A good website is becoming more important each day. You know it, we know it, and it’s kind of the whole reason that Lifted Logic is even a thing. It’s not just enough for a website to look nice, though. The content that you’re putting on your site has to be just as high quality as the aesthetics.
Your website is a lot of people’s first impression of your business. How do you want people to feel when they look at your site for the first time? How are you trying to come across? Aesthetics certainly plays a role in how people perceive your business, but content, and more specifically your voice and tone, give people the best sense of who you are.
Voice and tone give your business a personality and an identity. People want to know that there are human beings on the other side of their computers. Just like human beings, however, each business is different and each will want to give off a different vibe. Here’s a couple of things to consider when choosing a voice and tone for your business.
1. Know the Difference Between the Two
Voice and tone work hand-in-hand, but they aren’t the exact same thing. Your voice is going to be the way your business speaks on a consistent basis, while your tone shifts depending on who you’re speaking to and the context you’re speaking in.
Think of it this way: Your voice is like your personality. Your personality is who you are at a fundamental level, and it doesn’t just change on a whim. How you express that personality and how you speak, however, does change depending on the situation.
It’s perfectly fine to have a fun, cheeky personality. In fact, many businesses succeed using that style of voice. But it’s important to be aware of context and situations. Know who you’re speaking to and adjust your tone accordingly. This goes well with our next tip.
2. Know Your Audience
You need to keep in mind the products/services you’re offering, your goals, and what type of audience you’re targeting. Obviously, different businesses have different target audiences. Are you trying to attract a specific customer base? Are you trying to have as broad of an appeal as possible? These are questions you need to ask yourself as a writer for your business.
If you’re targeting a more business-professional type of crowd (think B2B), cracking a bunch of jokes and using slang might not be the best move. Similarly, if you’re targeting a more laid-back, hipster type of audience, you won’t want to sound too stuffy and overly professional.
Take one of our clients, 7th Heaven in Kansas City, for example. Here, we have a business that specializes in vinyl records, adult toys, and smoking accessories. It’s safe to say that this type of business is going to attract certain people, and it’s probably not going to be a business-professional crowd. So, it would be pretty weird if they had an overly professional voice, right?
It’s the same deal with another client of ours, Velocity MSC, who specializes in managed services for business. Given all of the different professional businesses that they work with, a cheeky and fun voice probably wouldn’t be very effective for them.
The better you are at determining your target audience and what makes them tick, the better chance you have at effectively getting your message across. It’s important to understand the kind of communities you’re targeting so that you can speak to them more effectively.
3. Know Yourself and Your Values
When clients sign on for a project with Lifted Logic, we encourage them to fill out a voice and tone worksheet. This worksheet includes questions like “if your brand were a person, who would it be?”, as well as key points that you want your audience to know.
Knowing who you are and what you stand for as a business makes it a lot easier to nail down a voice and tone that feels authentic. Not only that, it makes it a lot easier to consistently write in that same voice and build an identity for your business.
Coming up with those values and characteristics requires you to look inward as a business. As an owner or a manager, you know the culture of your business and what sets it apart from the competition. You also know what kind of people you look for to continue that culture when hiring someone new. So, use all of that info to find a voice that’s distinctly yours.
It’s also important to consider how you want to be perceived by customers and visitors to your site. If you’re a company that values having fun and you want to come across that way, write your content in a more lighthearted way. If you want to emphasize a culture that’s more hard-working and down to Earth, maybe be more lowkey and mention traits like reliability and committed service.
Once you know who you are and what you stand for, standards and expectations become a lot clearer and it makes it a lot easier to find your voice.
4. Know What You Aren’t
This might sound a little obvious and repetitive, but it’s just as important to know who you aren’t when writing as it is who you are. What I mean by that in this sense is to, essentially, set boundaries for your voice and tone.
It’s good to be friendly and conversational as a business, but don’t let that bleed into being unprofessional or using too many colloquialisms. Speaking too informally or using too many exclamation points may cause people to not take your business seriously and drive them away.
Similarly, It’s good to be detail-oriented, but don’t let that veer into being overly perfectionist. It’s good to be customer-oriented and helpful, but avoid falling into the trap of becoming overbearing and so forth.
These are just examples of the “we’re this, not that” type of boundary setting that’s important for a business. It’s good to set these kinds of boundaries so that your content writers have a reference point and don’t go too overboard.
It’s good to have a distinct voice and personality for your business, but being too overbearing with that personality could hurt more than it helps.
5. Be Consistent
Once you find a voice that’s uniquely yours, it’s important that that voice is consistent in every medium. Every social post, every newsletter, and every page on your website has to have that same personality. Your tone will shift depending on the audience, but your overarching voice shouldn’t change at all.
If a person were reading your site and you have a casual way of addressing your audience, it would be pretty jarring for them to go to another section of your site and see writing that’s dead serious and professional.
Your voice may naturally grow and evolve over time as your business and the world around you changes. That’s perfectly okay, and should probably be expected. But that shift needs to occur naturally, and it needs to be reflected across all platforms
See How Lifted Logic Can Help Improve Your Content Writing
One of the things Lifted Logic specializes in is helping companies write engaging content for their websites.
Looking for a helping hand (or hands)? Schedule a free SEO consultation with our president, Adam Fichman. My partners in the content department and I are ready to help you connect with a wider audience 😎 And if you’re already a client, remember that you can always schedule a blog training anytime with the content team to review your work and get answers to your questions.