When you’re talking face-to-face with someone, your tone can tell them a lot about what you’re really saying; there are certain audible cues that help people understand how something is being said and what the speaker really means. However, when you’re reading words, it can be a bit more difficult to determine the actual meaning.
There are many contributing factors to the tone of marketing copy. Your choice of words is extremely important; additionally, the structure of what you’re saying and the way the words work together can either help or hurt the message you’re trying to get out. How can you watch your tone and make sure you’re really saying the right thing through your marketing copy?
Define your brand’s personality & use that as a guide.
One of the most important steps to building your business is to establish your brand’s personality. This should fit the industry you’re in; the goal is to speak to your audience in a way that makes them want to listen and take action to create a business relationship with your brand. Once you have a personality assigned to your brand, this will influence your tone.
A great example of a brand personality can be seen on the Twitter account run by fast-food chain Wendy’s. We’ve talked about their Twitter before – they’re hilarious! Wendy’s has established themselves on Twitter for “roasting” other companies; in the included tweet, they are roasting McDonald’s for their wait times. (If you’re slightly less familiar – “roasting” refers to jokingly teasing or picking on someone. There’s a great episode of The Office that shows roasting in action – check out the clip here!)
Sarcasm and roasting may not be your brand’s personality, and that’s totally okay! Whatever your personality is, the tone of your copy should match. If you’re playful, that’s great! If your business is more serious, that’s great, too! Just make sure that you’re staying consistent with your tone across your platforms.
Enlist the help of a friend or colleague to check the tone of your copy.
Have you ever stared at a word for so long that it starts to look like a nonsensical jumble of letters? Something similar can happen when you’ve been staring at your marketing copy for a while. This is where your colleagues come in handy! One of the best ways to really hear the tone being conveyed through your words is to have them read aloud.
Of course, you could do this yourself, but you already know what you’re trying to say. Having some fresh eyes (and ears) on your work can really illuminate areas that need some improvement. Not only is it a new look at your marketing copy, but hearing the tone that your colleague perceives from the words can help you see if you’re on target or not.
Another way to see whether or not your tone is coming through is to ask colleagues to read over it and tell you what they’re gathering from it. In addition to the words that are written, the tone highlights an underlying meaning; asking your colleagues what they perceive that meaning to be after their first read can give you a lot of insight.
Let your clients weigh in on your decision.
Of course, we don’t mean let them run your social media for you! It’s nice to get feedback from your client base whenever possible. One excellent way to help determine what the tone of your copy should be is to survey your audience. You can do so by sending a follow-up email containing a simple one-question survey.
The question could be something along the lines of, “what word would you choose to describe our brand?” Or, if you’d like to get more specific, you could provide a multiple-choice survey with each choice containing a different list of words.
These could be words like, “warm, friendly, welcoming” or, “professional, innovative, formal” or any other combination of words. Using that information, you can start to shape the tone of your copy across all your online platforms!
Whatever it is that you’re putting online, make sure to watch your tone and ensure that it fits your brand. If you’re having trouble figuring out what message your branding is sending about your business, reach out to our team here at Blackwood Creative. We’re in the business of building remarkable brands – and yours could be next. Contact us today!