March 26 Content Chat Recap: Defining Your Brand Voice for Content

Defining Your Brand Voice for Content. #ContentChat

Q1: What is a brand voice and what does it do for my content?

Your brand voice is the key to differentiating your content.

A1a: Your brand voice is what makes your content yours. It’s your brand’s personality—what makes you different from your competition. Without your brand’s name attached, a strong brand voice allows your content to still come across as yours. #ContentChat https://t.co/yiR88VDcco

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A1b: A documented brand voice makes your content more consistent. Most brands have multiple people creating branded content. A documented brand voice helps unite those content creation efforts to keep all your brand\’s communications consistent. #ContentChat https://t.co/Do71ckFlWo

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A1: In my opinion a brand voice is the tone, diction, and vocabulary that is unique to a company or individual. This allows for consumers and employers to get a grasp for the company’s values and characteristics before even talking with a representative of the brand #contentchat

— Brooke Tanner (@bmtannersyr) March 26, 2018

A1: To me, brand voice is the way you make your company or product unique. It makes it stand out from everything else in the market #ContentChat #PRL215

— Mini Le (@mini_le17) March 26, 2018

A1: I would argue that brand voice allows your company to diversify itself from the competition, have some personality and create relationships with their customers. Look at @Wendys. Their brand voice is amazing, and every time I go to one I think of their tweets. #contentchat

— Emma Ryan (@emma_ryan1227) March 26, 2018

Your brand voice is your brand\’s personality.

A1: A brand voice is the personality of your brand. It helps people relate to your business and helps to shows what they can expect from doing business with you (comedy, information, entertainment, etc.)#ContentChat

— influencerTONY 🎥 90 Vids/90 Days (@InfluencerTony) March 26, 2018

A1: It\’s how you (want to) sound to your audience and it guides what kind of content you create and how you write/design it. It\’s like a soundtrack for your content.
@jesseghiorzi #ContentChat

— CHARGE (@CHARGEgoforward) March 26, 2018

A1: It\’s the personality of your content. Imagine being told the same story by your mom, your best friend, and a DMV employee. They would all tell it differently and what makes their version distinctly theirs is their brand voice, so to speak! #contentchat

— Power Digital (@PwrDigMarketing) March 26, 2018

A1. Brand voice subtly communicates your values, personality, and USP. It\’s what makes your brand human and memorable. #contentchat

— Kim Doughty (@Howdy_Doughty) March 26, 2018

A1: Your brand voice is a mix of your unique brand story and the way that you share it to the world. It encompasses everything about how you present yourself – from the style of your images to the way you tweet. #Contentchat

— Ashley Hoffman (@ashhmarketing) March 26, 2018

Your brand voice builds consistency in your content.

A1: It\’s the personality behind your brand – makes sure there\’s some consistency in the tone and type of messaging coming out from your brand #ContentChat

— Kristen Hicks (@atxcopywriter) March 26, 2018

A1 Your #brand #voice consists of the words you use to communicate with your audience, allowing them to form an opinion if you’re a company they’d like to work with. Consistency is critical to build trust. #contentchat

— Tod Cordill (@todcordill) March 26, 2018

A1: Your brand voice is a mix of your unique brand story and the way that you share it to the world. It encompasses everything about how you present yourself – from the style of your images to the way you tweet. #Contentchat

— Ashley Hoffman (@ashhmarketing) March 26, 2018

 

Q2: For those of you who already have a defined brand voice, how has it been useful to you in your content marketing and social media efforts?

A defined brand voice makes it easier to get all content creators quickly on the same page, to create content with brand consistency.

A2: As a consultant, a documented brand voice allows me to spend less time trying to figure out how to communicate on behalf of a brand. It can take months to absorb a brand’s personality. A documented brand voice is a good shortcut to onboard new content creators. #ContentChat https://t.co/Yv0ueQEVkW

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A2: I have client brand voices posted to my desk to make sure to hit the right notes. It helps me quickly get in the mindset to create for that client.
@jesseghiorzi #ContentChat

— CHARGE (@CHARGEgoforward) March 26, 2018

A2. Having a defined #brand voice makes it easier to develop messaging for #content #marketing, whether it be in a blog post, on social media, etc. Your audience becomes familiar with your brand voice and this creates an identity for your company. #ContentChat

— SourceMedia (@SourceMediaCo) March 26, 2018

A defined brand voice makes it easy to stand apart from the competition.

