Derryck Strachan - Big Star Copywriting, MDAs a person, people recognise you not just by the way you look and dress, but by the way you speak. For a company, it’s no different. If you want to maximise your success online you need to adopt a suitable tone of voice and use it consistently in all of your marketing communications. That’s where a brand copywriter can help.



Your company’s voice should be consistent across:

Finding your voice

Before you can give your company a distinctive style of communication, you need to find its voice. This voice will be determined by:

  • The nature of your company – what you sell, the sector you work in, your USPs, your brand
  • Who your customers are
  • What voices your rivals are speaking in

Let’s break this down:

Your voice and your business

The voice you choose should reflect the ‘personality’ that you want to portray. This will be significantly influenced by the sector in which you operate. A lively, cutesy tone might be perfect for a teen clothing website, but would be wholly inappropriate for a life insurance company.

The copywriter as brand archaeologist

The tone of voice you adopt should also be influenced by where you’re coming from. A good brand copywriter will delve into your history, uncovering the origins and impetus of your company way back when you first thought of it. Remember that “big bang” when you suddenly found yourself running a company? What were your visions and ambitions then? How did you talk to people then and how has that developed?

If you’re coming from decades of experience and are stalwarts of your sector, your online voice might be one of sage wisdom and reliability. Conversely, if you’re new to the game then you might want to adopt a fresh, lively tone that suggests you’re ready to shake things up.

Your voice and your customers

You’re not just talking to the search engine bots – no-one with any understanding of SEO does that any more. Empty content that says nothing to the reader is pointless. Your primary consideration when crafting your online copy is your customers. Get your web copywriters to keep them in mind whenever they create content.

Who are your customers? What is important to them? What do they look for when dealing with companies online? Consider what type of voice they will react to most positively. You might even want to get their opinions when rebranding your site. At the very least talk to your sales staff and find out what your customers are saying about you.

You should also be looking at how customers perceived you in the past. Are there certain things about your brand that are so fundamental and intrinsic to their perception of you that you would be insane to try and change them? Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Your voice and your competitors

To have a unique and refreshing voice, you need to know what your competitors sound like. Once you have a feel for what your rivals are doing, you can try to create a voice that lives in the silence that they’ve left.

During your research, it’s okay to be inspired and influenced by what others are doing, but make sure your voice is original and inimitable. Probably the best example of this in recent years is Innocent Drinks. Countless others have adopted the same tone without adding anything of their own to it.

Smooth-talking the web – applying your voice

Once you know the way that you want to sound online, all that remains is to do like Captain Picard and make it so. If you have in-house web copywriters then you may want to draft a tone of voice document or a full style guide that will guide them when creating content of any kind for your website or external sites.

You may want to undertake a full brand story review and content strategy to reinvigorate your brand for your customers and create a strong vision that everyone in your organisation can get behind. That process can provide real insight into the tone of voice you choose to adopt.

You can also give these guidelines to a professional copywriting agency, who can then create any content you need.

Make sure you follow the Big Star Copywriting blog for more tips on tone of voice, brand copywriting and other aspects of online marketing.

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