As a writer, the idea of ‘voice’ is touted early and often as a pillar supporting your craft. “Find your voice”, they say.
“Make it your own.”
This form of advice is great for when you’re working on personal projects or drafting out that soon-to-be bestselling memoir. But how do you factor that advice into your approach when your writing should be a reflection of someone else?
For content creators, this is most often the case. You are brought into a company to assume the identity of a brand—to engage with its customers through a shared language and tone.
Study the brand guidelines
Think about some of your favorite brands—you’d know their communications whether the logo was present or not. A well-developed brand with an established voice will have a set of brand guidelines for its writers to use as a baseline. These guidelines detail everything from font stylings to word choice and everything in between when it comes to the look, feel, and tone of a brand.
Brand guidelines also outline various tone descriptors as well as why they relate to the brand. While words like ‘friendly’, ‘helpful’, ‘encouraging’, and the like will only get you so far from a creation perspective, they do set a foundation. If it helps, consider defining your own style as a writer. How would describe your own tone? Where is there overlap? What quality will the biggest stretch for you to achieve if any?
Use these descriptors as the building blocks. Once in place, you can begin to further refine and strengthen as you go.
Familiarize yourself with the brand’s audience
While the brand’s unique point-of-view should guide your efforts, what defines its audiences rounds out the remaining chapters of the brand story. Because of this, review whatever materials they may have on hand as it relates to audience personas. Who are these people? How do they speak? What other brands do they gravitate toward?
Depending on how developed a brand’s personas are, they may have a number of interviews on file from conducted research. If these resources are scarce, it’s time to do a little research of your own. Follow conversations on the brand’s social pages and review sites to see how customers interact with the brand and each other.
It’s not uncommon for a writer to be told that they write like they speak. Consider then reading your branded content aloud. Read it to yourself, read it to your co-workers — get outside of your head and listen for those descriptive differentiators laid out in the brand’s guidelines. With an actual voice behind the words on paper, does it identify with what the brand hopes to embody?
Write, rinse, repeat
You’re not always going to hit the nail on the head in the first go-around. In fact, some of the best ideas and copy will most likely come to you after taking a step back and not thinking about the task at hand.
When first assigned with a new project, open up a blank sheet of paper and just start writing. Write down everything and anything that comes to your head in relation to the objective. This exercise is not so much about finding the perfect line of copy as it is sparking the idea, the creativity that’ll lead to your final product. The initial go-around is never going to be the perfect piece, but that’s why editing exists! Even if you don’t have an editor on staff, having a fellow coworker review your work will help develop better ideas and higher quality work.
At the end of the day, if you’re still finding it difficult to capture your brand voice in writing, have the experts do it for you. Contact PowerPost today for a free content consultation.