Q2: In my #PRL215 class, we have to write a lot of blogs. Having a defined brand voice definitely makes my blog stand out from all the other similar ones out there #ContentChat

— Mini Le (@mini_le17) March 26, 2018

A2: I am currently in the process of defining my personal brand voice. I find that constantly referring back to my personal goals and mission helps to drive the content I\’m putting out #contentchat

— Kerry Judge (@Kerryjjudge) March 26, 2018

A2: Defining my brand voice was definitely not easy, but it has helped me maintain a consistency throughout my social media content. It has helped me evaluate my content and push me to strive for effectiveness through creativity. #ContentChat

— Hadassah Lai (@hadassahlai) March 26, 2018

A defined brand voice does the real heavy lifting in the branding toolbox.

Q2: I tend to think of brand voice before I think of the personal brand I want to create. But personal brand drives the voice. The voice does a lot of the work of personal branding, imho #contentchat

— Joanne Masterson (@attentiontips) March 26, 2018

A2: Brand voice is helpful when you\’re unsure of how to share something or whether or not you should chime in on a topic. Ask: \”Does this fit the image of my company that we\’ve built?\” And \”How will it affect the conversations that I have with my audience?\” #contentchat

— Caitlin Kinser (@caitlinmarie89) March 26, 2018

A2: It helps guide how you phrase, interact, and push content across the Internet. It also guides you through new ideas or ideas you’ve seen and whether they’ll work for your brand #contentchat

— Terrell Chestnutt (@trchestnutt) March 26, 2018

A2: It gives us a clear direction on what content to share & write about, who to focus on engaging with, and how to build the right audience based on who we tailor our voice to. #ContentChat https://t.co/eShOdA05Rq

— Ashley Hoffman (@ashhmarketing) March 26, 2018

Q3: What\’s the first step in defining a brand voice for content?

Your first step towards defining your brand voice is to conduct a content audit.

A3a: Take a look at a representative sample of your content. Look at your nurture emails, newsletters, press releases, fact sheets, blog posts, videos, webinars—everything! Pull out the pieces of content that do the best job of reflecting your brand’s voice. #ContentChat https://t.co/Hz9oYF05X6

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A3b: Next, think about your competitors. Which of these pieces could just as easily have been published with their logo attached? Set those aside. Now you should be left with a small group of pieces that represent the brand voice you want to embody. #ContentChat https://t.co/wofySFbr3S

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A3: Consume past content, talk with the brand and its clients to see how they sound and how they want to sound. Look for common themes. When you\’re ready to sum up the brand voice, I love this guide from @MailChimp: https://t.co/z2Qey3H596@jesseghiorzi #ContentChat

— CHARGE (@CHARGEgoforward) March 26, 2018

Define your brand values and what makes you different from your competitors.

A3: The first step in defining a brand voice for content is deciding what you value. Mapping all of your content around what you believe in and what you value is a great way to maintain a successful brand voice. #ContentChat

— ashley (@ahsteinberg) March 26, 2018

A3: Defining what your WHY is. What are your brand\’s values and beliefs and how can you show that through your writing.#ContentChat

— influencerTONY 🎥 90 Vids/90 Days (@InfluencerTony) March 26, 2018

A3: Deciding how you want to come across with your readers. Fun and engaging? Serious? Caring? Etc. You\’ll also need to check competitors to see the tone they\’re taking, so you can try to stand out from them. #contentchat

— Jason Webb (@JasonLWebb) March 26, 2018

A3. for clients and employers, i\’ve literally walked down the hall into the owners office and asked what their brand values. I want to hear it from them first. #contentchat

— Steve Bitter (@stevebitter) March 26, 2018

Understand how you want your brand to be perceived—how do you want your brand to make people feel?

