How do I find my brand voice? Am I just being a copycat of other people’s styles I admire?
Who has ever found themselves asking these questions?
I can fess up to saying that I have. In fact, I can remember one particular instance when these questions were screaming inside my head. So, before we go any further, I’d like to share a quick story.
Marie Forleo is one of the women I most admire. I love watching her videos on Marie TV and tune into any podcast interview where she’s the guest. All of that to say, Marie’s voice is in my head… a lot.
When I first started the Toast Meets Jam Youtube channel, I created a series of videos tackling the most popular questions I was hearing from this community. I titled of the videos “How to Create a Business & a Life that You Love”. It wasn’t long before someone called me out for copying Marie. “Create a Business & a Life that You Love” is her signature saying.
Ugh. Are you SERIOUS?? I had borrowed her brand voice without even realizing it.
Imitation might be the highest form of flattery but it wasn’t what I’d wanted to do in this case. I was trying to find my own voice, not copy someone else.
Now here’s the thing, finding the Toast Meets Jam voice wasn’t something that happened overnight. In fact, it’s still something I am working on. But through this process I have figured out a few tips that have made the process easier. Today I want to share three of those with you:
Tip 1: Think of your brand as a person
Every brand has a personality and that personality influences how your brand communicates. So, try thinking of your brand has a person. If you knew her what would she be like? What words would you use to describe her? Is she curious? Does she have a certain Southern charm or New York confidence? Remember those Mac vs. PC commercials? They are a prime example of differing brand personalities at play.
Next, think about what kind of relationship you want your brand to have with your customers and followers. Do you want them to see your brand as a friend? The kind who makes them laugh? Fills them with inspiration? Always tells them the hard truth? Or do you want your customers to see your brand more as a mentor or teacher?
(Tip: If you haven’t yet read this post, now would be a good time)
The answers to these questions will help you figure out the best tone to use when writing for your brand. If you want to be a friend, your tone will be more conversational. Likewise, if you want to establish yourself as the expert change your tone would be more formal.
As you’re going through this process, I want you to go ahead and write down all the words that come to mind. Once you have them all on paper, go back through and pick out the 5 words that best describe your brand’s personality. These will serve as the pillar words which will guide your brand voice. For instance your words might be something like: fun, friendly, charming, curious, and good natured.
I’ve also found that it can be helpful to create a “this, not that” list. For instance, my brand voice is fun but not immature. Make sense?
Tip 2: Read your writing out loud
This is a simple but effective trick. After you’ve written copy for your brand, read it out loud. How does it sound? Natural or forced?
When you’re writing for your brand, it should sound in line with how you would talk to your followers and customers if you met them at a party.
If you want a great example to reference, pop on over to Melyssa Griffin’s blog. I love her writing style. When you read her writing, you actually feel like she’s having a conversation with you. Just take a look at this example will ya?
Now take a look at your writing. Would you really use all of those big fancy words? Or, do you need to think about putting away the Thesaurus and getting more human!
Tip 3: Coin signature words or sayings
Each of these is an example of a signature word. They become associated with a brand and embody its personality. The Girlboss brand voice for instance is strong, feminist, and unabashed. When you hear the word, these are the traits that come to mind.
As you’re writing for your brand, think about what words or sayings you can own. These can truly be a powerful way to bring your brand voice to life.
Over to you…
Alrighty, those are my 3 top tips for finding your authentic brand voice. What tips do you have to share?
A toast to you,