Each client has a distinct voice and tone that I have to embody while writing to provide brand consistency among all of their communications. I take this responsibility very seriously because I feel like it’s really obvious when a company outsources its content to a bunch of different people and cobbles together their brand. It comes off as sloppy and cheap and portrays the brand in a really negative light. So when I do client work, I strive to maintain a consistent brand voice that achieves all of their business goals and is engaging to their audience. Let me give you a better idea of what I’m taking about…
- Blue collar, down to earth, straight forward
- Friendly, eager to help, energetic, dynamic
- Formal professional, expert opinion, cautionary and protective
- Quirky, funny, boastful, irreverent
- Geeky fun, laid back professional, casual but insightful
1. Create Unique Brand Personas
Imagining each brand that you have to write for as a unique person allows you to better connect with the brand. Creating a brand persona allows you to move past feeling like you’re “writing for Brand XYZ” and instead lets you feel like you’re having a conversation with someone.
For instance, the brand voices I described above can be translated into these relatable brand personas:
- Joe from down the street that will have your back if you’re ever in a bind
- Your best friend who just refreshes you when you spend time together
- That wise Father figure in your life who gives you the advice you don’t always want to hear but you know is good for you
- The guy in college that everyone knew and liked
- Your coworker who makes your day a little better and is always willing to take the time to help teach you something new
2. Keep Style Sheets/Writing Guidelines on Hand to Reference
Each brand will have different requirements for their content – some are very strict and others are more open ended. Keeping these requirements close by allows you to have a quick reference in case you forget a specific client’s preferences. It also helps you to save time later on because you won’t have to do as many edits at the end.
3. Make the Brands Visceral
Making the brands you write for feel more real by associating specific tastes, smells, sounds and surroundings to each one is a good way to help your brain distinguish between doing work for different brands. For example, you may drink a certain beverage, have a certain playlist or work from a certain location while writing for each client.
If you’ve never experimented with this before, you will definitely be surprised about how different voices and tones come more naturally to you when you work with bright lights vs dim lights, the windows open vs the windows closed, drinking sparkling water vs Red Bull, at your desk vs on a couch, etc. Create routines around each brand and you’ll start to develop writing habits for different brands that make you more effective and more productive!
4. Minimize Switching between Brands
Don’t make your life harder than it has to be. If you can devote an entire morning or afternoon to writing for one client versus jumping back and forth between brands, do it! Once you get into the mindset of writing for one voice, try to keep it going instead of letting it slip away because you decide to work on something else or get pulled into meetings. And if you’re writing at the end of the day, I would suggest wrapping it up before leaving for the day because getting back into it again the following day or after the weekend can feel like absolute torture.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!