8th March 2018 Claire Hawes

Why tone of voice matters when writing marketing copy

People might not always recall what you say, but they will remember how your words made them feel. Learn what tone of voice is and how you can use it to write marketing copy

This week, my twelve-year-old son landed himself in all sorts of trouble at school.

He’s at the age where he’s experimenting with language. He’s trying to be smart, cool and funny.

Sometimes he gets it right. Other times, he gets it horribly wrong.

Like when his teacher asked him if he was ready, and my son responded: “Hey, I was born ready.”

His choice of words and tone of voice got him branded as a ‘smart-arse.’

So what’s the lesson in this?

As a business, you too need to be clear about your tone of voice.

Why?

Because what you say and how you say it communicates who you are, what your brand stands for and how your audience emotionally connects with you.

And if that’s not enough, if you use a consistent tone of voice across your platforms, your audience will hear the same person speaking. Consequently:

  • You’ll be memorable
  • You’ll build trust
  • You’ll differentiate yourself from your competition

Better still, your tone of voice will help you influence and persuade.

Now for the science bit

In 1967, Psychology Professor Albert Mehrabian found that you communicate:

  • 7% of what you say through the actual words you use
  • 38% of what you say through your tone of delivery
  • 55% of what you say through your body language

Of course, this model relates to face-to-face communication.

But here’s the point. Your readers cannot see or hear your written communications. To connect with your audience in your writing, you can see why it’s important to get your tone of voice right.

How can you nail your tone of voice?

Before putting pen to paper, spend some time doing some research.

Let me walk you through some simple questions:

1. What is your promise?

First off, write down:

  • Who you are
  • Who your customers are
  • What you’re selling

2. What is your personality?

Next, you need to understand the character of your business. For example, is it:

  • Young or mature?
  • Edgy or conservative?
  • Modern or traditional?
  • Personal or corporate?
  • Easily accessible or exclusive?

3. What is your style?

From your character, you can deduce what style best suits your business:

  • Formal or casual
  • Detached or warm
  • Professional or quirky
  • Serious or light-hearted
  • Laid back or lively

As an illustration of ‘tone of voice’ in action, let’s look at a directory entry bio:

A corporate and professional bio would read:

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. Underpinning her work is sound knowledge and experience of marketing strategy. Claire trained with The Chartered Institute of Marketing. She uses her 20+ years experience of working with sales and marketing teams to help businesses use the power of words to convert enquiries into sales.

A personal and casual bio would read:

Do you find it difficult writing communications that persuade your readers to take action? Don’t waste your time. Use my time instead! My name is Claire Hawes. I’m always open to a conversation about copywriting requirements. Connect with me on social media or via my website, and we can set up a time to talk.

4. What you’re trying to achieve?

Finally, you need to understand:

  • Who are you writing to?
  • Why are you writing to them?
  • What do you want your readers to know and do?

To sum up

People might not always recall what you say, but they will remember how your words made them feel.

(As my son found out to his cost.)

For this reason tone of voice matters.

So best get started then.

And finally

If you would like help getting your tone of voice right so that you can emotionally connect with your customers, then do get in touch. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to drive engagement with the power of words.

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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