In This Masterchat
Crafting a brand voice is about getting the balance right between personality + structure. It’s about knowing the words, feelings and values that your brand stands for – so you can wield them with confidence and passion. Just like any new skill, learning how to craft copy takes time and practice, but our resident expert, Jen Caudill is here to help us get started!
“A great brand voice bucks convention. Be free to speak the way you would speak to a friend.”
Notes from Jen:
Take the time to discover why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’re doing differently than everyone else. When you know your genius and can pitch it to someone in an elevator ride, you’ve got the foundation you need to start writing brand copy.
[For help with this, check out the ‘Your Unique Story’ interview with Tara Sollman + the ‘Why Map’ exercise]
Keep those points of difference handy. I like to talk about hierarchy of communication with my clients. You’ve discovered what makes your brand unique. Now put those points in a list. Keep it short. Only the most important points. For instance, if I am a Natural Dog Treat Co., my hierarchy might be:
Once you’ve got this list, keep it in mind when communicating to your consumers. In this instance, you’d lead with your products being natural, point out that they’re healthy and then mention that they’re tasty. Boom. You’ve just made yourself a guide – whether you’re writing headlines, social media posts or About Us information.
Keep the Dogly Principles in Mind:
Be authentic. When you’re writing, type as if you’re talking to a friend. That may mean starting the occasional sentence with And. And, it may mean a touch of slang, dialect and one word sentences. Y’all hear what I’m saying? Good.
Be consistent. I recommend coming up with a list of words and phrases that speak to your brand. Then stick to them. If your products are natural, tasty and fresh, make sure you’ve always got those words sprinkled in your messaging. If you’ve got a killer tagline, use it. No need to constantly reinvent the wheel. Consistent messaging sticks.
Be clear. Fancy is just schmancy when it comes to brand messaging. That doesn’t mean you can’t be elegant. Doesn’t mean you can’t elevate your brand either. But keep your descriptors and adjectives to a minimum. See above bullet on consistency. Pick a few and stick to them!
Write with Heart:
If you’re struggling to find your voice, do some [excuse the name] ‘word vomit’ sessions: just write and write – get it all out with concentrated personality… Then you can go back and trim later. If you start by trying to be perfect, it’s too easy to leave out the heart!
“If you have a personal brand – you want your brand copy to be a reflection of what it’s like to actually meet you in person.”
Speak with Specificity:
Be a few people’s glass of whiskey, instead of everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t try to speak to EVERYONE – speak to the people who will be drawn to your personality.
When you’re trying to be consistent, it is critical to do some of the ‘ground work’ for your brand in advance. Just like using consistent fonts, colors and graphics – using consistent words, syntax and ideas is critical for creating a consistent ‘brand voice’. It’s a bit like ‘stepping into the character’ of your brand.
Print out both of the worksheets below, set aside some time to fill them out [don’t worry about making it perfect, you can always tweak as you go along!] Keep these near you to refer to at a glance.
Animal people are weird. I’m one of them and damn proud of it.
I believe in the power of our connection with animals. One that transcends species and potentially makes the world turn. My best friend is a Canis Major of a golden retriever who keeps me reaching for the stars. She’s my therapist, my hiking partner, my cuddlebug, foot warmer and my editor-in-chief. Day after day, I wonder – what are you thinking, you furry, mystical creature, you?
It’s this internal narrator that keeps my wheels spinning and my fingers typing. I’m constantly writing, editing and dreaming up new ways to express myself and my clients. I’ve also got a degree in Advertising and have worked both in-house and as a consultant for brands, both big and small, for nearly 15 years (if it matters to ya).
I teach my clients to turn their thoughts into words, so that everything – from headlines to bullet points – translates to awesome and helps them bring home the bacon. The cheddar. The dough.
Copy that shows just how unique you are, and how remarkable your services, or innovative your products –those are the words that make your new customers say I need you in my life. Sounds good, right?