Why it’s important to have a consistent voice

The way you speak to your online audience is more important than you might think, and if you’re a small or fledgling business, getting your tone of voice right can be the difference of success or failure.

Tone of voice is not just about what you say, but the way that you say it. Some companies choose to have a casual, chatty tone, while others might find it more appropriate to be a bit more formal and serious. It really depends on the type of business, and the overall image you want to give.

How to find your tone of voice

In order to define the tone of voice for your brand, it’s useful to know who your audience is, because every word you write will need to resonate with them. If your audience is students, having a serious, stuffy tone of voice will turn them off. In order to engage, you need to speak their language, and that means finding a tone of voice which is vibrant, youthful, and can be easily understood by them. 

Likewise, if you’re marketing something more serious, like financial advice, or health plans, your audience will expect a more serious tone, in order to be able to gain trust in you.

Think about how the people you want to appeal to talk to each other – research and adapt the language they use.

Differences in tone of voice – a comparison

In order to define and develop your tone of voice, look at these examples:

Formal vs Casual

Formal gives your audience a sense of professionalism and authority, although can lack personality and seem ‘cold’ and unfriendly.

Adopting a casual tone feels more friendly and youthful, although for some industries, might give an impression that the company’s expertise is lacking.

Funny vs Serious

Having fun with the voice you use can be useful in that you are more likely to be shared on social media, although don’t take it too far! Taking a more serious tone gives a feeling of credibility and trust.

Enthusiastic vs matter-of-fact

If you come across as being enthusiastic through your tone of voice, you’re giving your audience a sense that you’re backing a brand to get excited about. You sound like someone who is friendly and willing to help.

By having a more matter-of-fact tone, you sound sincere and honest, and using a simple, down to earth language puts the reader at ease.

If in doubt, research

If you’re really not sure which tone of voice you should adopt for your business, check out the competition. What are they doing? What sort of people are they attracting? Don’t copy, but there’s no harm in taking their lead.

Another useful tip as to create an avatar. That’s a character, your Ideal Customer. They don’t have to be real, but write down who they are (give them a name, if you like), their age, their like and dislikes, who they talk to, how they speak. Have this avatar in mind every time you create content for your business.