Last post we talked about there being a golden thread through your website, driven by your business’s purpose and values. The golden thread is also carried through if you allow your own voice to shine in your web copy.
You know when you hear yourself back on the radio or in a video and you cringe at how you sound? ~“Do I really sound like that?” That’s not exactly what I’m getting at here. By voice, I mean your tone of voice, not how you literally sound. It’s more about the nuances of how you say things and how you string a sentence together.
A tone of voice is not what you say but how you say it. This can be a unique way to write your web copy. It’s about the pace, the rhythm, the words and the order of your sentence. We almost have a tone of voice fingerprint.
According to Distilled.net a Tone of Voice in business is important for the following reasons:
- It’s an expression of the people behind the brand
- It sets you apart from the rest
- It builds trust
- It can be used to influence and persuade.
This last point is connected to that beautiful Maya Angelou quote:
“People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.”
Distilled.net says, “It’s often the way we say something that breeds a certain feeling. People can be very sensitive to language, forming impressions of people as soon as they begin to hear or read their words.” And I couldn’t agree more.
My pal Rosana from Rosana Kersh Photography just let me know, that during the last Blogging Lock Down, she used a dictation app to speak her blog posts before writing them. I said, “Genius!”
THIS IS EXACTLY what I get people who feel they can’t write to do. It gets you out of the puddle of “having to write” and just getting words ‘out there’ and onto the page or screen.
Even if you feel you’re a great writer, reading how you speak can be an incredible learning curve. You start to see the patterns of your sentences, your own turns of phrases, how you start sentences and the kind of words you use – colloquial or formal. Why not have a go at analysing your own voice? This might help you write in a unique way for your website so that people will get an insight to you before they’ve picked up the phone.
I’ve been transcribing my Ph.D. interviews (with the help of some amazingly patient people) and my word! The number of times I have said “I suppose” or “Perhaps”, not to mention “aarrggh” is a little frightening. I do it to soften some hard questions that I put to my participants, but I wonder where I use that in everyday life too. I like to make people feel comfortable when I speak with them so I think that’s where these habits come from.
The great thing about dictating your website’s words is that you can A. use it as a way to analyse your own voice and tone, B. determine if you naturally speak informally or formally and C. use it as a first draft for your written words. It can give your About page that something extra too.
There are some tricks to guiding your tone of voice to build a stronger draft for your website.
To help Guide your Tone of Voice, a good thing to do is to have some words in the back of your mind as you speak your web copy for specific pages. And it’s important that these words clearly connect to your purpose and values.
- With the purpose to be an editor who works with people, not documents, my home page’s words aim to be ‘personable’, ‘connected’, ‘warm’ and ‘assuring’.
- Some other editor and proofreading sites, have a Homepage that is informative and direct. They’re great – just different!
Other words that can guide each page are: Insightful, Inspirational, Community Driven, and Empowering.
Tone of voice guiding words can assist you to communicate in the way that Maya Angelou was meaning – they can guide HOW you say what you need to say.
I could easily say on my website, if I was being Direct:“Monk script offers writing, editing and proofreading services.”
But instead, I say “Monk script is a boutique writing, editing and proofreading firm.”
The word ’boutique’ makes things warm and personal, relates to design, one of a kind items, and unique shopping experiences. The word ‘firm’ connotes a professional but human-focused workplace that also relates to sturdiness – hopefully giving a sense of assurance to my clientele.
So in building the mindset for writing your web copy, why not have a go at recording your voice, analysing for its tone, and using some guiding words to shape that tone.
This will help you write web words that really sing your own song.