Setting the tone – How copywriters channel their clients’ voice
A question I’m asked a lot by clients is “How will you write like me?”
Working with independent entrepreneurs and creatives means that more often than not, they are their business. They’ve established a strong personal brand and their voice is the voice of that. They’re all over social media and YouTube every day and their audience knows and loves them – every last idiosyncrasy and unintentional catchphrase. So hiring a copywriter – a stranger – to write for them feels like an impossible task.
When you’d be hard pressed to describe your own tone other than “I just sound like… me!” it’s difficult to imagine how anyone else could possibly emulate it well enough to write a weekly blog, email newsletter or website without your loyal readers knowing the difference.
What is tone of voice?
I talk in depth about tone here, but essentially tone of voice is how a brand communicates with its audience. It’s how your audience knows they’re hearing from you, it’s consistent enough to mean they trust you and it hits the right mark when it comes to what they want and need from you.
Tone of voice relies on a brand knowing their target audience, but when a brand develops organically, around a single person, this is often something intuitively felt, rather than explicitly stated.
How will a copywriter sound like me?
A great copywriter produces copy that sounds like you at your very best. But this doesn’t just happen by chance.
I start my projects with an in depth brief. If my client doesn’t already have a good handle on their ideal client then we’ll do a session on that as well – who my client is talking to is just as important for me to get the tone right as who my client is themselves.
We talk about what words they use, and the words to avoid at all costs. I worked with an independent estate agent who prided herself on being different from traditional estate agencies. She never used impersonal words like property – she referred to selling her clients’ homes.
I know what questions to ask to make writing in your voice easy-peasy.
Resaearching your Tone
As well as listening to what you say, I’m also looking out for how you say it. Are you formal or casual? Funny or serious? Matter of fact or enthusiastic?
I’ll note what your sense of humour sounds like, how you make your points and what words or phrases you unconsciously pepper throughout your speech.
Next I go through your existing content, watching your videos or listening to podcasts, gauging your tone, making notes and, basically, channeling you!
Writing like you
All this preparation – and there’s a lot, this isn’t something I take lightly – goes into my writing and leads to copy that could’ve come straight from your own fair hands. I want you to read your copy and instantly recognise YOU.
Except, like I said before, it’s you on a really, really good day.