Have you ever asked a copywriter what the hardest part of their job is? It’s not grammar or editing; we’ve got those in the bag. Ironically enough, the hardest part about copywriting isn’t about the words, themselves…it’s about the feeling those words convey.
Creating a “brand identity” or a “brand voice” is a tricky process that’s different every time. Brand voice is about a company’s individuality or personality, or in other words, coming off as personable while still conveying an air of professionalism. The possibilities are endless and more often than not, a company won’t know which direction to take when starting to form a brand voice. In order to help both copywriters and business owners that are on the path towards creating such a voice, here are the three questions I like to ask.
Are you B2B or B2C?
Depending on the target audience, a brand voice can vary greatly. Traditionally, appealing to B2B customers has employed writing methods that are straightforward and succinct. Whether the medium is a brochure or blog post, B2B writing is formal. Your audience is running a business, just like you. No room for fluff here! While B2C copywriting has also stuck to these conventional methods, recent trends have shown companies branching out to more relaxed verbiage in order to come off as colloquial and friendly.
This certainly isn’t a clear-cut formula and copywriting for B2B’s and B2C’s are always welcome to blur the lines. However, keeping the audience in mind is a surefire way to write copy tailored to their purpose.
What do the customers want to hear?
Copywriting should always be about the customers. In my own personal experience, I’ve written copy that I thought was absolutely solid and clearly conveyed the message a business was trying to get across. However, when someone else read the copy, they told me it was a lot of “we, we, we” and not enough “you, you, you.” Therefore, every time I sit down to create new copy, I think about what customers want to hear, not what the business wants to get across.
While this process might scare some copywriters and many business owners into thinking that important information will be left out, remember that discussing how well your company does something is almost always implied. Don’t waste time or space on how your company performs a service, rather, explain how the service can benefit the customer. After all, that’s what they’ve come to hear!
How do you want customers to feel about you?
Sounds a bit like middle school when you’re worried about your public perception, doesn’t it? Fortunately, this is quite a bit more mature but the basics are still the same. A company’s reputation can make or break their success and copywriting is exactly how that reputation gets created. If you are a B2B but you want other businesses to feel like they can trust you with their worst problems, then perhaps straying from the robotic verbiage and taking a more conversational approach will ease their minds. On the other hand, if you’re a B2C with a target audience of young professionals, perhaps selling durable laptop cases, your customers will probably want to get in and get out. This type of copywriting calls for a more professional approach that gives them all the facts and nothing more. If your business is stuck on how they want to appear, start with asking your customers how they feel about you already. From there, begin talking to your copywriter about a brand voice that can expand on customer reviews.
Copywriting isn’t just about words on paper. These days, consumers look for content that gives a certain feeling. This type of content can range from a status update to an “About Us” page on a website; regardless, a brand voice can advance your company’s image more than any other efforts. Ask the right questions and you’re sure to find the right brand voice.