Jan 06, 2023

4 Ways to Give Your Content a Stronger Voice

Melissa Steckler

Melissa Steckler

4 Ways to Give Your Content a Stronger Voice

In a previous article, we discussed the importance of storytelling in making your content stand out. Another way to improve your content and engage your audiences is to develop and maintain a strong voice.

Like a person, your brand has a personality that makes it unique, and one of the ways those personality traits are expressed is through the brand voice.

If you’re going to be memorable, that voice needs to be strong and instantly recognizable. Consider the following well-known brands: Dove, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Old Spice. What comes to mind? Uplifting and encouraging, confident and assertive, positive and friendly, masculine and humorous — these words describe their brand voices and indicate the relationship they have with their customers.

“What do memorable content, distinct personality, and compelling storytelling have in common? Brand voice.” – Caroline Forsey, Marketing Manager, Hubspot

But with the challenge of differentiating from so many competitors’ brand voices, how do you elevate your own copy with a stronger voice, and ultimately win customers

Here are some ideas.

Lay the Groundwork

Since your purpose and mission form the foundation upon which your brand is built, start by using that foundation to, as a leadership team, collectively brainstorm and fine-tune the traits that align with your organizational values. Then, further explore the words that align with those traits.

Once finalized, now it’s time to translate that into your copy. For instance, if one of your values is being transparent, a trait that aligns with that might be trustworthy, causing the voice of the copy to come through as reputable and dedicated. One way that this might be reflected in the copy is by using a writing style that is straightforward and direct.

With a clear understanding of your brand foundation and values, you’re already equipped to identify the corresponding traits — and resulting strengthened voice — to use in your written content.

Look to the Future

Consider the future direction of your organization to help strengthen its brand voice. Successful brands are the ones that continuously evolve to stay relevant, continuing to capture their audiences’ attention despite changing attitudes.

Suppose you’re in an industry that values innovation. Your brand voice could be strengthened by writing that emphasizes how your organization champions transformation and content (e.g., blog posts) that discusses industry trends (thereby positioning your organization as staying on top of emerging opportunities).

The important thing is to continue to adapt and adjust to set your brand (and brand voice) apart from competitors — now and in the future — while staying true to who you are.

Build a Framework

With a solid brand foundation and roadmap for the future, now it’s time to create a true messaging architecture. Doing so will strengthen your brand voice by ensuring that you’ve appropriately defined and hierarchically identified your organizational messaging priorities and communication goals.

This is also central to ensuring that cross-departmental content creators craft copy that delivers consistent messaging — regardless of content type.

A messaging architecture traditionally includes your organizational vision — why (the purpose or belief that inspires you to do what you do), how (the way you make your “why” into a reality), and what (what you make possible) — as well as messaging pillars that help guide content creation priorities and define the voice and tone.

“A clearly articulated message architecture is my best friend. It’s a North Star that everyone on a project (internal and external) can work toward.” – Katie Del Angel, Product Designer, Disney Streaming

Write It Down

Having a solid grasp of your brand voice is important, but if it isn’t documented somewhere, this is a critical misstep. Not only will this documentation ensure that your organization’s content creators have a single source of truth to turn to, but it’s also important in achieving organizational adoption.

Start by listing out the personality traits identified in your brand guidelines and include a description of how your brand embodies each one. Then, share information about the brand voice, including what it is and what it is not in order to provide some guardrails for content creators. Finally, include examples of how the voice can be expressed through the copy.

Keep in mind that this is a living document that should be modified as your brand evolves.

With so many brands and an overly saturated amount of content, it can be difficult to craft copy that truly elevates your brand and sets you apart from the competition. But with small steps toward strengthening your brand voice, your content can become more impactful while bolstering your connection with customers.

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