Each of us has our own style and voice that define our personalities – little quirks and mannerisms that our friends and family use to describe and identify us. But as businesses of all sizes become more active in the online social medium, with company-dedicated blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts it can often be difficult to build and maintain a consistent style. Here are some best practices for establishing a voice and tone that will help bring your company to life and boost engagement with your audience.
- Dedicated Editors: Depending on the size of your business, you may have several people who can and should be contributing to your blog and online presence. As with any business, your employees probably have various areas of expertise and knowledge that would prove useful to your customers, so it’s important to enable them to contribute. However, only one or two people should own the editing and posting. This way, a consistent tone is easier to maintain. Rather than over complicating things by trying to teach every contributing member how you want posts to sound, allow them to write – putting their ideas and main points in the hands of the primary editors. Those editors can craft the writing into the desired style and voice.
- Tell Trending Stories in Your Own Words: It’s good to be original with what you write, but being unique is often difficult considering the mass of content posted online every day. Instead of trying to cover subjects no one has covered before (and hence no one may care about), follow trending topics online within your industry. What are others writing about? What’s big in the news right now that could affect your business or your customers? Then retell those stories in your own words and in a way that it will be most relevant and interesting to your customers. You want your readers to associate your blog and online presence with a source of knowledge for your industry or field. Explaining complex ideas and larger news stories in a simpler format will position you as a thought leader. In essence you become the voice of the expert with the advice and solutions your readers and customers are seeking.
- Keep Your Voice Casual: This best practice may not be true for every business, but the vast majority of companies with an online presence should strive to keep their style and voice casual. According to Anna Ritchie of Content Marketing Institute, “By clouding social media sites with your corporate voice, you may deter your social audience from feeling comfortable that their own voices are welcome or will be heard. Your social sites shouldn’t serve as an extension of your company voice; they should give you the chance to… connect with your audience on a more intimate level.” Readers don’t want to get bogged down in long-winded posts that get overly specific or involved. Instead explain topics and concepts as if you were talking to someone one-on-one. If your voice mirrors that of a casual conversation, people are more likely to keep reading and feel as though they are being informed or advised by a person. A casual voice breaks down the barrier between you and your readers and can put them at ease.
Establishing a voice and tone for your business can take time, but well-written consistent content can yield lots of positive returns. These three best practices are a great place to start. Eventually, your content will find a style and your business will take on an online personality all its own.
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