A3: To develop a brand voice, first ask how you want your audience to perceive you; use descriptive words and the emotions that you want to make them feel. #contentchat

— Caitlin Kinser (@caitlinmarie89) March 26, 2018

A3. Understand the type of #audience you\’re trying to target and how you can explain your brand\’s value in a way that will effectively reach them. #ContentChat

— SourceMedia (@SourceMediaCo) March 26, 2018

A3. Ask yourself how you would like people to see you. Are you fun? Are you scholarly? Are you sincere? This will help you identify your brand persona. I also recommend taking a look at brand archetypes: https://t.co/UDcmu8lxYh #contentchat

— Kim Doughty (@Howdy_Doughty) March 26, 2018

A3: The first step in defining a brand voice is figuring out what message/vibe you want to portray. Is it funny? Hip? Serious? I\’m personally a fan of brands that make me laugh #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/jBq2ATAUz1

— Mini Le (@mini_le17) March 26, 2018

Q4: OK, I\’ve done a content inventory and identified the pieces that best differentiate us from our competition. What\’s my next step for defining a brand voice?

Next, look at your content samples and identify the primary themes that unite them.

A4a: Take those ideal brand voice samples and tack them up on a whiteboard (physical or virtual), and gather a group of your content creators and approvers together. Review the pieces together and discuss the common themes across the pieces. #ContentChat https://t.co/CsepHyptHh

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A4b: Group your examples into three related buckets, by theme. With these themes in mind, if your brand was a person, how would you describe its personality to someone? #ContentChat https://t.co/umpqmBjxTb

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A4c: Also think about how you would describe your competitors as people, too. How does your brand’s personality traits make you different? #ContentChat https://t.co/9RdglTKT8t

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

Do your research!

A4: Draft a logo or a slogan, something that will identify your brand and help consumers notice you. Then, write down goals and visions you have for your brand and start to work through how you want to meet those goals. Create deadlines too to organize yourself!#contentchat pic.twitter.com/RWe5ZcQity

— Brooke Tanner (@bmtannersyr) March 26, 2018

A4: After doing research on competitors, I think the next step should be listening to your intended audience. This can create a deeper insight to creating an effective brand voice. #ContentChat

— Hadassah Lai (@hadassahlai) March 26, 2018

A4: Define your target audience. This may be a part of step 1 but its important to understand who you\’re talking to in order to stay relevant #contentchat

— Kerry Judge (@Kerryjjudge) March 26, 2018

A4: It\’s important to compare yourself to other brands and find a way to distinguish yourself once you have all the content that you like about yourself pulled out. It\’s all about finding that competitive edge that makes you shine. #contentchat

— ashley (@ahsteinberg) March 26, 2018

A4: If you want a brand voice that resonates, test your standards. Set target reading ease. Choose genders, cultures to include in images. Draft some tweets & social posts. Choose emotions you want to evoke. Post test updates with that voice & see how they do. #contentchat

— Joanne Masterson (@attentiontips) March 26, 2018

Draft a content plan.

A4: Next: Decide what TYPE of value you can offer. Your brand voice should appropriately align with the content that you plan to share. How can you deliver what you have in a way that will elicit the response that you\’re looking for? #ContentChat

— Caitlin Kinser (@caitlinmarie89) March 26, 2018

A4: You\’ve discovered what makes your brand unique, now you should determine what your goals are, KPIs, and map a plan how to achieve them. Also, find out how to deliver valuable content in a consumable, transparent, way. Oh, and be consistent. #ContentChat

— Terry Schilling (@tschill86) March 26, 2018

Q5: How do I move from broad brand personality traits or attributes into something that can be used as a guide or framework for creating on-brand content?

Take your brand attributes and go deeper.

A5a: Let’s take the three traits you defined and delve into them a little more deeply. Let’s say you chose “quirky”. You could define it further as \”irreverent, unexpected, contrarian”. #ContentChat https://t.co/NOPitXKKvm

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A5b: Also think about what you don’t mean by the words. Using “quirky” again, you’d want to note that you didn’t mean “snarky”, unless, of course, you did. Do this for each of the brand personality traits you identified. #ContentChat https://t.co/pGAFTgEl3r

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A5c: Use these descriptors to craft a description of the voice characteristic plus a list of Do’s and Don’ts that show how to put the trait to work in the content creation process. #ContentChat https://t.co/s2DXp0yxt0

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A5d: For our “quirky\” example, the description could be “We’re not afraid to challenge the status quo and be ourselves.” A corresponding \”do\” would be to use unexpected examples, while a \”don’t\” might be to use too much slang or too many obscure references. #ContentChat https://t.co/cmpI5HPSrv

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A5: the foundation words should be broad terms that you can build upon with more specific, descriptive words. I think that you could use words that require more action. For example, i could build upon “sophisticated” with “clean and organized.” #ContentChat

— Hadassah Lai (@hadassahlai) March 26, 2018

Do a deep-dive into what makes your brand special.

