When creating content, choosing the voice for your brand poses a conundrum: Should you remain true to your story (and your personality) or adopt a persona that you think will pull people in in great numbers?
It’s a legitimate question to ponder. How much of yourself should you give away via your blog content? Should you play safe and stick to the way professionals and businessmen are supposed to talk and write, even if that means using tired marketing terms?
It should be taken into consideration that some individuals have a distaste for marketing and sales-speak that they deem insincere. This can have a negative impact on their progress.
I make a case here for cultivating an authentic voice, but doing so while taking into account the importance of using the right words to
What is an authentic voice, anyway?
Just as an individual, a brand cannot not have a voice. We all know what happens to individuals who neglect to cultivate a voice; they do not stand out and often get lost in the crowd.
For greater online visibility, a personality is more important than ever for businesses today. A business has a better chance of connecting with its audience when it rises above marketing gimmicks and create a unique voice.
A business becomes a brand through the use of its logo, the tagline, the marketing literature, social media posts, as well as the content on its blog. All of these together set the tone for the brand and tell people what to expect of it.
One of the best ways of doing this is via the content a business creates – whether blogs, social media, video, or images. After all, that is how people get to know of as well as interact with a brand.
But authenticity does not equate to an unfiltered expression of opinion. Nor does it equate to ranting or sharing embarrassingly personal stuff on Twitter.
Authenticity lies in the intention behind your carefully and thoughtfully created content.
Is the aim to genuinely help people or is to lure them via tall claims that overpromise and under deliver? How do you want to position your business?
Then there is the tenor of your text and video content. Are you crisp and professional, succinct and no-nonsense, or would you like a sprinkling of humor here and there? What about adult language? Would that be acceptable? Don’t be surprised. There are businessmen and women making millions of dollars a year via content that is edgy, personal and sometimes even foul-mouthed. This especially applies to individuals who also happen to be brands in their own right. In fact, at times it is this sprightliness that attracts people to them while also giving potential clients an idea of what to expect when working with this professional.
There aren’t really many strict dos and don’ts when it comes to adopting a voice, as long as a brand is able to pull it off and maintain consistency. This can take some trial and error.
What is market speak and how does it help?
Marketing is a unique way of presenting facts with the aim of attracting business.
For example, it might not help for a budding beauty products entrepreneur to promote her flagship product under its scientific name. It would be difficult to pronounce, alien in concept for the target audience and also not convey its qualities. But if she sold the product by stating it’s a mask made of Dead Sea minerals that give you an instant and clear glow, she will likely find more takers. Her target market is more likely to be drawn to products that promise glowing skin and anti-aging effects. A knowledge of the target market tells you this and the use of marketing language conveys as much to the audience. In short, it makes products and services accessible to the target audience.
But there is also the risk of oversimplifying things or flat out lying when promoting services. Blog content that is too heavy on marketing lingo runs the risk of sounding fake and trite. Especially in businesses that rely on the credibility of the individual running it – consultants of all types, for example – this artifice can be detrimental to the business, mostly because people can sense your honesty or the lack of it. Snake oil salesman, anyone?
A marriage of the two is therefore advisable.
Cultivate a distinct brand voice but also apply sound marketing principles to it.
In order for the above to work well it would require a business to conduct in-depth market and keyword research. Any content that is not based on this research is bound to fail.
In simple terms this means finding out:
- The demographics of the target audience.
- Their most pressing issues.
- Their most researched keywords.
- Their preferences and dislikes.
- The scientific research in this field.
- The kind of content already published in this regard.
- The most popular content published in this regard.
- The effectiveness of this content.
Once a business has gained an understanding of the above, there comes the task of producing content that addresses the issues but does so in a manner that is accessible for the target audience. By all means, tell them about the
Adding a bit of humor, talking in the first person, taking certain liberties with the language – all of these make content more entertaining for the readers to consume while also educating them in the process. Ultimately, this is what a business should strive for with its blog.
There is nothing wrong with sharing personal stories or getting emotional on camera either. Far from appearing unprofessional, the above lends credibility to the individual’s brand. These not only showcase the personality of the brand or individual but also help people make an emotional connection.
So how do you go about it?
There are all kinds of experts in this world, and yet we prefer some to others. Why is that?
We are attracted to experts and businesses that we can identify with at some level. To a large extent this is made possible by the quality and credibility of the services being offered, but how this takes place is also important.
You might not be able to finish a book on finances written in a dull manner even if it is full of sound advice. Conversely, you might not be able to put down a book titled ‘Smart Women Finish Rich,’ not just because of its intriguing title, but also because of the relatable and engaging manner in which the author has produced the content.
The quality of work produced is also much better when it is guided by a desire greater than just generating profits. It resonates and endures.
So the next time you find yourself mulling over whether you should be authentic in your blog posts or indulge in a ton of marketing speak, remember this – be yourself but support the content with proper research and correct terminology.
Image: Time for new content