I’ve been a career and personal coach, a networking expert, an executive of a nonprofit organization. Or have I?
In reality I’m a ghost writer, a content marketer and an ex-journalist who has never done any of these things – except write authoritatively as if I had. I know how to command the voice of the person or organization I’m writing about.
Part of that comes from practice. I’ve spent more than half my life interviewing people and picking up on things others might not: the inflection in a person’s voice, an emphasis on specific phrases or repeated ideas, an excitement over a new venture. This listening habit has become an almost analytical ritual whereby I become that person or embody that organization in as much as an actor becomes a character.
For lack of a better term, I amplify my subjects’ voice. I not only find the voice, but I strengthen it by building upon the foundation of their messaging. Most importantly, I put it in their own words.
In content marketing, identifying your brand or organization’s voice is critical. Without a strong (and amplified) voice, your company’s message too easily gets drowned out, forgotten or missed altogether.
Think of your company’s voice as its own unique personality. How would you like it to sound? What would you like it to say? What type of vibe or feeling would you like it to evoke?
My voice for the Bucks County Wine Trail, for instance, is laid back and focused on fun, relaxing and sharing wine-related tips and tricks.
SCORE Bucks County, a small business mentoring organization, has a more professional voice as its audience is comprised of entrepreneurs seeking business insight. Given that both organizations are located in the greater Philadelphia area, it’s quite possible that they share followers. However, the tone, voice and messaging of each group is completely different, and rightfully so.
As I’ve learned from being a mom, consistency in messaging is key. Changing your company’s voice mid-stream is like giving in to your child after repeatedly saying no. Doing so makes it difficult for your audience to take what you say seriously. Without a uniform message, your brand’s voice may sound ambiguous. Worse yet, it could be confused with the competition.
Changing up your messaging could also tarnish your overall reputation and chip away at the authority the company undoubtedly wants to establish in its respective niche.
It can be tricky to find your company’s voice and even more challenging to put it to action across all formats. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a voice.
- Choose action words
Select a few powerful words that sum up your brand. Expand from those initial concepts to come up with dialogue to personify your company.
- Stay in character
Your organization’s voice brings the overarching message to life. Don’t muddy it by straying from the company’s voice. Just like you wouldn’t see a Ben Franklin living historian using a cell phone, so too your brand’s message should be authentic and always in character.
- Consistency is key
Communicating brand messaging is fairly easy when you have one spokesperson handling all of the messaging. It can become more complicated when different people are responsible for the various facets – print, online, social media, etc. Each platform has its preferred style, but it’s important to make sure the voice is clear and unwavering.
Looking for more help? The Content Marketing Institute offers a great overview on defining a brand’s voice.
Need more help finding and communicating with your organization’s voice? Contact Theresa Katalinas at Theresa@Katalinascommunications.com or call 215-519-8833.