A5: This part can be difficult- being different from competitors isn’t always obvious. Dig into what makes your brand special- whether it be your history, past experiences, or even the meaning behind your brand name. Run with it- it can become your unique voice #contentchat

— Brooke Tanner (@bmtannersyr) March 26, 2018

Time to build out your content strategy and/or brand style guide.

A5: The @MailChimp guide included a sound like this/not like that section which is great. I also think you need to nail down types of content by seeing what that audience likes best. Are they sharing infographics, long reads, videos, etc.?
@jesseghiorzi #ContentChat

— CHARGE (@CHARGEgoforward) March 26, 2018

A5: This is where you work to create brand guidelines:

*What kind of language and style will the brand use?
*What is the tone?
*What type of media do we use?
*What topics do we \”own\” and which do we avoid?#ContentChat

— Caitlin Kinser (@caitlinmarie89) March 26, 2018

A5: Create example posts to show those traits – informative, creative and interactive, just for fun – and figure out how to align your marketing or social media calendar with those types of posts! #ContentChat

— Terrell Chestnutt (@trchestnutt) March 26, 2018

A5: For each channel, identity your specific audience & what you want to say to them (LinkedIn might be a bit different than IG) Then create sample conversations, Dos and Don\’ts etc for each channel. #contentchat

— Power Digital (@PwrDigMarketing) March 26, 2018

Q6: Can you share some brand voice chart or documentation examples?

A6a: Here’s an example of a brand voice chart that I use frequently to illustrate this process. #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/sErlX4a8Us

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A6: Someone mentioned @MailChimp! Great example of an intentional brand voice. Here\’s their page on it: https://t.co/V2gY5pX8aG #contentchat

— Joanne Masterson (@attentiontips) March 26, 2018

A6: Nothing I can share, but ours follow this pattern:
Name: Adjective noun
Description: 4-5 sentences
This not that: 4-5 examples
Types: what formats work
Elevator pitch: 4-5 sentence example
Comparisons: actor that embodies the voice
@jesseghiorzi #ContentChat

— CHARGE (@CHARGEgoforward) March 26, 2018

Q6: Here is a great brand voice worksheet. #contentchat pic.twitter.com/cuEoCT2uMT

— Power Digital (@PwrDigMarketing) March 26, 2018

A6: Here’s one I posted earlier in the chat! I was given this chart by a professor, @Gallicano, and I’ve used it ever since! (She’s a great person to follow for PR!) #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/KkZWZt4dsz

— Terrell Chestnutt (@trchestnutt) March 26, 2018

Q6: Here\’s a high-level visual guide of things to keep in mind for developing a brand voice. #contentchat pic.twitter.com/UgcvxPSue1

— Power Digital (@PwrDigMarketing) March 26, 2018

Q7: What is the biggest mistake brands make in defining their brand voice?

A7a: The biggest mistake I see brands make when defining brand voice is coming up w/ something that’s too difficult to put into action. For example, they decide humor is a core voice characteristic, but staff isn\’t comfortable with putting that to use. #ContentChat https://t.co/EDCIq0vgMX

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A7b: If you define a brand voice characteristic that’s too aspirational or difficult to put into action, it can frustrate your content creators and stop them from using the documentation in its entirety. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A7: Trying to be a \”me too\” copy of their competitor. I\’ve seen this happen too many times… they\’d rather copy what someone else is doing than try to add their own unique flair #ContentChat https://t.co/ouwjSZrLy1

— Ashley Hoffman (@ashhmarketing) March 26, 2018

Biggest mistake brands make is trying too hard to appeal to one age group. If it isn\’t natural, brands really shouldn\’t push is. #contentchat

