Laboratorio de Investigación Aplicada

Choosing the Right Tone of Voice for Your Digital Content

The job of marketing professionals is to make a company or brand stand out and gain a sense of visibility in a largely anonymous market. This can be achieved by adopting a specific tone of voice that would be used to describe their products and services.

Tone of voice reflects the image of a company or brand, however, there can be different tones depending on the type of information that is communicating to their readers. For example, it is not advisable to use a humorous tone when offering advice, giving instructions or writing about sensitive issues.

The email service provider Mailchimp, known for their informal and light- hearted tone, have a set of guidelines intended for their copywriters on the site They have set out clear instructions when it's appropriate to be informal and funny and when to adopt a more serious tone.

Style guidelines are extremely useful, not just for large corporations but even for smaller establishments as it is very rare that content is produced just by one person. Consistency is vital, as readers will become accustomed to the specific tone of voice associated with your company or brand.

Most companies and brands choose certain personality traits they want their customers to associate them with, and this can be seen in many style guidelines. The NHS brand guidelines for example, list the words 'professional', 'straightforward' and 'accessible', amongst others, to define their writing style. Interestingly enough, looking at various tone of voice guidelines, many companies seem to have adopted the same traits: 'open', 'honest', 'accessible', which leads us to conclude that they are 'borrowing' tried and tested formulas from each other.

As already mentioned, tone should be modified according to the type of content that is being written. Similarly, the place where the content is published can also influence the tone of voice used. Posts published on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, are usually more informal than those found on corporate websites.

Some businesses struggle to find their 'voice' on social media sites due to the casual style of communication on these platforms. A useful tip when it comes to choosing the right tone of voice is to always try and sound authentic.

Even when writing for social media or the company blog, its' a good idea not to sound radically different than in other written communications. Consistency is of vital importance. There is greater likelihood that customers will value and trust a company if their corporate image, values, tone of voice, are all part of the same 'story'.

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