BLOG POST BY SARAH MALCOLM, CHIEF DIGITAL STRATEGIST AT THE NEWS FUNNEL
If you grabbed an email, a Twitter post, and a blog, could you tell they all came from the same company? Branding transcends a logo and a name. All the company’s communications need to shout, “this is XYZ!” even when the name is stripped away. The voice must be identical no matter the social platform. How do brands create a company voice to match across all content?
Start with the company culture
Begin where all companies begin: with a study of the company's personality. Your internal culture should reflect in your external culture. If the brand is a results-oriented, fast-paced, professional brokerage, all of the Facebook content and LinkedIn reports should match. Take a look at a company like Breather. Their culture–and brand voice–is evident across their content marketing.
Consider your audience
Whether marketing to consumers or to other businesses, think about the way that your ideal customer talks and the type of interaction expect. Check out office space leasing network LiquidSpace. They market to professional people with the need for a flexible office solution, like startups, freelancers, or companies expanding into a new area. Their tightly composed copy presents a friendly, professional voice.
Find the key content
If you've been generating content, scan through past material and find examples of cornerstone content. These emails, social media posts, and other marketing materials represent the brand standard. The samples should capture the brand voice and how you communicate with your audience through the different content types. As part of the process, identify off-brand content and define why. Keep copies of these examples and non-examples for future reference.
What a brand is not is just as important as the brand definition. There is a difference between being friendly and being casual. For instance, a friendly Tweet can have an upbeat tone congratulating a colleague, while a casual post may drop a pop-culture reference to Awesome Volume Mix No 2. Get it? No? Think about what the brand will not do while content marketing and generate a list.
Write a style guide
A document that outlines the standards for the brand voice is essential as the marketing team grows and more people become involved in content crafting. The style guide should include the personality words that describe the brand voice, examples of on-brand and off-brand material, plus everything else that someone needs to know to draft copy that carries the brand stamp of approval.
The key elements of creating a brand voice are part of a social media strategy. Consistent voice across all copy is critical for building a solid brand reputation and successful content marketing. Publishing content with disparate voices confuses audiences and detracts from your value.