— ashley (@ahsteinberg) March 26, 2018

A7: I would say trying to be something they\’re not. You wouldn\’t want a health care organization to be too flippant about things, for example. You\’d expect them to be encouraging, stable and confident. #contentchat

— Jason Webb (@JasonLWebb) March 26, 2018

A7: Not changing what they have after they’ve defined it. Sharpening the voice and using feedback through analytics, insights, and response to that voice help shape it to reflect the brand itself #ContentChat

— Terrell Chestnutt (@trchestnutt) March 26, 2018

Q7: The biggest mistake a brand could make would be contradicting their own brand voice. For example, if @Aerie began to retouch their ads that promote self-love, that would be detrimental to the brand’s new voice #ContentChat

— Brooke Tanner (@bmtannersyr) March 26, 2018

A7: Trying way too hard. Not everyone can (or should!) be a @Wendys or a @garyvee. Your brand voice should be authentic and unique. It should be a natural fit for your product/service and your audience. #contentchat

— Caitlin Kinser (@caitlinmarie89) March 26, 2018

A7: Some brands try too hard to copy, for lack of a better word, other brands image and voice. That can lead to consumers feeling the brand is disingenuous. #ContentChat

— Emma Ryan (@emma_ryan1227) March 26, 2018

A7: Complexity is the biggest mistake. If it\’s too complicated for your writers/editors to put into action, or too nuanced that they commonly miss the mark, you may need to rethink how you\’ve approached it. #contentchat

— Dominic Garcia (@dominicgarcia) March 26, 2018

A7: Being too broad or too narrow. Find that sweet spot that gives you borders but room to run. You want to be like Ohio, not Rhode Island or Texas.
@jesseghiorzi #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/nKJ3niiu2d

— CHARGE (@CHARGEgoforward) March 26, 2018

Q7: The biggest mistake a brand can make in regards to defining their brand voice is not staying consistent with that brand voice! #ContentChat

— Mini Le (@mini_le17) March 26, 2018

A7: I think the biggest mistake a brand can make is trying to portray a brand voice that isn\’t appropriate for their company. Consumers will just be confused, rather than informed and interested. #ContentChat

— Erin Sciortino (@erinsciortino_) March 26, 2018

Q8: What are some helpful tools and resources to help me define my brand voice for content?

A6 Here\’s a simple tool I developed for clients that haven\’t defined a #BrandVoice. I\’m amazed how it makes people think about things they never have. https://t.co/gijmt2oRZt#ContentChat

— Tod Cordill (@todcordill) March 26, 2018

A8a: I go through my brand voice definition process in detail in this blog post for @CMIcontent: https://t.co/U5zl9NRMO9 #ContentChat https://t.co/F4Bqsaw4R0

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A8b: This brand voice piece from @SproutSocial is also useful: https://t.co/FpDeWmV941 #ContentChat https://t.co/2pR0XeHpcb

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A8c: I’ve found #Twitter to be a great place to test and refine your brand voice, which I talked about in this post for @TwitterBusiness https://t.co/tAG9TqgqRA #ContentChat https://t.co/5VtEqCGLFj

— Erika Heald | Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) March 26, 2018

A8: A white board and a group of creative thinkers is my best advice. It doesn\’t have to have a fancy process, but it needs to work. #contentchat

— Caitlin Kinser (@caitlinmarie89) March 26, 2018

A8: Ooh! I DID find a brand voice generator! I admit I\’m a sucker for stuff like this: https://t.co/fh6pjgLp5C #contentchat

— Joanne Masterson (@attentiontips) March 26, 2018

A8: A great @CMIContent post (https://t.co/AZwpUE2oGY) mentioned a book called, \”The Zombie Business Cure.\” That book is my professional reading for this week. Great post and book for brand voices and identity. #ContentChat

— Carole Cudnik ☕ (@cacudnik) March 26, 2018

A8: Feedback from social media can be priceless when defining your brand voice. Analytics platforms allow you to keep an eye on how consumers are reacting to your brand, so you can shift your tone if needed. #ContentChat

— Erin Sciortino (@erinsciortino_) March 26, 2018

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