How to Establish Brand Voice and Tone On Your Site With 5 Useful Tips

Whether you’re laying the foundations for a fresh company identity or navigating a rebrand, nailing voice and tone in your website copy is key. Creating your own brand guidelines can help you achieve authenticity and win customers. However, if you’re new to marketing, you may not know where to begin.

Fortunately, there are several tips you can use to write website copy that resonates with your target audience. By identifying customer personas, conveying your personality, and establishing the right tone, you can convert leads and create a sustainable online business. 

In this post, we’ll explain what brand voice and tone are. Then, we’ll discuss why they are essential to the success of your business. Finally, we’ll offer five tips to help you establish a cohesive voice and tone throughout your website. Let’s jump right in!

What is Brand Voice?

If you’re new to marketing, you might be wondering what brand voice actually means. Fortunately, it’s a very simple concept. 

Let’s look at a few elements that make up a brand voice:

  • Personality. Just like your friends and family, each brand has its own set of unique characteristics. This includes quirks, jokes, tendencies, and more.
  • Language. Since an online brand can’t communicate with facial expressions or body language, its personality is communicated through words. Thus, the type of language used on your website should properly reflect your brand’s mission, values, and energy.
  • Point of View. When you’re speaking to your audience, you’ll want to select your point of view carefully. Your choice between ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, or an objective perspective can determine whether you come off as welcoming, indifferent, or anything in between.

Every brand voice will be unique. For example, a parenting website may go for a kind and empathetic stance. Alternatively, a blog for young people may be intentionally funny or even sarcastic.

One distinct brand voice comes from MailChimp:

The website’s fun and vibrant design is mirrored by a welcoming voice. Phrases like “Let’s do this” and “We’ve got your back” can make users feel like they are working with a qualified and supportive friend.

Meanwhile, Skittles maintains an original brand voice by staying light and goofy:

By appealing to the candy-lover in all of us, they can get away with catch phrases such as “Squish the rainbow, taste the rainbow”. The Skittles website is also riddled with puns, emojis, and cute animal photos.

These brands establish a clear and confident brand voice. This is very important these days, as online communities are the new e-commerce frontier. Digital spaces offer a powerful way to connect with your readers and website visitors, but you’ll need to make sure that your voice can help your brand stand out from the crowd. 

What is Brand Tone?

It’s easy to confuse brand voice and brand tone. That’s because they are inherently connected. However, there is a slight difference between them.

Brand voice is a consistent expression of your personality. Just as someone’s character remains constant in every situation, so should your brand voice. It represents the core of your business, an assertion of who you are. 

While your tone should always align with your voice, it’s a bit more fluid. Tone can help create an emotional reaction among your readers, using language to evoke a desired attitude or feeling. That way, you can more effectively communicate with your audience depending on the circumstances.

For example, you’ll likely want to maintain the same voice and tone across all of your website’s pages. However, if your site is connected to your social media accounts or a customer service tool, you may take a slightly different tone on those platforms:

For instance, if you’re dealing with an unhappy customer, you may take an apologetic tone. Meanwhile, you might take a more playful and inviting tone on social media. This can encourage followers to engage in the comments.

Additionally, if your WordPress website features a blog, your content may be more topical. If you’re participating in cultural conversations, you’ll want to be especially careful of the tone you take, so as not to offend or alienate your readers.

Why Are Brand Voice and Tone So Important For Your Website?

There are many things to consider when you’re building a website, and brand voice and tone might be low on your priority list. However, they are crucial if you want to run a successful site.

A comprehensive website will feature plenty of copy in the following areas:

  • Permanent and temporary web pages
  • Forms (sign-up, opt-in, registration, etc.)
  • Blog posts
  • Headers and footers

If you’re not consistent with your language, you’ll likely come off as unprofessional. This can be off-putting to customers, and it may negatively impact your business. 

Achieving brand resonance is especially important when it comes to modern consumers. Due to the rise of eCommerce and social media complaints, audiences are more knowledgeable, empowered, and skeptical than ever before.

Therefore, neglecting voice and tone may make you sound untrustworthy or inauthentic. However, if you prioritize these brand elements, you can harness them to convert leads and even create brand advocates.

How Can You Establish Your Brand’s Voice and Tone? (5 Tips)

Now that you know what they are and why they’re so important for your website, you’re likely wondering how you can establish a clear brand voice and tone for your website. Let’s go over five simple tips that can help you do just that. 

1. Use Personas to Help Identify Your Target Audience

Digital marketing personas can be extremely useful in helping you nail down your brand’s voice and tone. These personas are fictional profiles of your target audience. 

