How Content Marketers Can Identify Voice and Tone

3 minute read

Upland Admin

In life, how we say something is often more important than what we say. The same is true for content.

Content is how your brand showcases its unique personality online. But it’s not easy to control how you come across on the internet with written content. Facial expressions, hand gestures, and audible shifts in tone are absent. Words are all you have.

As a content creator, you need to be hyper-aware of the emotions you’re tapping into and the feeling you’re creating.

What’s the best way to monitor your tone? Follow these steps.

1. Know Your Audience

Before you decide on different tones of voice for your content, you need to know exactly who you’re talking to. To get to know your audience, you can:

  • Review existing buyer personas
  • Conduct user research
  • Interview stakeholders
  • Interview users

Ask yourself: Who is reading your content? What are they looking for? What mood are they in?

Once you have an idea of the different kinds of people reading your stuff, you’ll be much more successful tailoring your content to fit their needs.

2. Identify Your Voice

A lot of marketers conflate the meaning of voice and tone—they use the terms interchangeably, when in fact they mean very different things.

Just like your own voice, your brand voice should never change. It’s the essential personality of your brand informed by your organization’s mission and core goals. Your brand tone on the other hand can and should change based on the situation.

Before you adjust your tone, you need to establish your brand’s voice. What does your organization stand for? If it were a person, what would it be like? Is it funny? Playful? Serious? Efficient? Snarky?

If they aren’t already, stakeholders should be intimately involved in crafting and approving this brand voice. And everyone at your company should know what it is.

3. Identify Your Tone

Different situations require different tones. Are you creating content about something serious—a privacy document, for example? Or are you writing a targeted email? If you use a goofy or witty tone in your serious privacy document, readers will be turned off. If you’re too serious and boring in an email, you’ll lose subscribers.

Shifting your tone isn’t always intuitive. To do it well, follow these steps before creating your content:

  1. Identify the personality trait you want to exhibit in this piece of content
  2. Write a “like this” example sentence
  3. Write a “not like this” counter-example sentence
  4. State the reason you chose this particular tone of voice

Self-aware, empathetic people have more friends. Self-aware, empathetic content has more readers. Don’t you want your content to have some buddies? Follow these three steps and it’ll be the talk of the town.

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