Most companies create content. But not many create it with a distinctive tone of voice. That’s really a missed opportunity. As our friends at Velocity Partners like to say, having a clear, compelling tone of voice multiplies the impact of your marketing. That’s because great content is about more than passing on useful information. It’s also about creating an emotional connection with your audience. And being memorable. The best way to do that is to write with a tone of voice that’s uniquely yours and that engages the people who read it.
Tone of voice is important for every business. You need to understand what it is, why it matters, and, most importantly, how to go about creating and enforcing yours. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the best tone of voice resources around. Take some time to check them out, and you’ll be finding your tone in no time.
A great place to start your tone of voice journey is with Harriet Cumming’s fantastic guide, “Finding Your Brand’s Voice: How to Shape a Tone of Voice.” It provides a clear overview of how to use vocabulary, humor, and storytelling to create a unique and memorable tone of voice. It also shares practical advice on how to implement tone of voice, so it gets applied consistently and universally across your business.
This isn’t the first time we’ve pointed you to Ann Handley’s phenomenal book “Everybody Writes” and it probably won’t be the last. It’s a great read that covers all aspects of writing, including voice and tone. We like the practical advice that Ann shares and the fact that the whole book is written with Ann’s unmistakable tone of voice. You can feel her personality come through on every single page, making it a real-life case study in tone of voice.
Smashing Magazine has a helpful article called “Finding Your Tone of Voice.” It clearly and succinctly explains what tone of voice is and why it’s important. It also gives lots of examples from well-known brands. You’ll learn how to develop your company’s own tone of voice, and see the impact that different tones can have on an audience.
Doug Kessler at Velocity Partners has put together a great resource on tone of voice. It outlines why tone of voice is so important and how it’s evolving among B2B businesses. It also offers an 11-point strategy for how you can develop a strong, clear, and compelling tone of voice for your business.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t call out our own eBook, “Watch Your Tone! The Ultimate Guide to Developing Your Company’s Tone of Voice.” What stands out about it is that it takes a very practical look at developing your tone of voice, even including worksheets to help guide you through the process. Not only that, many of the other great authors we’ve cited in this post helped contribute to the piece.
Even More Tone of Voice Resources
While all of these resources are really useful, it’s also helpful to see some actual tone of voice guidelines. For real-life examples, we recommend two of the best we’ve seen, MailChimp’s and Monzo’s.
While having good tone of voice guidelines is a step in the right direction, they don’t always get applied. A better solution is to use technology to serve them up right in the authoring tools where writers create their content. To learn more about how Acrolinx does this, check out Tone of Voice — How Acrolinx Helps.