I'm Julia, resident copywriter, zero-waste enthusiast and branding geek coming to you from rural Scotland.
Over the last seven years I've written copy for the likes of sustainable fashion brands, healthcare companies, arts councils and mobile phone networks.
Whether big or small, these brands had the same problem... and it's one I see all the time: feeling overwhelmed or confused by tone of voice.
That's why I'm sharing some gems I've learnt from tone of voice royalty, including Anna Pickard, the brains behind Slack’s inimitable brand voice.
First off, what even is tone of voice or TOV?
Tone of voice is like a brand’s personality. You create it through the brand’s words and style of writing.
For instance, if your brand is dynamic and youthful, you'd write in a dynamic and youthful way. Sprinkle your copy with pop culture reference, modern phrases and gifs.
Similarly, if your brand is more about the senses (think Pukka tea or ethical fabrics), weave a poetic voice and evocative descriptions throughout your writing.
It’s a case of show, don’t tell.
Why do you need a tone of voice?
“Good communication is a dance between clarity and surprise.”
There may be hundreds of other companies offering something similar to you. What makes you memorable is how you talk to your customers by email, social media and on your website. When it comes down to it, people do business with people they like.
The first lesson we’re taught as copywriters is to write how we speak. And this applies to tone of voice too. It’s OK to go from being really playful to being really serious.
Who Gives A Crap toilet paper fills their packaging with witty copy. But that doesn’t mean they can’t take a more serious tone when talking about the number of people around the world without access to a toilet.
And yet…the mistake most brands make is inconsistency
If your tone of voice is playful or modern like Innocent and Webflow, you don’t want to put prospective customers off with pages written in a conflicting voice.