Tone of voice is as integral to a brand’s content marketing strategy as a handshake is to seal a deal. While content continues to be the ‘it’ marketing tool for businesses around the world, marketers are still confused about which tactics to adopt and how to execute them effectively to generate great content.
The rapid increase of digitisation means brands can no longer rely on visual advertising alone to talk to their customers. Yes, infographics and videos are visual tools that can go a long way towards creating user engagement, but without a clear voice a brand’s identity will be like the chicken without the egg.
So how can businesses develop an effective and usable tone of voice?
Recognise your purpose
Content marketers need to realise that just because content is out there it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to get read. The ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ mentality is more rife than ever among consumers – remember they don’t need your attention, you need theirs. If your only purpose of creating content is to sell, sell, sell then your audience will recognise this straight away – no one likes a hard sell. Instead of leading your content strategy with the question ‘how are we going to sell to them?’ focus more on ‘why will they want to buy from us?’
Understand your audience
To borrow a quote from Mitch Joel, author of Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It, for a brand to truly shape its own destiny, it must lead the relationship with the consumer. In other words, without establishing a direct relationship with your consumers and listening to what they want there’s little hope for your content strategy. Don’t fret – the easiest way to develop a relationship with your customers is to simply speak their language.
Who specifically are you selling to and why? Rather than thinking of your customers as every Tom, Dick and Harry, give them a voice then figure out how you are going to respond to that voice.
One example of a company that has executed tone of voice as part of their strategy seamlessly is SugarSync. Developed in 2008, SugarSync is a file-sharing service similar to Dropbox for personal, business and mobile use. After a quick skim of their website and blog, it’s clear to see why SugarSync has over 400,000 likes on Facebook and 26,000 followers on Twitter – they speak their consumers’ language. Their content isn’t overrun with technical jargon and wish-washy sales lingo – it’s simple, to the point and sociable.
Create a company identity
The digital landscape has been bombarded with an ‘invitation avalanche’ – hundreds of businesses vying for more customer likes, tweets, follows and clicks. It is now more important than ever for businesses to stand out from the crowd. Along with giving your customer demographic a voice, be sure to create your own voice through humanising your brand. The idea of humanising your brand is to establish an ongoing two-way conversation between you and your clients – you want them to trust and view you as a human and not a service.
We are yet to discover the full potential of what content marketing can do for your brand, but it’s safe to say that it’s extensive. Do your brand a favour and develop a sound strategy or get left behind.