As a marketer, you produce a diverse array of content for your customers. You cover different topics and package them in different ways, but there’s one certain commonality: the presence of your brand within that content.
The goal of it all, of course, is to engage your customers and prospects, but you can’t do that without consistency of voice throughout your inbound marketing content.
Create a clear brand voice
Despite the somewhat impersonal terms of “brand voice” and “buyer persona,” the guiding principles of inbound content are meant to be human. People are adept at sniffing out artificial or overly corporate marketing and shying away from it, possibly taking away a lasting negative impression of the company that produced it.
Your brand voice is both the tone you want to set for your customers and a distillation of your company’s philosophy and ethos. It creates a personality for your brand, one that is accessible, considerate and—when appropriate—entertaining.
That, combined with a constant stream of informative and relevant content, is the way to hold the attention spans of people on digital venues that encourage short attention span browsing. If you’re not fulfilling these points, social media users tend to give up on your brand pretty quickly.
First, know your customers
Don’t make your content identical across all of your inbound platforms. One message doesn’t work for all of your customers, so make the forms different, ranging from educational blog posts to videos highlighting your products, service, customers or workplace. You may want to look into customer segmentation best practices.
Know what your customers want to read, watch or listen to and, more importantly, how they want it to speak to them. Think of their personality traits. If your content were a person they were interacting with, what would appeal to them? If their interactions with your inbound content were real conversations, what would hold their attention?
Then, know yourself
The answers to those questions should have some overlap with the tenets of your brand’s philosophy. There are limits, of course—your inbound content can’t only have a cultural reference-spouting, humorous voice, even if that’s what your prime demographics value.
Think of the values your company holds and its corporate culture, then use those to make your everyday content more personal and hold more local appeal for those you’re creating it for. Build a story around your brand through your company principles and the things you do best. Think through your customer’s challenges and the decisions that they are making every day. Is your content helping them?
Last, put it all together
All of the above dovetails together to form a cohesive and complete brand voice. Different writers and different forms will have different tones, but create a consistent voice for the entirety of your content marketing to be potent.
Develop a company-wide, fully fleshed-out brand voice by drafting guidelines. Start with fully elaborating your company’s philosophy and your customers’ wants and needs. Then add linguistic specificity: When taking a casual tone, how often should you use slang, personal pronouns and cultural references? When being more professional, how much should you use or avoid industry jargon or “inside baseball” references?
When you put it all together in one guide, a well-developed personality will emerge. Just like a real human, your brand voice is most effective when you use nuances and different tones for differing situations, but remains true to itself. With a comprehensive brand voice that’s perceptible in your inbound content, then you can make human connections with the people you’re trying to reach.