*puts on David Attenborough-style British accent*
*speaks quietly, so as not to disturb*
Ah, the elusive brand voice. A mysterious beast that nobody has quite been able to put their finger on, for as soon as you shine a light on it… it disappears altogether.
Okay. Enough of that. And whoever let me try to imitate David Attenborough… please don’t let me do that again.
BUT! All of that nonsense up above about how to find your brand voice – It kinda feels that way for a lot of people.
So if you’ve heard of brand voice before and have written it off as this “woo-woo” thing that really doesn’t mean anything? Trust me, you’re not alone.
But bear with me. I’m gonna uncover the mysteriousness of it – and help you find yours!
What is a brand voice?
Like I said up above – brand voice can feel mysterious. But it’s actually not. There is a legit science to it!
So lemme walk you through it:
A brand voice is made up of 3 components:
- Treasure trove words
All three of ‘em work together (science-like!) to help you come across a certain way to your unicorn client in your content and copy.
So, lemme break ‘em down for ya:
Remember when we were kids and our mamas would say, “You better watch that tone, little lady!”
Or like … when you would tell that sh*tty ex, “It’s not what you said. It’s how you said it.”
That’s all tone, baby! And no, tone is not always associated with a negative issue. You can have an upbeat and joyful tone. You can have an edgy, bold tone. Or you can have a romantic, elegant tone. You might even have a tone that’s a combination of different vibes!
The point is to ~find~ the tone that suits your brand (more on that in a minute), and then stick to that when you write.
Of the 3 ingredients that make up a brand voice, tempo is probably the hardest to grasp. But that’s only because most business owners (who aren’t dealing directly with brand voice day in and day out) don’t know to look for it.
That’s not on you! You don’t know what you don’t know.
So what is tempo, then?
It has to do with the length of your sentences. And trust me – it plays a huge part in getting your brand voice across!
Think of the most elegant brand. Like Chanel or Oscar de la Renta. They’re known for their beautiful couture gowns and stunning design details. And if you take a look at their Instagram captions, they allow that feel to flow into their brand voice, through longer, flowing sentences. That tempo creates the elegant, romantic feel synonymous with Oscar de la Renta’s brand.
On the other hand, look at Rag and Bone. They’re edgier brand voice shows up in short, staccato-like sentences on Instagram.
So when it comes to how to find your brand voice – look at the way you speak naturally (if you’re the face of your brand). Or look at your past Instagram posts and blog posts – do you typically use longer, flowing, poetic sentences? Do you use short, punchy ones? Somewhere in between?
Once you’ve figured out your brand voice tempo, the key is to stick with it. Could you imagine if Oscar de la Renta switched up from their signature, longer sentences to short 👏 punchy 👏 ones?
Don’t give your unicorn clients whiplash. Just like once you’ve got your visual brand design down, and you re-use the same logo, the same color palette, the same fonts over and over again – your brand voice needs to be used over and over again, too.
Treasure Trove Words:
And last up! We’ve got the treasure trove words. Some people call this your “isms.” But really what it is is the words and phrases you use over and over again.
You know how some people IRL say “dude,” at the end of each sentence? That’s an ‘ism.
You know how in the South, we say, “bless your heart?” That’s an ‘ism.
So the best thing you can do is pay attention to how you speak IRL. What do you say when you’re around your friends over and over again? Write those downs. Then use that list of treasure trove words as your brand voice swipe file!
Wanna know your brand voice vibe?
Take this (quick, Seventeen magazine style) quiz!
Why (oh why!?) should you focus on brand voice?
Whether you know it or not, you already have a brand voice. Because every time you sit down at your keyboard to write anything for your brand, you’re writing with:
- Treasure trove words
And that means if you’re not focusing on brand voice, or if you don’t have it mapped out already, then you’re (eeshk!) susceptible to being inconsistent in your brand voice.
One day, you might have a short tempo. A more straight, no chaser tone. And treasure trove words that … kinda don’t sound like “your brand.”
And the next day, you might have longer, flowing tempo. You might use a more romantic, elegant tone. And your treasure trove words reflect that.
So, what’s the problem with that?
Well, dang! By doing that, you’re probably confusing the hell outta your unicorn clients! They’re heads are spinnin’ faster than Chris Rock’s after the Will Smith slap heard ‘round the world!
Another reason to focus on brand voice!
If you want a more … “tangible” reason to focus on brand voice – well, I gotcha covered there.
Have you ever sat down at your keyboard to write an Instagram post? A blog post? An email to your email list?
And you knew exactly what you wanted to say. You knew what you wanted to talk about – the juicy (< I hate that word) tips or advice for your unicorn clients.
But you still felt that (dreaded) writer’s block because you didn’t know how to say it.
Enter your brand voice!
Your brand voice is going to help you smack writer’s block upside the head for even trying to come at you.
One more reason to focus on nailing your brand voice guidelines!
You’re growing a business here.
And the more you grow it, the more you’re gonna realize…there ain’t enough hours in the damn day to do everything yourself!
At some point, you’re probably gonna want to outsource something. You may even get to the point of hiring someone!
So whether you outsource to a:
- Virtual Assistant
- Social Media Manager
- Email Marketer (want help with that?)
- Content Marketer / Blog Writer (or want help with that?)
- Business Systems Expert (who can help you write your canned emails, proposals, etc.)
- Website Copywriter (I can also help with this!)
- Launch Copywriter (and this, too!)
