Tone of Voice: Definition and Implementation

We are constantly overwhelmed by waves of content, having access to this infinite stream at any time and place. And in this chaos, you have less than 15 seconds to somehow stand out from all your other competitors, grab the attention of your user target, and manage to stay in their memory (top of mind). Needless to say, creating exciting and attention-grabbing content is more important now than ever. The answer lies in developing a distinctive and trustful tone of voice.

Tone of Voice: a summary

In a previous post, we’ve discussed what defines a Tone of Voice. Essentially, Tone of Voice describes how your brand communicates with the audience and influences how your message is perceived. Not only reflects your brand’s personality but also your goals and values, helping you connect with your audience and stand out from the competition. Your Tone of Voice should be applied to all the content you produce - from internal memos to marketing campaigns.


Tone vs. Message

Tone of Voice is not what you say, but how you say it. The same message can be communicated in a lot of different ways, depending on the language you choose or the way you construct sentences. Different tones convey different psychological information. Tone of Voice adds an extra dimension to your message. This is why it’s one of the most significant elements of communication. It affects how people perceive and react to the message you want to communicate.

Why implement a Tone of Voice?

As mentioned, having a Tone of Voice for your brand can help you stand out from your competition while communicating efficiently and effectively with your audience. It can make your brand memorable since it creates a connection and a trust bond in your consumers’ minds. And with this connection, your consumer will be more invested mentally and monetarily in your brand, which can have an impact on your sales and revenue.

Tone of Voice allows your brand to get recognized using only your message, without seeing any visual content. However, there are only a couple of brands that manage to do this, since it’s a very complicated process hard to achieve, but it’s possible. The challenge is now how to define and implement a Tone of Voice in your brand.

Defining your Tone of Voice

Defining a Tone of Voice for your brand is an essential part of your content strategy. It’s a complex process, and there is a lot to be decided before even getting started. It’s so much more than just choosing keywords or putting a few sentences together. Crafting a triumphant Tone of Voice takes time and skills to develop that bond with your audience.

Finding your Tone of Voice starts with understanding who your audience is, so you can then adapt your content with the language that will better reach them. Get to know your audience by conducting proper in-depth research, and then craft user personas to help you with the process.

The next step is to identify the brand’s values and personality you need to keep in mind when creating content. This will help you not only find the language needed to communicate your message effectively but also better connect with your customers.

With all these elements defined, you can now express your Tone of Voice. Your Tone of Voice should always be distinct, clear, consistent, practical, engaging and relevant. And it should come across as personal, coherent, appropriate and trust-worthy to the target audience.

Tone of Voice Guidelines

To successfully implement your Tone of Voice, you need to set clear brand guidelines that will help you ensure your brand’s tone comes through in every communication produced. This tool will help your team create consistent content across channels. Aside from the description of your target audience, core values, and mission statement, your Tone of Voice guidelines should also include:

  • Message Architecture - what you want to communicate to your audience
  • Brand Voice Chart - three board statements that describe your brand’s personality
  • Vocabulary and Grammar - specific syntax and punctuation use can input your message with a particular meaning
  • Symbolic language - metaphors, slang, even humor can add another dimension to your Tone of Voice

(SEMrush Blog, Eugenia Verbina, 2019)

Overall, it’s essential to prove with clear examples of the type of content you want to produce and reflects your brand. However, you might need to review your Tone of Voice once in a while, since it can vary depending on the audience, medium, and mood. But as mentioned, your brand’s overall Tone of Voice should be somewhat consistent in every piece you deliver.


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