Writing in Different Brand Voices
[Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes and 44 seconds] Many people in the marketing industry work as copywriters. But those doing the hiring don’t necessarily want those writers to express messages in their voice; it’s about creating content in the brand’s voice.
Being a marketing copywriter can be akin to working as an actor; you are in essence portraying someone else. But how do you write in different brand voices? We’re here to help.
First, let’s define the term brand voice: It’s a distinct personality and tone that audiences associate with that particular organization. Imagine that company as a human being. What would they sound like? How would they act? What would their personality be? This is what you have to convey in the brand voice.
For example, Harvard isn’t going to release messaging with the same tone and personality as Wendy’s. A comedy club isn’t going to share social posts, blog posts, or emails that have the same style of writing as a luxury real estate company.
You get the idea.
Next, let’s talk about adopting the voice of the brand you’re writing for. The most important thing you need to do is read. A lot. Specifically, study previous examples of what the brand has put out. Inhale everything: mailers, social media posts, blog entries, web copy, and any other external messaging you can get your hands on.
While you’re reading, it’s important to notice the 3 Cs of brand voice: consistency, clarity, and character.
Is the voice consistent or does it seem to change? It would be weird if someone switched personalities and manners of speaking during a conversation, wouldn’t it? Same thing here.
Clarity is crucial. Is your message concise and clear? Is the audience able to understand what you’re saying immediately? You don’t want to leave them confused, that just causes all sorts of problems—including your audience simply abandoning the piece you’ve prepared and thus damaging their view of the brand.
Character is about that personality we discussed. You see how the voice is like that of a person? You can get an idea of what it would be like talking to a real human with that personality.
As you’re reading, take notes on everything. Do whatever you need to familiarize yourself with it And take your time. Slow down and truly spend those two hours studying. The worst idea is to look at a couple things and 10 minutes later say, “Yeah, yeah. I got it.”
It’s not that simple.
Once you’ve spent at least a couple of hours reading everything, then begin with some practice examples. You may not get it right away, but continue working at it until you do. The goal is to make the voice of what you produce and what came before indistinguishable.
If you do make any differences, perhaps you can make it more consistent or clear if the company was struggling with those elements before. But be sure to ask your supervisor/client before you make any adjustments. You need to communicate with them.
If you’re all set at this point, you can begin producing official work for the company or client who hired you. Remember, while many writers are hired for their talent in producing strong copy, it’s not about them. It’s about the company. Writing in different brand voices is a necessary skill.
If you’re a freelance writer, this can be trickier as you may have multiple clients. If you’re producing content for numerous brands, you need to be able to switch mindsets.
The best way to do this is to give yourself a quick break between different clients. Let’s say you wrap up a blog post for client #1, and now you need to write a week’s worth of social posts for client #2, who has a completely different brand voice.
Walk away for 30 minutes if you can. Clear your head. Read something or watch TV to cleanse your palate of the first voice. When you return to your desk, begin reviewing the next client’s brand voice again. Get into the mindset; focus on your new “role,” like an actor would. Perhaps even read this next brand voice out loud. Don’t start work until you feel the new voice in your head.
Then take a breath and start writing!
Writing in different brand voices isn’t always easy, but it’s an in-demand skill that will help you continue to thrive in your professional writing career.