You might have seen just how keen we are on every small business having a blog, and we’ve even given some ideas about what on earth you should write once you have one. But how do you write a blog using your brand’s voice? With what voice?
Giving your blog a consistent and clear voice means giving your brand a personality – it’s an important brand element to get right. After all, I’ll bet you change the way you talk to your parents from the way you talk to your best friend, from the way you talk at work – #NSFW anyone? The online world is no different.
It’s about creating a kind of character sketch of who you want reading your blog. This might be one specific kind of person or a few. The important thing when you want to write a blog is to be adaptable enough to know that things might change and develop with time. Here are the key questions you need to answer in order to start writing with a distinct blog voice:
Who Are You Talking To?
First up: it pays to be specific. Think about the audience who you are speaking to. This means gathering a bit of information and identifying specific factors about your potential audience to inform your decisions. You might want to poll your social media following or take a bit of a survey if you aren’t 100% certain about who you’re currently interacting with. This gives you a chance to mix quantitative and qualitative info – all this means is that you don’t just limit yourself to the obvious data on hand.
Basically, you want to know what the values are of the person you’re talking to. There’s a reason we probably wouldn’t swear in a blog for a company with a family-orientated product – it’s just not appropriate. Figure out the unique, qualitative info associated with your typical audience member – do they have children, own property or rent, travel frequently, cycle to work…? It could well be anything, but all information is gold. This is why surveying and interacting with your audience is really important: you might discover something you didn’t expect! This type of research is also known as “Persona Creation”, however, we can talk about that on another day.
What Do They Want to Know?
Tailoring what you say is half the battle: the other half is making sure you’re providing valuable information. Part of getting to know your audience’s character is figuring out what kinds of questions they need answering. And this also means working out how they want to get this information – does your client character respond better to infographics, lists, or long-form articles? This dictates the appropriate voice or tone of the piece when it comes time to write a blog post.
Where Else Would They Get Their Information?
It makes a big difference if they frequent Buzzfeed versus the BBC – take into consideration the style of writing they associate with valuable information sources. This is good for knowing what kinds of things work for your audience, and what style is relevant to them.
Who Are You? And How Do You Characterise Your Business?
Once you know who you are talking to and what they need to know, it’s important not to forget who you are as a brand. Are you a young, entrepreneurial company bent on forward thinking? Or do you pride yourself on tried and tested methods? Are you formal or informal? Consider the descriptive words you associate with your brand; for instance, if energy and vitality are important, keep sentences sparky and short. It’s an easy exercise to do yourself: think up the key 3-5 words that you’d use to describe your business. Ask your colleagues if you aren’t sure. The dynamic of your business should be clear, and it’s these descriptive words you should keep in mind as you write a blog post. The character of your company should have the chance to shine through your blogging. Your tone of voice for your blog should be distinct and recognisable, so people start to get a feel for who’s behind the screen.
What Do You Know About?
Okay, so you know who you are and who you’re talking to – but what do you actually know about? There’s no point pretending you have expertise on subjects you have no interest in or knowledge about. Chances are, your voice will develop more naturally if you draw upon topics you know and love (though of course, they have to be relevant to your brand!). Try to resist chatting the breeze if that’s not what your blog is about – focus, and hone in on what matters.
What Else is Out There?
No point joining the herd of other similar blogs. Trust me, there is definitely something similar out there! Doesn’t mean you can’t be distinct and unique though, it just means you should make yourself aware of what else exists. Do your research on blogs that have a similar theme or audience. Think about their style: how do they phrase things? How long are their blogs? In what format? Knowing all this means you know what else has worked for others, and you can tailor your posts accordingly – either in line with tested formats or striking out in a bid to differentiate your brand.
When Will You Post?
Your brand’s voice is definitely going to be affected by the frequency with which you write. This is why super frequent blogs often have a more relaxed, entertaining vibe. Without a team of serious professionals typing away for your benefit, it can be hard to create super serious long-form content on a daily basis. That might be your jam, in which case, go for it. But be realistic: whatever you start doing, you have to commit to keep doing it. Consistency in your voice is vital, your business will lose all the benefits of appearing secure and transparent if things are always changing on your blog, or you can’t keep your blogging promises.
These are just a few of the key questions to think about before you get stuck in. Once you can answer these, then you can start to think about the specific, technical aspects of writing: in other words, the grammar, punctuation, and phrasing you use. But don’t put the horse before the cart – start at the general and get more specific. You’re on your way to write a blog that will serve you and your audience.
Good luck and be awesome!
Categorised in: Branding