When you establish a persona, you might consider factors such as age, geographic location, level of education, needs, and more. You’ll want to be as specific as possible when defining your personas.

You may want to create one persona for your brand, or a collection of personas that you want to speak to all at once. When used effectively, these profiles can help drive your content strategy.

For instance, if you run a blog about arts and crafts, one of your personas may be a West Coast elementary school teacher under the age of 50. Alternatively, if you run a food blog, such as the popular Half Baked Harvest, your primary persona may be a busy, college-educated millennial residing in the Rocky Mountain region:

You may want to get creative by elaborating the qualities of this persona to include ‘snowboarder’ or someone with a personal herb garden. In this particular case, personas may help inspire new recipes.

When you create a persona, you’ll need to determine precisely how to talk to them. If not, you may end up missing the mark. For instance, you could even end up marketing to parents when you’re actually trying to target Gen Z.

2. Make Sure Your Brand’s Mission Is Clear

Every brand should have a clear mission statement. Ideally, you’ll establish your end goal before you launch your site. If you’re embarking on a rebrand, you may need to shift your purpose just once. However, you’ll want to avoid flip-flopping, since it can damage your reputation.

For example, at WordPress.com, our mission is to democratize publishing and eCommerce one website at a time:

Many brands may hold similar values of accessibility and equity. Others may have more niche focuses, such as sustainability or empowerment.

Your mission and values should always be reflected in your website copy. As such, you may want to include a clear mission statement on your About page. 

You’ll also want to make sure that your choice of words is aligned with your message. For instance, a website for a socially-conscious nonprofit website may want to use inclusive language

3. Create Various Tones for Different Occasions and Platforms

It’s crucial that your brand voice stay consistent on every web page, as well as on every platform that’s linked to your site. However, you can create nuance by adjusting your tone depending on the occasion.

For example, your blog posts may take a more casual tone when compared to your About page, which displays your mission statement. Furthermore, you might want to create fun, conversational forms that contain a bit more slang. This may be more effective in converting leads:

Additionally, on social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, you’ll want to make sure that you adapt to the latest communication trends (while always staying on brand). On the other hand, you may want to speak in a more formal tone when handling complaints or queries on a customer service platform.

4. Run an Online Focus Group or Practice Social Listening

Social listening is the practice of tuning into any conversation on social media. It’s becoming more and more common for established brands to do this, as it can help them further optimize their sales strategies and products:

However, the ideal time to start social listening is before your launch. That way, you can use the data you collect to establish your personas and hone the type of website copy that will help sell your product or advance your mission.

For instance, you can use social listening to keep tabs on your competitors and learn about the most recent trends and pain points in your desired niche. If you have extra time for research, you may also consider running an online focus group. This can help you get into the minds and hearts of your target audience. 

5. Prioritize Brand Cohesion and Consistency

Creating brand personas, practicing social listening, and establishing a solid mission statement are all essential in establishing your brand’s voice and tone. However, even more critical is maintaining cohesion and consistency once you’ve set your foundation.

This means that your content and copy should never clash. Many will also agree that the key to maintaining brand consistency is authenticity. In order to stay on brand in both voice and tone, you’ll need to learn to empathize deeply with your target audience.

For example, the Headspace website, which promotes the app for mindfulness and meditation, contains a wealth of blog posts. These articles cover topics such as sleep, stress, mediation and more, but the brand’s voice and tone is always the same. It is kind, understanding, and soothing:

You’ll also want to remember that when visitors spend time on your website, they’re making a valuable investment in your content. Therefore, you might want to consider their expectations and pain points as you’re crafting your website copy. 

Maintaining a consistent and cohesive brand voice will help you gain your visitors’ trust. On the contrary, you might confuse or scare off your visitors if you stray too far from your usual voice and tone.

You’re Ready to Establish Your Brand Voice

Creating a website with a clear voice and tone can be a challenge. However, if you don’t prioritize these core elements, you risk coming off as inauthentic. Fortunately, by doing your research and paying close attention to your audience, you can easily hit the mark.

Let’s quickly recap five ways you can write quality website copy with the right voice and tone:

  1. Use personas to identify your target audience.
  2. Make sure your brand’s mission is clear.
  3. Create various tones for different occasions and platforms.
  4. Run an online focus group or practice social listening.
  5. Prioritize brand cohesion and consistency.

You’re now on your way toward having a more memorable brand and a website that better connects with your audience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The WordPress.com Team

At WordPress.com, our mission is to democratize publishing one website at a time. Create a free website or build a blog with ease on WordPress.com. Dozens of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes.

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