Once you have a good idea of the type of information you want to share with your audience, whether it’s through your website, email marketing or social media sites, you’ll want to work on integrating a distinctive tone and style into your content to keep your message consistent and build your online personality.
Choosing your tone requires you to really think about the personality you want to portray online. It’s important to establish an online writing tone that’s cohesive with your brand personality from the beginning of your content creation process in order to maintain consistency. The tone you write in will impact the perception readers have of your brand or business, so be sure to take the time to choose one tactically.
Although there are several tones you can use in your writing, we’ve narrowed them down into four categories. Depending on your stage in this creative process, these categories may lead you in the right direction for developing your tone or help you refine an already established tone.
At first glance, assuming a direct tone may seem like just a safe route to take because in some cases it’s described as conservative and traditional. However, having a direct tone can also mean that you structure your content in very powerful, clear ways, inserting a sense of trust and reliability into your messages. The U.S. Army is known for forming their messages with a courageous and brave tone that motivates people and inspires them to feel empowered. This tone falls under the direct category.
Friendly tones evoke warm and calming emotions, making them a good choice for brands that are family oriented and dedicated to showing kindness and care to its customers. Additionally, these tones are often associated with producing the “aww” factor. Think of the Google commercial where the dad types emails to his daughter as she grows up, compiling memories for her to see when she is older.
Probably any infomercial you’ve ever seen can be labeled with using an energetic tone. These YAY! commercials show happy, cheerful people having a great time and enjoying life. This type of imagery can easily translate into a writing tone depending on your word choice and how enthusiastic you are about a topic. Companies that want their online content to make their readers feel excited and lively could benefit from using this tone. For example, a company promoting a certain diet regiment may choose to use an energetic tone to portray dieting as a fun and rewarding process as opposed to a terrible, I can’t eat chocolate and ice cream process.
If friendly tones have the “aww” factor and energetic tones have the “YAY!” factor, then trendy and bold tones definitely portray the “huh?” factor. These types of tones are more common in the marketing and advertising we see today. It’s all about being a little bit wild and weird and leaving people wondering if what they just saw actually happened. At the same time, cleverness plays a big part in defining this tone because it makes a brand memorable.
So once you’ve decided which tone best suits your brand personality, keep that tone in mind as you start writing. At first you might find it difficult to incorporate that tone with your content in a seamless way and that’s OK! Writing is considered a process because you can write your drafts and then go back and edit your work to better reflect a certain tone. The important thing is to first get your thoughts on paper.
When you initially start writing content for the web, try writing in a free flow format. Free flow writing is very similar to speaking, as you tend to add in a lot of extra, unnecessary words to get your point across. It’s better to write your thoughts down as you think of them without being preoccupied with your verb and adjective choice.
Once you’ve expelled all of your ideas from your head, then you can go back and edit. What you initially wrote might not make perfect sense, but the overarching idea is there. Now you just have to clean it up and make it sound like your brand.