly imagine.
All the other children in her class envied her because her pictures were always so beautiful and bright.
They would ask to borrow her pencils but she would say no.
They would bribe her with their snacks at lunchtime and their carton of milk in the morning break but she
would always say no. She never shared her pencils.
No one wants to be a Tabitha Stonebottom. So, if you loved this email then share this link with a friend then go colour some pretty little pictures!
Conversational is the new professional
So many people worry that if they sound chatty they will appear less professional but I disagree. #MyPolarisingPower in full affect.
People want to do business with other people. And at our very core, every person on the planet shares the desire to be seen, heard and understood.
Writing in a way that sounds approachable and friendly is more effective in today’s modern online market than the marketing styles and strategies used decades ago.
Times have changed and so has how we perceive the term "professional" -
People want to feel a connection to the person or business they buy from and this is much easier to achieve when you find ways to write copy that showcases your personality, uses stories to connect, words that are natural to you and fuelled with passion for what you believe in.
When you do this you will define your distinct brand voice and authentic writing style.
OK, beautiful, here’s where the rubber meets the road - It’s action time!
If you found this post helpful, then you’ll want to get your pretty little hands on this Brand Voice Starter Kit.
In it, you’ll find practical exercises to help you tap into the creative well of your most authentic brand voice.
I’ve also included a glossary of some copywriting and industry terms to help make the process a little easier to execute.
Remember - knowledge is only powerful when put into action.
Love Nat x
Tickled P!ink and proud of it
So, I promised you an explanation for this week's Gif - not that you need one, after all who doesn't like to see happy people dancing!
But, I recently watched P!nk's film on Amazon Prime, All I Know So Far, and loved it. It helps that I'm a fan, and have been from back in the day when she first came out with There You Go... D'you remember, back when P!nk was the new R'n'B singer on the block?!
Any way, in her film, I was reminded how unique she is. Not only does she strap herself into a flight rig and fly 100ft in the air above crowds of 12,000 joyful souls while singing her hit songs, but she has masterfully crafted her own P!nk shaped space in the world of music.
I was reminded how unique her voice is. I don't think anyone on the planet sounds like her, looks like her or attempts to copy her ~ no one can be P!nk but P!nk. She's mastered her own unique brand voice, style and tone. And, that precious soul, is what you have to do as you create, curate and cultivate your online business. So, Soar, sweet angel, soar.