You can have them go through your brand voice guidelines so they know how your brand sounds. They’ll be able to write for you, and deliver a first draft that has you saying, “Yes. That’s exactly how I would say it!”
And that keeps your brand sounding consistent – no matter who’s writing for you!
So when it comes to how to find your brand voice, what should you do?
First things first, you can start by taking this quiz to get your brand voice persona! Think of this as your Enneagram.
Is it your signature brand voice? No, of course not. That really does take a deep dive into discovering your overall brand messaging!
But! Just like with the Enneagram, it gives you a good foundation into understanding what your signature voice will be!
From there, the next best step you can take is prioritize nailing down your signature brand voice! Whether that’s by doing it yourself or finding a copywriter who offers it in their projects (it’s me! Hi!), having a full blown brand messaging guide that includes your brand voice is going to be a game changer for you.
The Sipsy Ink brand voice personas
Have you ever heard of brand archetypes?
If you’re somewhat familiar with ‘em, then this will probably click with ya too. If not – no worries! I’m walking you through it.
Basically, there are brand voice archetypes, too. And those are separate from regular ol’ brand archetypes.
Your brand has two ways it can showcase personality:
- Your brand design
- Your brand voice
The two don’t have to be the same. Yes, you can have beautiful calligraphic, scrolling fonts on your website. And you can still make The Princess Diaries references.
In fact, I encourage you to! It’s gonna be the missing ingredient to help you stand the hell out in what can feel like a crazy crowded online world.
So just like you have your brand visual archetype, you also have your brand voice archetype (or personas, as I like to call ‘em).
Here are the 5 brand voice personas that I use within my own brand messaging + voice discovery phase for all of my Copy Cove Week clients:
- The Everygal
- The Rebel
- The Life of the Party
- The Bestie
- The Hopeful Romantic
Which one are you!?
Take the free quiz and find your brand voice (and how to start using it in your copy!)
Why I include brand messaging + voice discovery in my Copy Cove Week and in my Launch Copywriting projects!
So, why do I include brand messaging and voice discovery in my Copy Cove Week and Launch Copywriting projects?
Because they’re the foundation of all copywriting.
Think of a brand designer. The ones who are worth their weight in gold? They start off with brand strategy before they ever come up with logo concepts.
Because they know strategy is the root of a sustainable brand design.
The same goes with messaging, voice, and copywriting! Your messaging and voice is the strategy behind the copywriting.
Copy uses the brand messaging and voice guidelines, combines them with sales psychology and techniques, to then craft words that convert.
But copy can change! (And it probably should from time to time!)
And every time it does change, it should start with reviewing the brand messaging and voice guidelines.
So when you go for a Copy Cove Week project or a Launch Copy project? I include brand messaging + voice (instead of treating it as an add-on service) because I believe in it so freakin’ fiercely!
That means that whenever you do decide to refresh your copywriting, whether that’s yourself, with me in the future, or with another copywriter entirely, you still know exactly where to start.
How I help you find your signature brand voice:
Even if you take the brand voice quiz, I still include helping you find your signature online voice vibe in my Copy Cove Week projects.
Because, like I mentioned earlier, the quiz is a great foundation for finding yours. But just like everyone who is an Enneagram 3 in the world is unique, everyone who is The Rebel brand voice persona is unique. Or everyone who is The Everygal is unique.
So we’ll do a deep dive into your business. And for voice specifically, that looks like:
- Starting with your brand messaging. What do your brand messaging guidelines indicate about your business? What’s your mission, your vision? What are your core values?
For example, one of my core values is non. Boring. Copy. always! That core value, which I bring to the table for all of my clients, also shows up in my own copy! Because how can I claim to give non-boring copy to all of my clients, if I don’t do it myself!? << See how it influences my brand voice!
- Finding where you and your unicorn client overlap. Just like with anything in your business, you’ve gotta find where you and your unicorn client mix. Because the whollleee purpose is to appeal to them and attract them straight to your brand (like one of those blue lights attracts moths… surely, there’s a better analogy…). So, the key is to find what makes you unique in your voice, and what will resonate with them. Like – do they also love Spongebob? Do they, too, quote Napoleon Dynamite almost 20 years later (oh sweet Lord, that makes my head hurt)? We’ll dig into this so we can discover the voice that makes it easy for you to write and that works for your clients!
- Listening to how you speak IRL. Okay, I’ll admit – my strategy calls are long. They’re longer than most other copywriters out there. BUT. A) I don’t like to rush us off the phone. It’s a chance for me to get to know you, and I love getting to know you! And B) It’s more time for me to listen to how you speak in real life. After spending 2 hours on the phone with you – I might not know every last detail about your life (like where you were on April 27, 2013). BUT. I have a much, much greater sense of how you talk. And that literally shows up when I’m writing your copy for you!
For example, I spent 2.5 hours on a strategy call with an absolute dream client. And it really did feel more like catching up with an old friend. Yes, we did a deep dive into her brand. But it also opened the door to more casual chit chat. So when I went to write her website copy, I literally found myself backspacing certain words or phrases, while also saying, “No, she wouldn’t say it like that.”
PSST. That’s is the reason why I get so many clients (including that one up above) saying, “Holy cow, that’s exactly how I would say it in real life!”
You’ve got the basics of how to find your brand voice right in your pocket. Or … wherever you store this kind of information.
So now what do you do with it? Well! I think it’s a fantabulous time to figure out your brand voice persona! And to do that? All ya gotta do is take this (equally fantabulous) quiz!