4 Steps to Define Your Tone of Voice

by Angela Williams - 12/01/14

How something is said is processed in a different part of the brain than what is being said.


At Content Marketing World 2014, B2B marketing guru Doug Kessler offered intriguing perspective about why your tone of voice matters. No, we’re not talking about how loud you’re speaking to your coworker!

In content marketing, tone of voice is how you say what you say. Your audience is more likely to engage in—and act on—your marketing strategy if the content you produce has a clear, consistent tone of voice.

Here are a few tips for finding and managing yours.

  1. Decide who you are. What is your company’s vision? What are your guiding principles or mission? What is your personality?
  2. Choose three basic voice principles. For example: simple, friendly, and silly or enthusiastic, positive, and helpful. Not sure what your organization’s defining characteristics are? Take a look at your “Careers” page. The key descriptors used there can help you choose.
  3. Add accents. You wouldn’t talk to your grandmother in the same tone of voice as you speak with your best friend. Likewise, you need to tailor your tone of voice to the audience, platform, and situation. Aim for “consistent variety.”
  4. Embrace good jargon. In Kessler’s words, “Jargon is like cholesterol—there’s good and bad. Good is precise and signals ‘these are my people.’ Bad jargon is lazy.” Interject your content with wording that’s familiar to your community and audience.

For more takeaways from Content Marketing World 2014, find out what Kevin Spacey has to say about content marketing.

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