There are plenty of reasons why you should always try to use a consistent tone of voice across all your written communications.
It will ensure customers get the same brand experience however they engage with you, make your communications more effective, help set you apart from competitors, increase brand recognition, and help establish an emotional connection between your customers and your business.
It’s a good idea to set out your tone of voice guidelines in a simple reference document. You can share this with staff and with any third parties who may be involved in writing for your business.
So what should you include?
While there are no hard and fast rules about what your tone of voice guidelines should look like, we’ve put together some suggestions for content areas you might want to consider including:
Tone of Voice Guidelines – Suggested Content
- What is tone of voice? Explain how your business speaks through a variety of individuals and media, how it has its own unique way of speaking, and how tone of voice guidelines help to define, influence and guide written communications.
- Why tone of voice matters: Explain why having a distinctive tone of voice gives your business a personality of its own, makes your communications more effective, differentiates you from the competition, and creates an emotional bond with your organisation etc.
- Principles of plain English: Explain why clear and concise copy, written with the reader in mind, in the right tone of voice and using plain English is important. Summarise principles of plain English: always start with the point that’s of most importance to the reader; use short words rather than longer ones; use every-day English; avoid jargon and ‘business-speak’, keep sentences to an average of 15 to 20 words; make sure each sentence contains only one main idea; use active verbs as much as possible etc.
- Who are we writing for? For clarity, define your audience (you may have more than one audience). Who are they (provide a brief persona) and what are they looking for from your communications? Summarise how to write for them in your tone of voice and set out key dos and don’ts for guidance.
- Our tonal values: Set out your key tonal values – for example, friendly, approachable, professional, edgy, quirky etc. For each value give examples of how communications should always be (give examples) and never be (give examples). Also, include tonal value writing tips.
Do You Need Help Finding Your Tone of Voice?
We can help your business find its unique tone of voice. Using our VoiceID process, we’ll collect in-depth information about your product or service, your culture, values and target customers and ask you to undertake a series of simple exercises. From this, we’ll define your tone of voice and create guidelines for you and your team to follow when creating written content.
For more information, call us now on 07801 192552 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an initial chat!