This is a guest post by Allison Barnett, a wonderful copywriter who I met when I was presented with the Premier WordPress Web Designer Award a couple of months ago. I absolutely love hiring copywriters to provide valuable content on brand messaging, brand voice, and how to write more effectively as a small business owner. As much as I adore a beautiful website design, it won’t get you very far without strategic copy.
Read on to learn how to find your voice as a small business owner. Or, if you’re ready to hand it off to a professional, consider hiring Allison. You can learn more about her work via this link.
You’re an entrepreneur and a business owner, but are you a writer? Most of you reading this are probably shaking your head no.
You didn’t even give yourself a chance!
I know writing can be an intimidating exercise. It’s a long process. First you have to write the thing. Then there’s editing, and re-editing. All this could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
As arduous as that sounds, there’s some methods to make this easier on yourself. One way is to flush out your true brand voice.
As you’ll see below, it’s a bit of an undertaking. But — and I know you don’t want to hear this — it’s essential for upscaling your brand and business.
Once you find your authentic brand voice, the writing will come much easier. You’ll already know the exact words, phrases, and tone to use.
By bringing your inner brand voice to the surface, you’ll cut your writing time almost in half. At that point, it becomes more of a solvable equation as opposed to an abstract art form.
By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be ready to draw out your authentic brand voice!
1: Find the Soul of Your Brand
Easier said than done. But you can’t move forward until you’ve taken a deep dive into the very essence of your brand. It’s a little tricky, but I’ve devised a plan to help you.
Below, you’ll see that I’ve made a list of questions for you to answer about your brand voice. Examples included. Go through these questions and answer them to the fullest. Be as specific as you can.
What is your competition doing?
This may seem counterintuitive at first, but will actually offer you great insight. Research what your competitors are doing with their businesses.
What do you like about their approach? What do you dislike? Is there anything you think you could do better? What are you better at doing? How are they succeeding where you’re not?
While you’re investigating, find some pieces of content that you really like; whether it’s a blog post, or an about page. You can even sign up for their emails. These are all areas where your brand voice will sink or swim.
Start a file where you can save these examples. Next time you’re struggling to write, just refer back to them for inspiration.
When clients engage with your brand, how should they feel?
If you’re a hairstylist, you want your potential clients to feel beautiful and confident (maybe even a little sexy).
Or if you’re in the security business, you want to sound trustworthy, and make people feel secure in choosing your company to protect them.
How do you want to talk about yourself?
This piggybacks off of the previous question, but is still something to consider separately. What type of language are you going to use? Will it be serious or whimsical? Do you use contractions and exclamation points? Details matter.
What adjectives describe your brand the best?
Try to not go overboard with this one; just choose 3-5 core adjectives that describe what your brand is all about. Check out this amazing list of adjectives to get started.
For example, if you’re a toy company, you might use the words playful, adventurous, or silly.
If your brand was a celebrity, who would they be?
Have some fun with this one. Say you sell guitars. Would your brand be more like Jimi Hendrix? An eclectic voice with just a little chaos mixed in? Or would you be more vintage, nostalgic, and old school like Chuck Berry?
What do you NOT want to sound like?
Now that you know how you want to sound, you’ll need to figure out what to avoid. Think of some phrases or words that you already dislike.
How would you hate to be described as by your customers? What’s the last thing you want them to feel while interacting with your brand?
2: Find Your Why
This may sound familiar to you. I know I first heard the phrase from Simon Sinek on his Ted Talk. Finding your “why” is good for your brand voice, and can also fuel your work.
In order to find your why, you’ll have to answer some more questions:
- Purpose – Why does your brand, and business, exist?
- Vision – What kind of future do you want to create?
- Mission – What steps are you taking to make that future a reality?
- Values – How do you work? Who are you?
3: Create Customer Personas
This is a common step for marketing exercises. By persona, I mean an avatar. A fictional character that embodies all of the beliefs, world views, and words of your target audience.
Whatever your brand voice is, it needs to communicate clearly to the people you’re trying to reach. Products targeted at teenagers will have a completely different voice than those directed at retired seniors.
The best way to do this is to literally use the same words they do. If you’re targeting young mothers, go to where they hang out online. There’s a million Facebook groups and Instagram accounts dedicated to this (and every other topic). Start reading, and look for patterns in their vocabulary.
Then find out what their pain points are. What problems do they have that your product or services can solve?
By getting a glimpse into the mind of your ideal consumer, you can understand exactly what they want and speak directly to them by using their very own words. They’ll be shocked to find a company that knows exactly what they’re thinking!
4: Look at the Content You Already Have
Look at the content you’ve created so far. Your latest blog posts, tweets, newsletters, etc. Do you see a common theme in how you communicate? What kind of tone do all of these content pieces have in common?
If it’s too hard to find it yourself, feel free to ask a friend for an unbiased opinion. You may be halfway to finding your brand voice without even realizing it.
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to be something we’re not. But it’s more important to have an authentic brand voice that’s yours. In the end, it’ll take you farther than if you tried to be someone else.
How do you feel now that you have actionable tips to help flush out your true brand voice?
I want to hear about how this post helped you on your brand journey!
Tell me all about it in the comments below.