2 Questions to Ask When Your Brand Voice Sucks

Your brand’s voice is as important as your logo, and it’s way more difficult to get right. A strong brand voice can tell your readers everything about you in a few words, but it must be maintained across every channel. Done poorly…you’ll leave your readers shrugging.

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I don’t know, and I don’t care.

If your brand voice isn’t grabbing anybody, don’t make the mistake of massaging your syntax. Torturing yourself over every phrase is a waste of time. There’s something deeper going on. A likely hole in your process? Some fundamental questions left unanswered. To put it bluntly –

Ask yourself who the hell is reading and why the hell they should care.

Okay, I’m being cheeky (surprise). But these are legitimately awesome questions to ask when you need to take a step back and refocus your brand voice.

First up: who the hell is reading? If you answered “my customers” – I’m here to crush your dreams. That’s not specific enough. Specificity is your best friend. You need to know everything about your ideal customer and talk to them. Only them. Ignore everyone else in the room.

Questions to define your reader:

  • How old are they?
  • Where are they in life? (Socioeconomic status? Married? Single? Mingling?)
  • Cultural background?
  • Educational history?
  • Gender? (Remember to think outside the binary!)
  • What do they care about in life?
  • What’s their job title?
  • Political leanings?
  • How did they find out about you? Are they already a customer?
  • What are their relevant pain points? These should include emotional states.
  • What did they have for breakfast? (Kidding, sort of.)

These are just examples – you’ll come up with more (you creative soul). This seems like a really deep dive, but this is just persona-building lite. Ideally you’ll have several well-researched personas with answers to all these questions (and more) locked down. But for the purpose of writing your email, we’ll keep it simple.

Your brand voice is the answer to why they should care.

Now that you know everything about your reader, you should have a pretty good idea of what will resonate with them. Focus on the things they’ll actually care about (your value proposition), forget the rest. This probably shifts your content, right? Great.

Finally, think of some adjectives for the voice that will appeal to your reader. Your reader will care not only because of a solid value prop, but because it’s delivered in a way that makes sense to them.

For example, in this post my adjectives are: direct, irreverent, guiding. Because I’m interested in talking to other millennials/gen Xers who are working in the tech space, need help with writing, and who ate avocado toast for breakfast (ha) I’m not tied up in formality or corporate-speak. I want to show them what I know without being pedantic or dry.

Let your adjectives guide you. Think hard about your adjectives, do a rewrite, and see how your copy changes. It might be magic.

Still feeling overwhelmed? It’s cool, I got you. Contact me, I’d be happy to help you develop a detailed brand voice guide that will lead the way for all your content creation challenges.

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