A lot of my clients have said they know what they want to say but they’re having problems finding their brand voice. Well, guess what? You can find your brand voice and it doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult. Here’s how.
Ever recorded your own voicemail message and thought to yourself, do I sound like that? The answer is always yes. Whether you recognize it or not, you have a signature speech pattern that’s specific to you. It can be how you stress certain syllables, slightly roll your “r’s” or interject “like” and “um” into all your sentences. These patterns make your voice and your voice is what makes you. It’s also what differentiates you from others and what can differentiate your brand from others.
Now, I’m for sure not telling you to include “like” and “um” when you’re writing your bio and launch pages but I am telling you to keep the integrity of your voice. For the next seven days, try recording yourself. Nothing major, just a few voice memos, maybe grocery lists or daily entries. Use your smartphone, your laptop, whatever. Just hit record and start talking. When I first started my site, I did this for one week, every night of the week. It was kind of like a taped journal where I just chatted about my day or whatever I happened to be thinking at the time. Once I got comfortable with it and forgot I was actually taping myself, I started to notice a few things. I use the word “bananas” a lot, I’m a master at the run-on sentence and the phrase “I mean” makes a frequent appearance.
If you’ve read a few of my posts, you’ll notice that “bananas” and “I mean” made the cut more than once but I’m tightening up my run-on sentences. “Bananas” is bringing the personality to what I write and this is most certainly part of my brand voice.
PUT PEN TO PAPER TO BUILD BRAND VOICE
Another sure-fire way to find your brand voice is to start writing. Even if you think you’re god-awful at this, grab some paper and a pen and get to it. Set a timer for 15 minutes, every day for one week. On days 1-3, just start jotting down words that describe you, your offering and your dream client. Then, on days 4 & 5, put those words into sentences and complete thoughts. On days 6 & 7, polish those sentences up. Grab a thesaurus and find six ways to say “I’m overwhelmed” or three ways to say “She’s super funny.” Have fun with it.
In this exercise, you’ll really start to notice the words you associate with your ideal customer and the words you use to describe yourself and your offering. If you’re on the right track, a lot of the words will be interchangeable. Let’s say I’m a beauty blogger who loves the art of a good contour. My client will most likely be described as detail-oriented and precise. Well, we know the secret to a good contour is precision–Hello!!–marriage made in heaven! So when you’re talking about your offering (in this case, advice on contouring products) you might state: “Product X goes on with precision and ease.” See how that correlates? Here’s another example: “The product doesn’t bleed but lines are soft and clean.”
Writing is like anything, if you don’t do it, you can’t get great at it. Heck, you won’t even be good at it. No matter if you plan to farm out your copywriting duties or attempt it yourself, you should still be able to get your thoughts about your brand on paper so you can create the brand voice for your site. When I’m hired to write launch and bio pages, I just start talking to you and I ask you to write down a few things for me. This is how I would find the voice for your brand so this can work for you too.
NOTICE GOOD BRAND VOICE IN OTHERS
Not that you’re going to steal anyone’s voice, but look around. What sites do you visit? What language resonates with you? Are you more apt to keep reading someone with a “conversational” voice versus someone who is more “just the facts”. Take note of the attraction to that person or brand’s site and replicate it–in your own way. It’s like seeing someone on the street in a really cute pencil skirt. You may run out the door and buy that exact same pencil skirt, or, you may flip through your closet and find one similar. Work to find alignment between what you like and what you’d like to project on your site. Just remember, imitation is the purest form of flattery but plagiarism is just plagiarism.