Tone of voice: giving your copy the rock star treatment

Quick – what do Johnny Cash, Axl Rose, and (potentially) your next piece of copy have in common?

The answer, unless your next piece of copy is going to be performed live, is that both Johnny and Axl had very distinctive voices. From Johnny’s uniquely melancholic baritone to Axl’s falsetto roar, it’s the tone of voice that lets you know almost instantly who you’re listening to. Wouldn’t it be great if your copy got the same reaction?

Some businesses are already creating a unique tone of voice for themselves. Take Skype’s brand book , for example. Read through it, and you’ll notice that it’s – well, it’s just very readable. It isn’t written in the formal language usually reserved for brand guidelines, but at the same time it doesn’t feel too informal or self-conscious – it just reads very naturally, and their company character shines through. Better still, they opt to talk directly to the reader in a human tone of voice, even sharing a joke or two with you. In doing so they win the reader’s trust and approval – turning a potentially restricting manual on what can and cannot be done with their logo into a positive brand experience.

So how can you do that with your copy?

So often in the B2B space, copy can come across as a little dry and a little flat, so it doesn’t take a huge change of tone to put your copy head and shoulders above the rest. Knowing your company’s persona will help you to get the tone right: for example, would your company write supportively or in a way that challenges the reader? If you’re targeting specific decision makers in an organisation, you could go so far as to see what movies and books they like on their social media pages and match your tone to those. Be careful with jokes – you don’t want to upset anyone – and of course try not to create a tone that isn’t abrasive or that might put your readers off . Paying attention to reactions on social media is a great way to gauge your audience’s reaction to your tone, and moderate it if need be. At the same time though, don’t be afraid to take some risks. If you want to make an omelette, as the expression goes, you have to be prepared to break a few eggs!

Done right, your copy could brighten someone’s day, and may even make the phone ring a little more often!

So what are you waiting for? Find your voice, and share it with your customers!